Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ray Comfort's Lies in Origin of Species, refuted pages 19-23

First, let's start by having you open this document and turn immediately to the 19th page. (Sec1:15). I will be starting this section pretty much where I left off the last one, at the section titled "Transitional Forms." Please feel free to follow along at home so you know I'm not warping Comfort's words, nor am I putting words in his mouth.

For the record, for any and all words copied verbatim from Mr. Comfort's document, I am claiming fair use under section 107 of the US copyright code. Specifically, those provisions which allow for use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In this case, the intent is to offer criticism of a clearly fraudulent document, and thereby falls under even the most stringent definition of the fair use statute.

When Darwin wrote Origin of Species, he had a lot of ideas and conjecture about how this immense variety of life came about. But what evidence do we now have that his ideas were correct?

The answer to Ray Comfort's question, of course, is an absolutely huge amount.

For starters, we have a pattern of endogenous retroviruses which could only have arisen if human beings, the the other great apes, monkeys, and lemurs all shared a distant common ancestor.

We have the fusion of chromosome #2 which can easily be explained by common ancestry between us and all of the other primates, or by the existence of a malicious and deceptive being who wanted to make it look as if evolution had occurred.

We have the morphological nested hierarchy of organisms both extant and extinct first described by Linnaeus, a Christian Creationist, which is rather elegantly explained by the theory of evolution.

We have observed instances of speciation in the laboratory, and in nature which have occurred just in the time that human beings have been on the scene.

We have an abundance of transitional species which are laid out in exactly the way that evolution demands that they be laid out, and that Ray Comfort is about to insist do not exist.

And that's just the barest scratch of the surface.

If evolution were true, and humans and chimps did have a common ancestor, we would expect to find something that is half-monkey/half-man. These intermediate stages where one species supposedly evolves into another species are called “transitional forms.”

Two sentences, two lies. That's a record, even for Ray Comfort.

It is completely and logically impossible to have anything that is "half monkey, half man" in much the same way that it is completely impossible to have anything that is "half dog, half vertebrate," or "half dog, half mammal." That's lie number 1.

Lie number two is that not only does the theory of evolution not predict that there should be something that is "half-monkey, half-man," it would actually be disproved on the spot if we were to ever find such a thing.

The only way to objectively classify animals is by their shared properties: properties that they share and which are never, ever found outside of that group. Primates, the smallest cladistic group which includes all animals with every last one of the shared properties of the monkeys, also includes human beings. Primates, collectively, are defined as any gill-less, organic RNA/DNA protein-based, metabolic, metazoic, nucleic, diploid, bilaterally-symmetrical, endothermic, digestive, tryploblast, opisthokont, deuterostome coelemate with a spinal chord and 12 cranial nerves connecting to a limbic system in an enlarged cerebrial cortex with a reduced olfactory region inside a jawed-skull with specialized teeth including canines and premolars, forward-oriented fully-enclosed optical orbits, and a single temporal fenestra, -attached to a vertebrate hind-leg dominant tetrapoidal skeleton with a sacral pelvis, clavical, and wrist & ankle bones; and having lungs, tear ducts, body-wide hair follicles, lactal mammaries, opposable thumbs, and keratinized dermis with chitinous nails on all five digits on all four extremities, in addition to an embryonic development in amniotic fluid, leading to a placental birth and highly social lifestyle. This definition includes absolutely all of the monkeys (old and new world), lemurs, tarsiers, and apes.

This definition also includes you. Not only that, but it's impossible to separate you from this definition. No matter how many properties you listed out that described all of the monkeys, you could not separate yourself from that definition.

A subset of "monkey" is a group known as the great apes. They have further defining characteristics such as a specialized dentition, a tail which has shrunk to the point that it no longer protrudes beyond the skin, and a greatly increased range of motion in the shoulder. You have absolutely every one of the shared properties of the great apes.

A subset of the great apes is a much smaller cladistic group known as genus homo, of which all known examples are extinct except for Homo Sapiens.

So, not only should we not find anything that is half-human, half-monkey, evolution actually demands that we be fully monkey and fully human.

Actually, not only must we be fully monkey, we must have absolutely every last one of the shared properties that all other primates share in order for our common ancestry to be true.

If, for example, human beings had every single one of the shared properties that all primates shared, except that we were proteostomes, that, on its own, would be sufficient to disprove our common ancestry on the spot. Instead, we fit in exactly with the predictions of evolution.

One thing that has to be mentioned is that this isn't a construct of "evolutionists" that resulted in this classification. The person who first described human beings as "primates" was not only a Christian, but a creationist who, unless he had also discovered time travel, could not possibly have been attempting to support either Darwin or his theories, as neither would exist until over three decades after his death.

I want to point out, that is just from one paragraph. In one paragraph, two sentences, Ray Comfort told two lies so audacious, it took the better part of several pages to adequately refute them.

And it doesn't get much better from here.

Because evolution is said to have happened in the past,

Lie #3. Evolution is not said to be have happened in the past, it's happening right now. It's a continuous process. It didn't stop happening just because we happen to be around here to see it happen.

As a consequence, we do see it happening in species which have a short enough generation time to observe it. Bacteria, who have a generation time measured in hours rather than years have a shockingly fast rate of evolution. Among other things, they develop antibiotic resistances all the time, and it's a constant arms race to keep ahead of their staggeringly fast evolution.

HIV is constantly evolving ways of avoiding antiretroviral drugs. Yet another arms race that we're constantly facing. Recent comparisons between modern HIV strains and some of the earliest known samples was performed. They show about as much similarity to each other as you do to your average aardvark. By even the most stringent standard, this constitutes "macroevolution."

Bacteria have evolved the ability to metabolize nylon, a compound which did not exist until 30 years ago, and to metabolize TNT.

Richard Lenski recently ran a long-term evolutionary experiment on e. coli where they developed an ability they did not possess before: the ability to metabolize citrate.

In recent times, we've observed speciation in drosophila. Furthermore, we've observed something called ring species which is literally an evolutionary lineage laid out geographically. At the opposite ends of this line, the species cannot successfully interbreed, but any two adjacent species therein can. In a true ring species, the lineage is stretched in a circle, where the two ends are in close proximity to each other, so you end up with two species, occupying a similar geographic region, but which cannot interbreed.

Whether the theory of evolution is a fable or a fact should be seen in the fossil evidence.

Yet another lie. As a woman who studies the evolution of HIV put it, "if Darwin and Wallace had opened up a resort in Cuba rather than going into science, if every single fossil were still hidden, then the instant we found endogenous retroviruses, and understood what they were and what they meant, then the fact of common descent would have hit us in the head like a sackful of doorknobs."

