Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Creationist revolutionizes physics ….NOT (probably)

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on July 16, 2010

At the considerable risk of becoming a “genius-crucifier” I am calling bullshit. A creationist over at the ever-more-scientific Answers in Genesis (hey, they have a “peer-reviewed” journal right?) is claiming that soon enough he’s going to publish earth-shattering research on, get this: light traveling instantaneously, INSTANTANEOUSLY, to Earth from any point in the universe. Take a moment to digest that; a moment and an indigestion pill.

I have been working for some time on solving the “distant starlight problem.” This is the issue of how starlight from the most distant galaxies is able to reach earth within the biblical timescale. Although light is incredibly fast, the most distant galaxies are incredibly far away. So, under normal circumstances we would be inclined to think that it should take billions of years for their starlight to reach us. Yet, the Bible teaches that the universe is only thousands of years old. Solutions have been proposed by creationists, but we haven’t had a definitive answer . . . until now.

I have to hang on to something! This is gonna blow me away! Blow me it will….it will blow!

It has taken a lot of time and effort, but I have found a solution to distant starlight which allows light to reach earth virtually instantaneously. Moreover, I have found both Scriptural and scientific support for this solution. This has led to the development of a new cosmological model which makes testable predictions. I have nearly finished writing a technical paper on this topic, which will shortly be sent to various experts for qualified peer-review. If it passes peer-review, we will publish the paper in the Answers Research Journal. This is our free, online journal. So be watching for it. If the paper gains the support of experts in the field, I may later write a non-technical article that summarizes the model.

No shit, it’s taken a lot of time; if true this will turn all of physics, and astronomy, on its head; and that is why I am inclined to call bullshit on it. I predict his theory will turn out to be wrong. We’ll see. One thing I wonder: How many of these so-called experts over at Answers Research Journal ar astrophysicists? Or physicists? Or astronomers? May I suggest you send your Earth-shattering paper to an, oooh say astronomical journal? Or a physics one? You know something to “balance” the inherent bias of the ARJ?

Scientific research takes time—a lot of time. A full-time research scientist might spend half a year or more working on a particular project, in order to write one technical paper about it. But that’s the way it has to be. Research must be thorough and rigorous; otherwise we may overlook an important fact that disproves the hypothesis in question. Peer review is just as important for the same reason. When other qualified scientists with a correct biblical worldview offer constructive criticism, it can be very helpful in refining an article or technical paper. So, keep an eye on the ARJ website for the latest research on distant starlight and cosmology from within the biblical worldview.

Wow, a half a year or more…to overturn all of known astronomical and physics knowledge. Wow! I call bullshit and would be delighted to be proved wrong. Can you imagine what that would mean. Faster than light travel. I fail to see how that would support the “few thousand-year old” hypothesis anyway, if anything it would just as well support the infinite universe hypothesis, but we’ll discuss that after Dr. Jason has proved faster than light travel. Ball is on your court doctor. Me, I propose an easier solution to your problem: the stars only appear to be far away, when indeed they’re very close. God is testing our faith by making them appear far, the same way he make the fossils appear to be very old.

Got a few minutes, and brain cells, to kill?

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on May 11, 2010

I think I agree with them, they’re to under-evolved to be kin to the monkeys for sure!

Young Earth Creationism = Darwinism?

Posted in SkepticBlog by Skepdude on December 8, 2009

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT SKEPTICBLOG

DarwinEyes4

“News flash: skeptics hack the Answers in Genesis website!” Or, at least, that was the joke  Skeptic co-publisher Pat Linse made when I read her some pro-natural selection material from the young Earth creationist organization’s slick online portal.

For years, I’ve been surprised how rarely this is mentioned: young Earth creationists need Darwin to be right — and when you press them on it, they often agree that he was.

Doesn’t sound like the creationism you know? It’s not a hacker’s prank, and it’s not a radical re-thinking of creationism. It is, however, a nuance as important as it is surprising: creationist leaders share Darwin’s belief that species routinely change (and even originate) through mutation and natural selection.

Indeed, according to Answers In Genesis’ (AiG) current web feature “Top 10 Myths About Creation,” it’s a straw-man to suppose creationists think otherwise:

A popular caricature of creationists is that we teach the fixity of species (i.e., species don’t change). And since species obviously do change, evolutionists enjoy setting up this straw-man argument to win a debate that was never really there in the first place.

