Questioning Evolution

New Tactic In Evolution Debate,” by G. Jeffrey MacDonald, CBS News, 3 May 2005, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/05/03/tech/main692524.shtml (from Democratic Underground).

Disclaimer: My graduate thesis — A Computer Model of National Behavior — used Darwinian concepts and evolutionary algorithms. As a Catholic, I have no problem with man arising from beasts. My understanding is that the universe in all probability is around 12 billion years old. Of course, I have no memory of anything from before 1985, so everything before that is hearsay and conjecture…

That said, I am very happy Creationist agitators are encouraging schoolchildren to ask these questions to biology teachers. With one exception, they are damn fine points

# The origins of life. Why do textbooks claim that the 1953 Miller-Urey experiment shows how life’s building blocks may have formed on Earth – when conditions on the early Earth were probably nothing like those used in the experiment, and the origin of life remains a mystery?

# Darwin’s tree of life. Why don’t textbooks discuss the “Cambrian explosion,” in which all major animal groups appear together in the fossil record fully formed instead of branching from a common ancestor – thus contradicting the evolutionary tree of life?

# Vertebrate embryos. Why do textbooks use drawings of similarities in vertebrate embryos as evidence for common ancestry – even though biologists have known for over a century that vertebrate embryos are not most similar in their early stages, and the drawings are faked?

# The archaeopteryx. Why do textbooks portray this fossil as the missing link between dinosaurs and modern birds – even though modern birds are probably not descended from it, and its supposed ancestors do not appear until millions of years after it?

# Peppered moths. Why do textbooks use pictures of peppered moths camouflaged on tree trunks as evidence for natural selection – when biologists have known since the 1980s that the moths don’t normally rest on tree trunks, and all the pictures have been staged?

# Darwin’s finches. Why do textbooks claim that beak changes in Galapagos finches during a severe drought can explain the origin of species by natural selection – even though the changes were reversed after the drought ended, and no net evolution occurred?

# Mutant fruit flies. Why do textbooks use fruit flies with an extra pair of wings as evidence that DNA mutations can supply raw materials for evolution – even though the extra wings have no muscles and these disabled mutants cannot survive outside the laboratory?

# Human origins. Why are artists’ drawings of apelike humans used to justify materialistic claims that we are just animals and our existence is a mere accident – when fossil experts cannot even agree on who our supposed ancestors were or what they looked like?

# Evolution as a fact. Why are students told that Darwin’s theory of evolution is a scientific fact – even though many of its claims are based on misrepresentations of the facts?

The exception? “Evolution” (meaning the descent of man) is not a fact because it is not a datum — it is a theory because it explains facts. In the other questions the creationists are rightly attacking Darwinian propaganda.

That this is a fourth generation network attack on evolution, as seen by paragraphs like

These findings confirm the experience of Gerry Wheeler, the group’s executive director, who says that about half the teachers he talks to tell him they feel ideological pressure when they teach evolution.

And according to the survey, while 20 percent of the teachers say the pressure comes from parents, 22 percent say it comes primarily from students.

it ultimately irrelevant. Most public secondary school science classes are trash, and nothing is lost if they are infiltrated by these zealots. (It is very hard for them to get worse.). More important is that science classes are being reclaimed from textbook-authoritarians.

From Communism to War and Peace

Chirol has written a new post-Communism diagram at Coming Anarchy. I responded to his old diagram with one focusing on politics and economics. Here’s one focusing on connectivity, nationalism, and authoritarianism

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As with the last post, the process begins 1989, when functioning Communist Cores existed. The largest of these was the Soviet Union and its satellites, but the Communist Cores extended into China, Korea, and other states. The states in the Cores were tied together through industrial exchange and foreign aid

In this diagram, the first choice a Communist state has after the fall of Communism is further disconnect from the world or not? The only state saying yes to this is North Korea, which has lived with its Juche peace ever since.

For countries that desire to reconnect to the world, the next question is whether to embrace nationalism or not. Many states, such as Serbia and China, chose nationalism. For these nationalists ex-Communists, authoritarianism developed naturally. The next choice is vital: is there a war or insurgency? If there is, like in Serbia, the continues until the government faces strategic despair and the people revolt. Once the will to win is gone, peace and democracy rise.

If there is no war, the authoritarian state grows into the outside world. This is the situation enjoyed by Vietnam and China.

The post-Communist non-nationalist can choose whether or not to be authoritarian. Those states saying no in the early nineties included Poland, Czechia, and Latvia. These places immediately enjoy peace and democracy.

However, some of these non-nationalists chose to embrace authoritarianism. Ukraine, Georgia, and Uzbekistan were classic examples of this. The next choice is made for them: does the state face an Islamic insurgency? Those that do find themselves in a very long struggle. Those that don’t will face populations that try to build liberal networks. When these states have peaceful revolutions, like Ukraine and Georgia, they become peaceful democracies. Others, such as Cuba and Belarus, are not yet at this stage.

You can see full versions of the chart by left-clicking on them. Otherwise, you can download them in Adobe Acrobat or OpenOffice.org 1.9 beta format.