If evolution were true, the fossil record should reveal millions of transitional forms, as life gradually evolved from one species to another.

Which it does. We have, literally, millions of transitional fossils.

What we don't have is Ray Comfort's straw-man version of what a "Transitional Fossil" would entail.

The next paragraph is Ray Comfort again making the bald-faced false statement that "there are no transitional fossils."

In other words, he insists that not a single one of these exist.

Incidentally, that's an exceedingly short list.

Interestingly enough, Ray Comfort is about to name two transitional fossils himself without realizing it.

Excited evolutionists believed that they found one back in 1999. A Chinese farmer glued together the head and body of a primitive bird and the tail and hind limbs of a dromaeosaur dinosaur, and completely fooled the worldwide scientific community (including National Geographic magazine) into thinking that they had found the “missing link” between carnivorous dinosaurs and modern birds. Called Archaeoraptor, it was quickly exposed as a fraud.

Note two things:

1) the reason why it was exposed as a fraud was exactly because it failed to line up with evolutionary predictions. The two parts of Archaeoraptor seemed to be a part of two completely separate transitional series.

2) Ray Comfort does not identify the two species that make up Archaeoraptor.

Without admitting it, Ray Comfort has just identified two species which even meet the most stringent definition of a "transitional species." Archaeoraptor is made up of two species (Yanornis martini, the body, and Microraptor zhaoianus, the tail). Both are perfect examples of "transitional species" which meet any definition of the term pertinent to evolution.

They do not, however, meet Ray Comfort's straw man version of what he thinks a "transitional fossil" should be.

Aside from “feathered dinosaurs,” many other supposed “missing links” have been debunked.

First off, feathered dinosaurs have not been debunked. Among others Archaeopteryx is a valid fossil with feathers which was capable of limited flight.

For example, a Berkeley website claims that “there are numerous examples of transitional forms in the fossil record, providing an abundance of evidence for change over time.” The only example they cite as proof is Pakicetus.

Comfort looks at a website which shows a general overview of evolution, and doesn't bother to look farther.

If he did, he would find, in addition to Pakicetus:

Ambulocetus natans: Early to Middle Eocene, (predating Pakicetus).

Indocetus ramani: earliest Middle Eocene

Dorudon: the dominant cetacean of the late Eocene. Their tiny hind limbs were not involved in locomotion. They were, however, perfectly adapted for swimming.

Basilosaurus: A fully aquatic whale with structurally complete legs

an early baleen whale with its blowhole far forward and some structural features found in land animals but not later whales.

You know, all those transitional fossil thingies that Ray Comfort seems to think don't exist.

Now, a slightly further search by Ray Comfort would have revealed that the closest living relative to the ceteans is the Hippopotamus. Had he bothered looking further, he would have found that the link between the two known as anthracotheres, a family which is very well represented in the fossil record.

I'll continue further later. Suffice it to say, I can only take Comfort's blatant lies in small doses.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ray Comfort's Lies in the Origin of Species. Pages 13-19

First, let's start by having you open this document and turn immediately to the 13th page. (Sec1:9). The title at the top of the page is "The DNA Code." Please feel free to follow along at home so you know I'm not warping Comfort's words, nor am I putting words in his mouth.

For the record, for any and all words copied verbatim from Mr. Comfort's document, I am claiming fair use under section 107 of the US copyright code. Specifically, those provisions which allow for use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In this case, the intent is to offer criticism of a clearly fraudulent document, and thereby falls under even the most stringent definition of the fair use statute.

That legal mumbo-jumbo out of the way, let us begin.

Consider for a moment whether you could ever believe this publication happened by accident. Here’s the argument: There was nothing.

Within the very first paragraph, Ray Comfort falls on his face. No science, certainly no science to which Darwin's Origin of Species is a pertinent document in even a historical sense ever claims that "there was nothing." Even modern cosmology does not make any such claim, so right off the bat, Comfort is attempting to lump cosmology in with evolution, and trying to present a straw-man argument for the former, as if all of them were under the same umbrella.

They are not. Evolution, put simply, is the non-random survival of randomly-varying replicators. This definition demands that replicators be in existence before evolution can take place. What Mr. Comfort, and Mr. Cameron fail to recognize is that the theory of evolution would not change in any observable way if tomorrow we were to discover that the first self-replicators were magically "poofed" into existence.

Then paper appeared, and ink fell from nowhere onto the flat sheets and shaped itself into perfectly formed letters of the English alphabet.

There are many flaws with this analogy. First, any scientific theory for which Darwin's Origin of Species is a pertinent historic text demands that, at the absolute least, the alphabet is already in existence. So let's start from there.

Let's start with the fact that the english language is an absolutely hideous analogy for the DNA code. The english language possesses 26 letters, punctuation marks, spaces and all the necessary symbols to make a working written language.

The main reason why the english language sucks as an analogy for the DNA code is simple: meaningless sequences of letters exist.

Imagine, if you will, a language which only possesses four letters. This language has another quirk: every single word in this language has only three letters. There are no spaces, no punctuation marks. And let's say that of these three letter combinations, 64 of them have known meanings.

If such a language existed, it would be completely impossible to make any combination of letters which was not meaningful. Even a random sequence of letters would translate into meaningful words and sentences.

Such a language does exist: it's called DNA.

Initially, the letters said something like this: “fgsn&k cn1clxc dumbh cckvkduh vstupidm ncncx.” As you can see, random letters rarely produce words that make sense. But in time, mindless chance formed them into the order of meaningful words with spaces between them. Periods, commas, capitals, italics, quotes, paragraphs, margins, etc., also came into being in the correct placements. The sentences then grouped themselves to relate to each other, giving them coherence.

By pure coincidence, an associate of mine performed an experiment like this. What he did is he started with completely random sequences of letters, then he applied a very simple evolutionary algorithm. The letters would undergo a random modification, and those which were farthest away from the target text were selected out. This is a process generally known as "evolution," and should not be confused with the straw-man version thereof that Ray Comfort presents here.