Lest we have doubt about what they mean when they insist that “species obviously do change,” the same AiG article clarifies,

Species changing via natural selection and mutations is perfectly in accord with what the Bible teaches.

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I wonder what Creationists will make of this?

Posted in Preliator pro Causa by Skepdude on September 14, 2009

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT PRELIATOR PRO CAUSA

Get this: a Chinese woman was recently scared halfway to death upon discovering a strange creature hanging from its talons to the wall of her bedroom, in the middle of the night. What was it; a bat? Some lizard?

Close – a snake. With a leg.

Snake with a leg growing out of its body

Sure, this is neat in itself – who’s ever heard of a snake growing a leg? The most common mutation observed in snakes is a second head (twice the creepiness for most, I’m sure). But what this is, is also clear evidence for evolution. Snakes evolved from previously legged species; occasionally, random genetic mutations can activate genetic markers (indicators for where to grow legs, teeth, skin or feathers, tails, etc. – just about anything) that had been switched off along the species’s evolutionary course. That is the case with this particular individual.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT PRELIATOR PRO CAUSA

PZ must apologize to Ham-says God

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on August 12, 2009

God has commanded PZ Meyers to apologize to Ken Ham for all the shenanigans Meyers and his atheist heathen followers committed during and after their recent visit to the evidence-heavy creation museum. A call to PZ’s representatives went unanswered.  A close contact of PZ, speaking in anonymity for fear of reprisals said the following:

The trip to the creation museum was indeed sponsored with dirty money funneled through to PZ from Satan worshiping, blood drinking cults. Dark magic rituals were performed in and around the premises of god’s museum, much of which included dirty group sex, virgin sacrifices and satanic eucharist desecrations. Please don’t leak my name….please they’ll kill me.

No worries Jeff, I won’t!

Texas: careening toward doom

Posted in Bad Astronomy by Skepdude on July 7, 2009

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So Texas had its brief shining moment of light when the state Senate rejected creationist goofball Don McLeroy’s bid to once again head up the Board of Education. McLeroy was the guy who famously said, “Someone has to stand up to experts!” when talking about the science advisors contacted by the BoE to advise them on, y’know, science.

And even in that very post I said that this win was at best temporary, since the same Governor Rick Perry who picked McLeroy in the first place would pick his replacement.

And guess what? I hate being right all the time. It looks like Perry may pick über-far right religious zealot Cynthia Dunbar to replace McLeroy.

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT BAD ASTRONOMY BLOG

One more reason why I drink Pepsi

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on June 10, 2009

Because Coke is a corporate partner with the Creation Museum. I hope Pepsi doesn’t sponsor some equally stupid movement. What am I supposed to drink if they do, **gasps**  Doctor Pepper?

Is the Discovery Institute giving up it’s “we’re not creationists” BS?

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on May 31, 2009

You and I know that Intelligent Design is in fact nothing but creationism re-branded for the 21st century. The Dover trial showed that unquestionably. But lately it seems that the Discovery Institute has been embracing the God wagon more openly. First they went and opened up their Faith and Evolution website. Now, William Dembski is advertising his new book titled “The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil Worldwhich hits stores soon. Now why would one of the most recognized faces of the Intelligent Design movement, which opposes every claim that they are creationists in disguise, write a book about God? You may think I’m reading too much into this, but I don’t think so. ID is creationism and the actions of the Discovery Institute as of late seem to betray that simple truth. Are IDers moving away from their vehement denial of their creationist nature? Are they finally being honest and accepting that their movement is not about academic freedom, it is not about teaching the controversy, it is not about science, but it is about introducing their specific religion to our school system? Or are they up to new tricks? Is this the natural progression of their Wedge Strategy? Only time will tell.

Melanie Phillips Wrong Again

Posted in Skeptico by Skepdude on April 30, 2009

One of the most consistently stupid “journalists” writing on the subject of science and intelligent design has to be Melanie Phillips. I commented two years ago on another horrendous anti-science piece of hers: Idiot Journalist is the new enemy of reason.  Now she’s back again writing in the Spectator, with a piece entitled Creating An Insult To Intelligence – actually a highly accurate headline considering what she wrote under it.