Initially, the resulting text had very little meaning:

t jthe-b;gin;cngmioaoetewte:,vweqzeav,nsk:g- t,x.enrth -wpeceartxcwepr:ithou:-vormlanegvodd,qay xlrkhms.ew,.rupoyltoapoa:tjufathe dezj, and -hsospirgt pw e.g w.s ,ovi:g lvszttqe isye of ganfpatnroj h:w ;ojgsadm, leb tusr. ,e siohtsxanyet,,beiwys light.:a,s ghd;waf thqtk yi lughtkw,t ghpd;eano gyd bdgaraeedf:yejpijhtsorom ovo darknhksq g:jug jpedjtie,ei-:oqlysscdeacill,ddnilhgnesnd kg;riy:usdwzensjg-tyw mdjrt wej lorlirg, oae dry. a.d goapg.ld-jxev trnr-tbezidojomamvntb,nqshejmidst,et theowatlrs;xana l.t htmee,.rnte theuwjte:s nkok khz :a,grimeyqt gsyrmj p ted fi.mofepr:aid lvpwqlted:,aexwltvk- wxic: werwvnrxer tvgq,:rmam.nswyromdt;, c;- cs kpiceawyrqg-bojejyhg eismrmmll. ae- itgwagmaknxizd godsdqpmegxthl vqc:axenonxetde:. knd therec,asmqxeningu:nd,the-e was moigsnjh f e rbsdanty. ejaoeoe saidr ,eq,tmekfpber,:nndeo thu heawpj-:gcrgutakneynt zjhjvpxjx- hnfvpz:oet;cnx:l;bgkxeudrt;epwd,lpm,ioc and omlwtb sog uw.t allediy-g dny xandceartbusanp tseezatexm f.attwe.t;ga. emcd z;g;the, hzkcalled-x,asa w dlgpr :ae-thkt;ct was gjo:j zjdjiocds-ad, jet s-r-oax-lxputavnrth;vewrtatm,n,opldsto liel,-ngludbtawwj::v uitdtrjxszbzaxfngufatstjsn rhlph cs:.koir .ehex ea:ofuccmading to n-s fizd, sp c poa eaqlk. ang im i-s sow ojegemutzzbrosliu,gyn:hvvjo.tyrif:, plengs .ieleiko ii - uwqkrdtn, toythei.mokm minqnr a-y vbems b:arikz krusl:jn whe:f o. todxpwsekgqheachspccokd -v wonitsu,icq.gandpaom.baq tavf rx:vau;hsob.ruidof eaeywaejevenwncbfnd:jhkcecwgspmfyhi;ghaa,hxsrd i y.,avkzggnmsybce:le ynebe aez-;ffteuij dtj firm,;fjtlou t.e sejgnnlhtl seolrans d.e ryjmfeymwtde nnyet; abldr t.tdn:gkevaormsmpng bzk jor.s.rlohy ond.ko:thuks kwq;y:arrynahp-let.tgekgba qisats bfhbmelx.rl v,ntvof-thh:tbbgensbwol:ivd n:y-txuton ghr eprth. .nd iprwasc gauwfv ifqt me the-twbigrlaq wvghaa, tzeqo:jat.r s;gho tp rule jcs dputya:q;qhewweszer eg;t sh rulg.bheqniglt;uhvjm;ve qhjogtats klsq; :hj gome,qt ttyyghqpehemgh .km ztrsfithevufqveisgt qjvalglbktdupdn jhe eaothojto julmbsvqq lcr gayqa-deove,:ghepnpghg, .no,eo swemravu tl;ilg,.: p.on xhxrybrk.ewx.ebnx:gyunby:,ihat it-wasutoqd. ahdu,hb,edhjdkedetin. mfughhewe wasxstani.g, hnmel,yhnd-y.vandhjod:juiz-ples thyqwa.ers o.tzriuipxhesgl mslofn;xoilg irwqturrs, ajs mit gc:dssgnm abovego e n.bsmaacrqo,wtmju;irxooentljbdfh. hea.ens. sy jwd creotjj th,zrx,adisrr ,onst rk lndqmvbffjpiv;ng crewtnrcgjham v v.z- gdmh jhdchxthe vabbls k,arn, ac,-rd.pgkcoathmsk vimdw,.andxetyo.cgi,gmdvbifdwac-onqinz monitnusifdh an-mg;dwwtt b.p;ziz :qi goota anw godyzlwssed rmu,,;yabizwjtbelfjui;fonaanx meoxyptu aipefihl tj; im ;hfkdeai,;andblet bigcj xoljip..notbtgu vuztx.;and akijedoasleventngp,wdgtherh wae mor-ingiralfiktb dayn and zoy szidp lgr,the karwj brtrb ,ortw ltvjmg jeextlfe;gsycoro.c -swaghebortlgtbrrqvgtle:and jfeeping vednrs and;beustg-offttzceorthfvqco.girg ah aheih eindfpr:nd itjwaj vk.:anddgwsammhe zy b;astsd.a tne faythwawcrxd.nyrto toei ,kicds knd ihmscatzlk oceordinv-i;nthdorokifdqtbansi:,eryihin- to.tgcceeiqburongtbqhjvcfn-.n.cyrviudotomitu jin-q dnd,gon:e-q;outtrgt pwsede d. t,etrgodlsysy, leusu, mqje;qgn wt kriimegn, aaker our zzouneckotd;d me:u he vaveatq.inioqjoveoutoj .ijw zn -hjl:e,b n,ehqvyrkthe wdskgn the epr, ilh ouwq t,e ,attly, a-d oiervall unxheakth, evdky br ;mi;g ts;ygknmarqcqcepslu.ewgahf eq,t-.; ondhjo oqu zm-ke,ss:jm;e izaqq ot rgc pw akeatvtchip;nmlle vnd :emxg, :qjcllaned them. and-y;vuhdessedjumz k msd:g,t s:w-.tojthig, p; fxuht.uliapd:oul -plyq kns filljtve;yayvhbaq.:s,vybgxit;uund biveid.fceiayc;:jrmthenfir,itfjtuedsr-aamf ove;whhe hxrmalgf thhjmkr .ndvuver edojy tjuizgknhilg;bhan:eovto glrnhth-pekgh .tand g-d l -v, qehold, i,havi h;venzygu hpbrykpovvynyuela.hgjseeymwwdch aoeu;la hl.wdch.o-;aql hhed rrto, ;.jylv-r, tdee kith segdcln rms frcit;rpvnnsefll hgjejohpq .:- ffcymxadc te everyblzastkof yrh,etdthglcjd qw aferywvvp: ogethn.ciro a.d dobbvgfythinzcvhnirn.slfs zcrtsrfealt kbevezyzaiqg gaptah-s the crswth,tf mu,d,tibhave grvel ,vuyyzgne,n pran. moh -fcd.prnd t wasrdmr rcddrpi smnpdgerptbgcg thmjjhexhar madg,gscejblcohi,:nzywaskvery aoodu ;eawtw r: ,-lpefenxndsa,d tourunwvp-mo:nimg, a s xth day

However, after a mere 540,000 generations (geologically speaking, an eyeblink), we have:

in the beginning god created the heavens and the earth. the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of god was moving over the face of the waters. and god said, let there be light; and there was light. and god saw that the light was good; and god separated the light from the darkness. god called the light day, and the darkness he called night. and there was evening and there was morning, one day. and god said, let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters. and god made the firmament and separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. and it was so. and god called the firmament heaven. and there was evening and there was morning, a second day. and god said, let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear. and it was so. god called the dry land earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called seas. and god saw that it was good. and god said, let the earth put forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth. and it was so. the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. and god saw that it was good. and there was evening and there was morning, a third day. and god said, let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth. and it was so. and god made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also. and god set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. and god saw that it was good. and there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day. and god said, let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens. so god created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. and god saw that it was good. and god blessed them, saying, be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth. and there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day. and god said, let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds. and it was so. and god made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the cattle according to their kinds, and everything that creeps upon the ground according to its kind. and god saw that it was good. then god said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. so god created man in his own image, in the image of god he created him; male and female he created them. and god blessed them, and god said to them, be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. and god said, behold, i have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. and to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, i have given every green plant for food. and it was so. and god saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. and there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.

I link here to the source code of the program itself, so that you can see that no hanky panky was involved.

I include all of this to point out that evolution is not a random process, as Ray Comfort will repeatedly contend. Once the process of random mutation, selection and reproduction are combined, we can, through a completely unguided process, produce a meaningful text from an initial set of completely random characters.

Now, to be clear, the english language is an absolutely horrid analogy for the genetic code. As previously mentioned, no meaningless sequence exists. We could program a computer to spit out completely random genetic sequences and we know without looking how many of them would be untranslatable: zero. The same cannot be said for the english language.

This program, in particular, is not an accurate depiction of evolution, however, the process is just as random as evolution is. We can, using a process that is unguided except to select for specific properties, we can construct the complete first chapter of genesis.

To liken DNA to a book is a gross understatement. The amount of information in the 3 billion base pairs in the DNA in every human cell is equivalent to that in 1,000 books of encyclopedia size.

It's more than a gross understatement, it's an absurd straw-man. Something that Ray Comfort excels at.

Yes, the human genome contains approximately 3 billion basepairs. Of those, at least 2.88 billion do absolutely nothing. Of the remainder, the larger portion are coding regions, and slightly less consist of non-coding regulatory regions.

In short, we can change roughly 96% of our genome without producing any observable phenotypic change at all. The coding regions, we can change any nucleotide at will and it will still produce a meaningful message (remember, DNA has no "meaningless" sequences), and in some cases, we can even insert a base pair, shifting everything downstream down one basepair. And still, it will be possible to translate the sequence.

In short, unlike any book, there is no possible change you can make to any sequence of DNA which will turn it into gibberish.

For example, recently, a group of scientists deleted a total of over two million basepairs from the genome of the mouse. Doing the same thing would render some section of any book illegible. That mouse has no phenotype. No observable change was found between that mouse, and its unmodified siblings.

In short, Comfort's analogy is hopelessly flawed, and bears no resemblance to the reality of the genetic code.

Aside from the immense volume of information that your DNA contains, consider whether all the intricate, interrelated parts of this “book” could have come together by sheer chance.

As previously pointed out, evolution is not an act of chance. It is the non-random survival of randomly-varying replicators. Evolution is largely the product of selection, which is the pretty much the exact opposite of "sheer chance."

Do you think that DNA’s amazing structure could have come together by accident?

Again, we have the key word: accident. Ray Comfort simply cannot resist beating down the same strawman he started with.

Even the director of the U.S. National Human Genome Research Institute concluded there is a God based on his study of DNA. Francis Collins, the scientist who led the team that cracked the human genome, believes there is a rational basis for a Creator and that scientific discoveries bring man “closer to God”

Note, Comfort slyly ignores the fact that Collins, a devout Christian, is also firmly and unambiguously accepts the theory of evolution. A two second search on Google produces this quote:

I think intelligent design sets up a god of the gaps kind of scenario. Well, you know, we haven't yet explained this particular feature of evolution, so god must be right there. If science ultimately proves that those gaps aren't gaps, after all, then where is god? We really ought not to ask people to do that.

Heavens! A devout Christian speaking out against Intelligent Design? Surely Comfort must be up late at nights trying to solve this contradiction.

In 2004, the atheist world was shocked when famed British atheist Antony Flew suddenly announced that he believed in the existence of God. For decades he had heralded the cause of atheism. It was the incredible complexity of DNA that opened his eyes.

It should be noted that Anthony Flew has no formal training in biology. He has no particular familiarity with the theory of evolution or how it works.

And, again, Comfort is assuming that belief in God and acceptance of evolution are mutually exclusive. His own example of Francis Collins refutes this.

DNA is an incredibly detailed language, revealing vast amounts of information encoded in each and every living cell—which could not have arisen by accidental, mindless chance.

Again, Comfort is using the same "chance" argument. Using processes which are just as accidental or chance as evolution is, we constructed the entire first chapter of genesis. No designer was necessary, no input was involved from us. It did it all on its own.

Information requires intelligence and design requires a designer.

The problem with this claim is that nowhere in the initial 50 pages of this edition of Origin does Comfort give a definition of "information" which is quantifiable and pertinent to evolution.

For example, by any standard which is pertinent to evolution, the e. coli bacteria is among the most successful organisms currently inhabiting this planet. Do they have more or less information than human beings do?

There is a mountain in South Dakota that proves what evolutionists have been saying all along: if you just have enough time, wind, rain, erosion, and pure chance, you can get a mountain with the faces of four U.S. presidents on it! If we can all admit that the faces of Mt. Rushmore didn’t just accidentally appear, how much more complex are the people standing behind the podiums who want to be president?… Which is more complex? A. The faces of Mt. Rushmore, B. a 747, C. your cell phone, d. a worm. If you guessed “worm,” you are right. The DNA structures, digestive system, and reproductive system are far more complex than those other things that obviously had a designer. Maybe, just maybe, someone designed that worm, too.

It's worth pointing out that in this quote Janet Porter is stating, and Ray Comfort is citing, the same, tired straw-man argument. Evolution is not, and has never been, any more chance than the fact that a river flows downhill. Certainly, you may not be able to predict the exact path the river takes, but you would never say that "downhill" is a direction chosen at random.

One typical “proof” given for ape-to-man evolution is that chimpanzees and humans have very similar DNA. In
previous DNA studies, based on only portions of the chimp genome, scientists announced that humans and chimps were
98–99 percent identical, depending on what was counted. After completing the mapping of the chimp genome in 2005,
evolutionists are now hailing the result as “the most dramatic confirmation yet” that chimps and humans have common ancestry. Their overwhelming “proof” is the finding that the genetic difference is 4 percent—which is interesting proof, because it’s actually twice the amount that they’ve been claiming for years.