Listening to the Today programme this morning, I was irritated once again by yet another misrepresentation of Intelligent Design as a form of Creationism. In an item on the growing popularity of Intelligent Design, John Humphrys interviewed Professor Ken Miller of Brown University in the US who spoke on the subject last evening at the Faraday Institute, Cambridge. Humphrys suggested that Intelligent Design might be considered a kind of middle ground between Darwinism and Creationism. Miller agreed but went further, saying that Intelligent Design was

nothing more than an attempt to repackage good old-fashioned Creationism and make it more palatable.

But this is totally untrue. Miller referred to a landmark US court case in 2005, Kitzmiller v Dover Area School District, which did indeed uphold the argument that Intelligent Design was a form of Creationism in its ruling that teaching Intelligent Design violated the constitutional ban against teaching religion in public schools. But the court was simply wrong, doubtless because it had heard muddled testimony from the likes of Prof Miller.

The court was”simply wrong”? What, because you say so? And why was Miller’s testimony “muddled”? Because you didn’t like it? Or because you didn’t understand it? In any case, the court was not “wrong”, simply or otherwise. The court was shown evidence (actually, virtual proof) of the link between creationism and ID. The transitional version – cdesign proponentsists – was discovered.

Put simply, the ID book Of Pandas and People that was discussed at the Dover trial was originally a unashamed creation book called Creation Biology. (You know it’s a creation book because it has the word “Creation” in the title. You’re welcome.) Just after the Supreme Court ruling against creation science in Edwards v. Aguillard, the Disco Tute decided to remake the book as an ID book, rewriting large parts of it to make it all “sciencey” and not creationism at all.  No, really. But unfortunately for them, they were in such a hurry to do so that in changing the wording in one place from “creationists” to (presumably) “intelligent design proponents”, they morphed the two phrases and the book actually included the words “cdesign proponentsists”. Apparently they believe in a designer but not in a spell checker. Hilarious. Click the NCSE’s Missing Link discovered! for a detailed explanation of what they did. Also, The Panda’s Thumb’s Missing link: “cdesign proponentsists”.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “SKEPTICO”

Pinniped Evolution

Posted in Neurologica by Skepdude on April 24, 2009

The joke is getting so overused now it is becoming a cliche in skeptical circles – what happens when a paleontologist fills in a gap in the fossil record? They create two gaps, one on each side. But it is often used because it pithily exposes the intellectual buffoonery of those evolution deniers (aka creationists) who deny common descent. What is a “gap;” how big does it have to be to call into question common decent; or rather how small do the gaps have to shrink before creationists will accept common descent?

Perhaps the biggest outright lie in the creationist camp, still frequently parroted, is that there is a lack of transitional fossils in the fossil record. That is why it is important to showcase to the public the steady stream of beautiful transitional fossils that are being added to our already copious fossil record.

In the most recent issue of Nature, scientist present yet another pesky gap filled in with a transitional fossil, this one an early pinniped – which includes seals, sealions, and walruses.

The fossil is between 20-24 million years old and is dubbed Puijila darwini. Here is the technical description from the Nature article.

The new taxon retains a long tail and the proportions of its fore- and hindlimbs are more similar to those of modern terrestrial carnivores than to modern pinnipeds. Morphological traits indicative of semi-aquatic adaptation include a forelimb with a prominent deltopectoral ridge on the humerus, a posterodorsally expanded scapula, a pelvis with relatively short ilium, a shortened femur and flattened phalanges, suggestive of webbing.

What this means is that the creature was able to walk on land, was likely a carnivore, but had some early adaptations to the water, such as webbed feat. Think of an otter (it was 110 cm long) with a long tale and the teeth of a dog.  The earliest pinniped fossils come from 20-28 million years ago, about the same time as this fossil, and already have fully developed flippers.

This fossil suggests answers to several unknowns – what evolutionary path did pinnipeds take, what are their closest relatives, and where greographically did their evolution take place? This fossil suggests they evolved in the fresh waters of the arctic, as opposed to the the northwestern US, where the earliest pinniped fossils were found. This one fossil does not settle this last question, but does suggest the arctic as a viable alternative.

I can anticipate the standard creationist denial. They will argue that this fossil cannot be a direct ancestor to pinnipeds because it is as old, and not older, than the earliest pinniped fossils with fully formed flippers.  This is true, as the authors of the Nature article readily state. Most fossils will not be direct ancestors to living descendants. This is because evolutionary relationships are bushy – they are not a ladder of linear progression. A randomly discovered fossil is therefore likely to be on a side branch, not one that lead directly to species that happen to be extant.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “NEUROLOGICA”

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