And here, we have Ray Comfort blatantly lying.

Evolution does not demand that there be a particular "amount" of difference between any two organisms. It merely points out the relative amount of difference which should exist. For example, humans should most closely resemble chimpanzees, they should slightly less closely represent gorillas, and they should barely resemble elephants at all. It's not the amount of similarity that is important, as Ray Comfort dishonestly implies here. It's the pattern of similarity.

Interestingly enough Ray Comfort does not mention something else which was found once the chimpanzee genome was sequenced. Endogenous Retroviruses.

We found 16 endogenous retroviruses in the chimpanzee genome which are identical, and located in the exact same location in the chimpanzee genome as we find in the human genome.

If human beings and chimpanzees were created separately, the probability of this occurring by coincidence is approximately 1 in 2x10^138.

However, if chimps and humans share a common ancestor, and that ancestor was infected with all 16 of these endogenous retroviruses, then the probability that we and chimpanzees will have 16 ERVs in common with each other is...

(drumroll please)



As in, it will happen.

I leave it as an exercise for the interested reader to decide which is the most likely occurrence.

Men and monkeys also have another fundamental difference: humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes while
chimps have 24, so the DNA isn’t as similar as you’ve been led to believe.

Notice how Ray Comfort studiously avoids asking (and heaven forbid that he answer) one simple question: where did the extra chromosome go (or come from).

The sequencing of the chimpanzee genome revealed something very interesting. It revealed that human chromosome #2 resulted from a head-to-head fusion of two chimpanzee chromosomes (with this discovery, retroactively named 2p and 2q).

How do we know this? Well, for starters,

1) The analogous chromosomes (2p and 2q) in the non-human great apes can be shown, when laid end to end, to create an identical banding structure to the human chromosome 2.

2) The remains of the sequence that the chromosome has on its ends (the telomere) is found in the middle of human chromosome 2 where the ancestral chromosomes fused.

3) the detail of this region (pre-telomeric sequence, telomeric sequence, reversed telomeric sequence, pre-telomeric sequence) is exactly what we would expect from a fusion.

4) this telomeric region is exactly where one would expect to find it if a fusion had occurred in the middle of human chromosome 2.

5) the centromere of human chromosome 2 lines up with the chimp chromosome 2p chromosomal centromere.

6) At the place where we would expect it on the human chromosome we find the remnants of the chimp 2q centromere.

7) The order of the genes is in the exact same order as is found in the two ape chromosomes.

Every last one of these is rather easily explained if one posits that humans and chimpanzees possess a common ancestor. Actually, it's kinda hard to explain in any other way, unless one posits that a deceptive, malicious, and horribly unimaginative deity wanted to make it seem exactly as if humans and chimpanzees shared a common ancestor.

More importantly, this claim of evolutionists makes a huge assumption. What is the scientific basis for assuming that similar DNA means a common ancestor?

Again, Comfort is presenting a straw-man here. It is not the similarity in DNA that assumes a common ancestor. It is, among other things, the pattern of endogenous retroviruses, the presence of fusion in human chromosome 2, the nested similarities in DNA (specifically, the pattern of similarities), redundant pseudogenes shared between humans and all the other great apes, nested morphological similarities...

When you see a biplane and a jet—which share common features of wings, body, tires, engine, controls, etc.—do you assume that one must have evolved from the other naturally, without a maker?

From one exceptionally bad straw-man, Comfort jumps straight into constructing an even worse one. Evolution only applies to systems capable of making slightly different copies of themselves. Does this apply to an airplane?

It’s more reasonable to conclude that similar design indicates a common, intelligent designer. An architect
typically uses the same building materials for numerous buildings, and a car manufacturer commonly uses the same parts in various models.

Until buildings are capable of reproducing, this is utterly irrelevant to evolution.

After all, DNA is the coding for the way our bodies look and operate, so creatures with similar features or body
functions (eyes for vision, enzymes for digestion, etc.) would have similar coding for these things in their DNA.

Which doesn't explain the presence of endogenous retroviruses, the fusion point in human chromosome 2, or the "broken" gene for vitamin C synthesis in all the apes, but only in the apes, including you.

Take this analogy. Suppose you're a teacher, and you have two students who turn in extremely similar papers. You call them in, and accuse them of plagiarism. They argue that they were working together, and therefore, the similarities are a reflection of their close working environment. What if, you point out, they had misspelled all of the exact same words, made the exact same mistakes, and had unique and identical errors in their respective papers that existed nowhere else, in none of the rest of the papers any of your other students had written? Would it not be reasonable to posit that both of these papers had a common origin?

So, even though we share 96 percent of our genetic makeup with chimps, that does not mean we are 96 percent chimp.

Since nobody is claiming that human beings are 96% chimp, Comfort is again constructing straw man over straw man.

According to evolutionist Steven Jones, a renowned British geneticist, “We also share about 50% of our DNA with bananas and that doesn’t make us half bananas...”

So, Comfort claims that evolutionists are looking to make a banana out of you, then cites an evolutionist who specifically says that sharing 50% of our genes with a banana doesn't make us a banana. The logic of that somehow eludes me.

And again, it should be mentioned that Comfort is again using the same straw-man argument. It's not the amount of similarity that's critical, it's the relative amount. The fact that we share about 50% of our genes with a banana is exactly what we expect. If we found that we shared the exact same amount with a chimpanzee would be about the most dramatic disproofs of evolution imaginable.

Well, that, and a crocoduck.

I'll continue tomorrow.

Response to Comfort's forward of the Origin of Species Part 1.

Over the next several postings (until I'm done), I will be reviewing this document by Ray Comfort.

On the outset, let me first tell the parts of the document that I will not be reviewing. I will start right off by skipping the first thirteen pages. These pages, as you can verify yourself from the link above, contain a history of Charles Darwin, as well as a timeline of his life. The facts of Darwin's life are objectively verifiable, and to a large extent are correct as presented in this document. I could quibble about the language used, but by and large, I have no major objection to the initial sections of this document.

Furthermore, I won't bother reviewing the section from the 43rd page to the end, starting with the section titled "Atheist Penn and the Time Bomb." These statements contain Ray Comfort's personal opinions and as such cannot objectively be evaluated. Suffice it to say, he draws the false assumption that evolution and atheism are synonymous (despite the fact that he himself names a number of scientists who accept or accepted both evolution and the existence of God; something which he does not even consider a possibility anywhere in his 50-page discourse), and the last pages of his manuscript are him saying that he sees atheism, and all the other major religions as bad, and Christianity as good.

This is going to be a long project, and anticipate the first posting tomorrow, in which I will start talking about the first few pages of the document.

I say that I will probably only get to the first few pages on that particular posting because the first page alone of this document is so crammed full of distortions, half-truths, outright lies, and straw-man arguments that much more than that would result in a ridiculously long posting.

At any rate, anticipate the first posting tomorrow.

What would Hitler do?

By far, one of the most egregious claims made by creationists is that somehow the theory of evolution is responsible for the Holocaust.

Now for the purposes of this discussion, I will set aside two undeniable facts:

1) the claim is pure, unadulterated, bullshit.


2) it would have no effect whatsoever if Hitler had quoted Darwin in every third sentence of Mein Kampf. One very evil person's opinions do not, in themselves, constitute an argument against any given position.

I'm going to set both of these aside for the moment and ask something a little more fundamental: if, indeed, Hitler were motivated purely by Darwin's theory of evolution, does the Holocaust even make sense?

Of course, one could posit that Hitler's approach is based upon a misunderstanding of the theory of evolution, but that can hardly be blamed on the theory. So, in the interest of full disclosure, in this little thought-experiment, I will make one assumption which I'm sure will be considered reasonable: Hitler actually understood the theory of evolution beyond the typical creationist straw-man versions of it. In other words, he understood what the theory of evolution actually says, rather than what creationists say it says.

So, if one was a dictator, motivated purely by an understanding of evolution, what would one do? In short, how, as a maniacal dictator, would one go about maximizing one's evolutionary potential? Well, in order to do that, one needs to first look at nature and ask what the most successful organism on the planet is, and see if there is any way we can mimic its behaviour.

Creationists are fond of claiming that human beings are the pinnacle of evolution. We're the most successful species on the planet, according to their version of evolution. This is, by any standard pertinent to what evolution actually says, false.

By any standard pertinent to evolution, the lowly e. coli bacteria is among the most successful organisms on the planet. Bacteria in general (and yes, I know, I'm talking about a whole kingdom here, rather than a species) are now, and always have been, the dominant organisms on this planet. They kick the asses of the entire animal kingdom in terms of reproductive rate, adaptability, and number of individuals, biomass, and environments exploited. By these standards, the only standards pertinent to evolution, all of the eukaryotic branches of the tree of life combined (that includes plants, animals, sponges, anything multicellular, and absolutely every living thing you can possibly see without a microscope) cannot even come close to matching the success of the e. coli species of bacteria alone.

A dictator, familiar with what the theory of evolution actually says would know this. Such a dictator would also know that it is beyond our technical capabilities to cause the human race to revert to the prokaryotic stage.

So, given this limitation, what is a dictator to do?

Well, short of reducing the human generational time to a matter of hours, rather than years (also beyond our capabilities), the next best option would be to increase the level of biological diversity as high as you possibly can. Actually, the most sure-fire way of guaranteeing a population's extinction would be to reduce the gene pool of your populus. Since extinct populations generally don't evolve any further, it seems unlikely that a dictator familiar with what the theory of evolution actually says would take this course of action. Put simply, if Hitler were actually motivated by the theory of evolution, the absolute last thing he would ever, ever want to do is create a "master race." In fact, were he motivated by what the theory of evolution actually says, he would know a "master race" of any kind; whether black, white, fuchsia, mauve or green; should be avoided at all costs.

There are any number of ways in which the genetic diversity of a population can be maximized, and while none of them are particularly palatable options, they're certainly not what Hitler did.

First off, some form of breeding program is a must. Not to breed out specific characteristics, mind you, the way that you do with dogs. The objective here would be to create the human equivalent of a mutt. Women will have to be required to produce offspring with different men of different ethnic backgrounds. This breeding program will have to go on for generations. After 6-10 generations or so (when we're breeding mice, we generally go with 6), it will be virtually impossible to tell that you have "races" at all in your population.

Next, from any country you conquer, the population which survives the conquering process will have to be included in the above-described breeding program. For example, it would be to your benefit to make sure that the gene for sickle-cell anemia exists somewhere in your population, as this has as a benefit a near-immunity to malaria. This gene exists almost exclusively in African populations. There's also a family in Greece which has a mutation which allows them to more efficiently process low-density lipoproteins. As a consequence, they have no family history of heart attacks. In tibet, a population has a gene which allows them to survive better at higher altitudes. Since none of these exist inherently in Germany, and very few exist in the caucasian races, limiting your genetic diversity to one race is, frankly, stupid.

Like I said, this will likely have to carry on for many generations, so you'll also probably have to do something about that whole "mortality" thing.

Now, we can argue about the ethics of this approach, and I agree, I'm not terribly keen on it myself. However, I think that there's one thing we can all agree on:

It's not what Hitler did.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The latest creationist PR

Ray "bananaman" Comfort, and his former child actor associate Kirk Cameron are trying again to indoctrinate the masses, and I have the distinct feeling that it's going to blow up in their faces.

Nobody is trying to censor them, nobody is trying to stop them. We're not against free speech.

We are, however, against lies.

That said, they have recently announced their latest PR scheme.

To correct all of the lies presented in just the first few minutes of this video would be impossible in just about any other forum. So I'm doing it here.

I also plan to make this posting available to a number of a-list bloggers in the hope that they will spread this to the widest audience possible.

So, let's begin. Each comment will be preceded with a timecode, and a quote from former child actor Kirk Cameron. The video above is exactly that which was posted, so you can verify their comments against it at any time.

Let us begin.

0:00 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: "Are you concerned about what's happening to our country?"


0:05 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: One by one, we're being stripped of our God-given liberties.

No evidence exists that your liberties were given by God. All liberties you enjoy were passed on to you by the founding fathers of this country. Founding fathers who said, among other things:

"Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law."

Vol. 1 Whether Christianity is Part of the Common Law (1764). Published in The Works of Thomas Jefferson in Twelve Volumes

"All persons shall have full and free liberty of religious opinion; nor shall any be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious institution."

Thomas Jefferson Draft Constitution for Virginia (June 1776)

0:11 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: Our kids can no longer pray in public.

Outright Lie #1. Nobody has yet been arrested for praying in public. Every attempt to do so, ever, has been thrown out of court under the very first amendment which protects your right to present any religious view you feel is appropriate.

0:13 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: They can no longer freely open a bible in school.

Outright lie #2. Students are not prohibited from opening a bible in school. They're not prohibited from praying in school. They're free to do both activities, provided, naturally, that they don't disturb the rest of the class, as clearly demonstrated by this document, endorsed by the ACLU and the National Association of Evangelicals (and imagine what a challenge it is to get those two groups to agree on anything).

Where the limit of religious expression lies is when the teacher begins to present or endorse religion on the public dollar. That's the deal we made in the constitution: if it's paid for with taxes, religion stays out of it.

Of interest is the following passage of the same document, endorsed by both the ACLU and the National Association of Evangelicals:

Students have a right to distribute religious literature to their schoolmates on the same terms as they are permitted to distribute other literature that is unrelated to school curriculum or activities. Schools may impose the same reasonable time, place, and manner or other constitutional restrictions on distribution of religious literature as they do on nonschool literature generally, but they may not single out religious literature for special regulation.

Yep. Sure seems like they're restricting access to bibles.

Remember, this was endorsed by the ACLU, the organization that fundamentalists are always insisting is trying to force religion out of schools.

0:15 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: The Ten Commandments are no longer allowed to be displayed in public places.

Outright lie #3. The ten commandments are allowed to be displayed in public places. They're not, however, allowed to be displayed on public property, nor should they be. You are perfectly, and openly permitted to display a copy of the ten commandments, or the wiccan rede, or the scrolls of Mohamed, on your front lawn, or on the front of your church, or on your office door, but you can put none of them on the steps of a public courthouse.

Speaking of the ten commandments, we're just barely over a quarter-minute into this video, and Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron has already openly, blatantly and remorselessly lied three times. Isn't there a commandment somewhere in there about "bearing false witness?"

0:22 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: and the Gideons are not even allowed to give away bibles in schools.

No, the Gideons were not prohibited from giving the bibles away. They were not stopped from handing out the bibles, or condemned by the school for doing so. In fact, the school released a statement saying that the Gideons had violated no laws whatsoever. What actually happened was that the parents of students who were given the bibles got upset, and they have absolutely every right to be upset. Imagine if you found out that Muslim extremists were handing copies of the Koran to your children, or that pagans were teaching them all about the wiccan rede, or hindus were giving copies of the Bhagavad Gita. Honestly, don't you think that would upset you just a little?

Outright Lie #4, in just over 20 seconds.

0:24 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: Did you know that a recent study revealed that in the top 50 universities in our country, in the fields of psychology and biology, 61% of professors describe themselves as atheists or agnostics?

Not an outright lie, but a very misleading use of statistics.

The study in question shows that:

Respondents were asked to select the statement that comes closest to expressing their views about God. Only 10.0 percent chose the statement, “I don’t believe in God,” while 13.4 percent chose the statement, “I don’t know whether there is a God, and I don’t believe there is any way to find out.” About 23.4 percent of respondents to our survey, in other words, are either atheists or agnostics.

A pretty far cry from the 61% Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron is quoting here, isn't it? The only time when that number comes up is when you deliberately restrict it only to the Psychology and Biology professors. In other words, subjects where the religious views of the professor would be completely and utterly irrelevant to the subject matter.

So, even if 61% of biology and psychology professors are atheists, so what?

Let's follow Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron's so-called "reasoning" to the next step.

0:38 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: No wonder atheism has doubled in the last 20 years among 19 to 25-year-olds.

Since I really don't see why this is a concern, at all, I won't bother fact-checking this one. Suffice it to say, if it's true, so what? If it's not, then Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron is lying again. I could honestly care less.

However, he associates the "high" number of atheists college professors (and not just any professors, specifically those in biology and psychology, which is a tiny minority of the college professors in total) with the increase in atheism. This is unlikely to be true, as it is still only a minority of americans who possess a post-secondary education. In order for this statement to in any way be linked to the one which proceeds it (itself, at the absolute least, a disingenuous statement of the actual statistics), one would have to establish that a sizable portion of those who become atheists during this time were college educated in psychology or biology, and were taught by the 61% of professors who profess to be atheists or agnostics.

In short, they have not established any type of causal relationship, but have implied (and at the absolute least, flirted with saying outright) that such a relationship exists.

Not quite a lie, at any rate, but close enough that it barely makes a difference.

0:43 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: An entire generation is being brainwashed by atheistic evolution without even hearing the alternative, and it's radically changing the culture of our nation.

This is a loaded statement which needs to be broken down.

"An entire generation"

At the absolute most, using the numbers that Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron himself uses, we're looking at the tiny fraction of "the whole generation" who go to the top 50 universities in the US, who are educated by the 23% of atheists in those universities, in a subject where their religious views would possibly have been pertinent (which, incidentally, would pretty much always exclude both psychology and biology), who were sufficiently convinced by those arguments to convert to atheism. Once all those necessary caveats and addendums are included, the number can hardly be considered "an entire generation" by even the loosest definition of the term.

"is being brainwashed by atheistic evolution"

So, once we narrow it down to just the professors of biology and psychology, it pretty much stands to reason that they're going to be taught evolution in some capacity or another. Psychology these days has, as one of its central principles, how evolution has molded the human psyche. Stands to reason that evolution is going to be mentioned at least once or twice.

Biology has, as its central principle, evolution. Theodosius Dobzhansky once said that "nothing in biology makes sense, except in the light of evolution."

Now, note again how Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron slyly presents two ideas, atheism and evolution as if the terms were associated, or possibly even synonymous? Dobzhansky was an evangelical Christian who could not, by any reasonable definition of the term, be considered an atheist. Francis Collins, head of the NIH and head of the human genome project is both an evangelical Christian, and an evolutionist. Kenneth Miller is Catholic, believes in God, and testified against Intelligent Design at Dover. The last three popes (not counting JP1 who died before he had a chance to make a statement on the subject) all supported evolution. I don't think I'm assuming too much by saying that all three believed in God.

Again, not quite a lie, per se, but at the absolute least Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron is being disingenuous.

"without even hearing the alternative."

Once we're only looking at the tiny fraction of the generation educated in biology and psychology, both hard sciences which should be addressed scientifically, there is no alternative to evolution. None has ever been presented which passes even the most basic of scientific rigor. Scientists have spent the last several decades asking one simple question: what is the scientific theory of creation, and what experimental test would differentiate it from evolution?

No answer so far. Until there is one, there is no place for the creation hypothesis in either biology or psychology classes.

"And it's radically changing the culture of our nation."

So the tiny fraction of students who are post-secondary educated in the subjects of biology and psychology are radically changing the culture. Note again, Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron craftily implies a causal relationship here where none has been established.

Now, I'm going to skip a few sentences here. Suffice it to say that Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron states outright that the only possible way for someone to love that which is right, just and good is to love God. I'm a huge fan of that which is right, just and good. Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron doesn't qualify. Anyhow, since Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron clearly believes this to be true, and there's no objective way to demonstrate that he's lying, I'll instead focus on those things which are objectively false rather than his statements of faith.

Depressingly enough, that doesn't reduce my workload much.

1:24 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: Now when my friend Ray Comfort heard about this, and that the book was public domain, he actually wrote a 50-page introduction to the book which gives the history of evolution, a timeline of Darwin's life, Adolph Hitler's undeniable connection with the theory, Darwin's racism, his disdain for women, and Darwin's thoughts on the existence of God, and put them in the book.

Suffice it to say, virtually none of the above assertions are true, all of them are utterly irrelevant to the veracity of the theory of evolution. It would have no bearing whatsoever on whether evolution is true if Hitler quoted Darwin every third sentence of Mein Kampf rather prohibiting libraries from carrying "6. Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism (Haeckel)".

It would make absolutely no difference whatsoever if Hitler supported Darwin's work rather than, like a creationist, Hitler asserted fixity of kinds:

The fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose, and the tiger will retain the character of a tiger. - Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. i, ch. xi

Or, as Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron does here, Hitler argued against secular schooling:

Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith . . . we need believing people. - Adolf Hitler, Speech, April 26, 1933

Hitler's position on the subject is irrelevant to whether that position is actually valid. Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron is trying to claim that evolution must be wrong because Darwin was a racist, or Hitler supported it. This is logically equivalent to claiming that the theory of gravity is wrong because Newton was an asshole, and falling out of a tall building can kill you. It's an argument from consequence, and a clumsy one at that.

Setting aside that it is false by any standard of the time that Darwin was racist or possessed a disdain for women, and that the absolute best you can claim with regards to Hitler is that he applied a horrendous misinterpretation of evolution (tell me again how gas chambers constitute "natural selection?"), all of these points are utterly and completely irrelevant to whether evolution is actually true.

1:48 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: it also lists the theory's many hoaxes.

Again Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron slyly implies that somehow the hoaxes (which do exist) were ever considered evidence upon which the theory of evolution rests. They are not and never were. In fact, the reason why many such hoaxes were discovered is because they could not be reconciled with the theory of evolution.

And, by the way, Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron, who found these hoaxes? Here's a hint: it wasn't the creationists of the time. It was the evolutionist biologists whose well you're trying oh-so-hard to poison.

1:51 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: It exposes the unscientific belief that nothing created everything.

No scientist, no science, and certainly absolutely no science whatsoever to which Darwin's Origin would in any way have been pertinent to the subject matter makes any such claim. Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron has now lumped evolution in with cosmology, and presented a straw-man version of the latter. Then, for reasons which surpass absurdity, this straw man is being placed in an introduction to the Origin of Species, a text which long predates the science of cosmology, and therefore has absolutely no relevance to it.

1:56 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: It points to the incredible structure of DNA

Actually, the structure of DNA is remarkably simple.

2:00 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: And the absence of any species-to-species transitional forms actually found in the fossil record.

Outright lie #5. There is no shortage of transitional forms in the fossil record. What is absent is an actual definition of what creationists actually mean by a "transitional form." Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron is fond of trotting out a picture of a "crocoduck" as if such a creature (were it to exist) wouldn't be about the most dramatic disproof of evolution imaginable.

But we don't even need to look at the fossil record to find species-to-species transitional forms. We've observed speciation by any possible definition which is pertinent to evolution in the laboratory, and in nature in the tiny part of natural history on this planet that humans have been around for.

2:06 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: It then presents a balanced view of creationism.

If their view of evolution presented above is the measure of "balance..."

2:10 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: with information from scientists who actually believe that God created the universe.

Again, we have Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron slyly (and dishonestly) implying that acceptance of evolution, and belief that God created the universe, are somehow mutually exclusive propositions.

2:15 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: Such as Albert Einstein,

Albert Einstein openly accepted the theory of evolution. Therefore, the first example Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron gives refutes the false dichotomy he is trying to construct.

2:17 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: Isaac Newton

How are Isaac Newton's views even remotely pertinent in a book which would not be published until 130 years after his death?

2:20 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: Copernicus

Again, how can you possibly know Copernicus's views on evolution, or cosmology when he died over 400 years before either was published?

2:21 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: Bacon

Who died 200 years before "Origins" was published.

2:21 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: Faraday

Whose area of research was electrodynamics, whose life long predated any work on cosmology, and who never expressed any opinion one way or the other on Darwin's theories.

2:22 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: Louis Pasteur

Who accepted evolution, and believed that God created the universe. Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron's false dichotomy presents itself yet again, and his own example disproves it.

2:23 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: and Johann Kepler.

Who died 200 years before Origin was published.

So, just to recap, each of the scientists he cites all believe in God and for all of them, at least one of the following is also true:

1) they also believed in evolution.
2) they died long before any scientific theories of cosmology or evolution (which Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron doesn't seem to realize are two different things) existed or
3) their area of research had absolutely nothing to do with any subject to which Darwin's "Origin of Species" is an even historically relevant text.

So... why mention any one of them in a forward to "Origin of species?"

2:45 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: In one day, the gospel, and a clear presentation of Intelligent Design...


I thought that intelligent design had absolutely nothing to do with creationism, and certainly nothing to do with the Christian gospel. After all, that's what the defendants at Dover, as well as the Discovery Institute insist is the case. Perhaps you should try getting your stories straight before you start handing out books.

2:57 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: And we're working with Campus Crusade for Christ, Answers in Genesis, and the Alliance Defense Fund to get copies of Darwin's Origin of Species into the hands of this generation.

Or the tiny fraction of this generation who go to the top 50 schools and study biology and psychology.

3:06 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: And all we want to do is present the opposing, and correct view rather than being censored, which is exactly the case, at present.

It takes someone truly delusional to claim that allowing the two Hovinds (Kent and Eric) to present their views in videos which are freely available, allowing Ken Ham to operate a museum which is utterly devoid of substance, and allowing Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron to make a video which contains blatant falsehoods constitutes "censorship."

3:15 Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron: These students aren't stupid. They should be presented with both sides of the argument and allowed to make up their own minds, right?

Except that Former Child Actor Kirk Cameron, and his associate Ray Comfort have never presented their side of the argument. They, and every creationist I have ever seen, always construct a negative argument. Evolution is wrong, therefore creationism wins by default. This is, put simply, false, and it is a false dichotomy. They never present "both sides" of an argument. They attack one side of the argument and make the absurd leap that they've somehow supported their own.

They fail to recognize one very simple fact: disproving one position in no way constitutes any evidence whatsoever in support of another.

For some reason, creationists have a great deal of difficulty with this very simple concept.

The rest of the video is basically a request for donations.

Am I the only one who's always found it a little strange that God always seems to need money?