The pet peeve to end all pet peeves.

"But what was there BEFORE the big bang?"

This sentence is very probably the most ignorant and stupid question a creationist can ever ask me. First off I can retaliate with “What was there before God?” and that’s possibly the best way to answer it. It may turn out that the big bang theory wasn’t correct but it is a lot more probable than the hypothesis that some sentient being made the universe.

My second great problem with it is there was no “before the big bang”. Time and space cannot exist independently of one another, this is why it’s called space-time. As soon as space began so did time. There was no time before the big bang and therefore no before! The idea that there was a before is really just an illusion brought about by human perception.

Discovery Rocks Creationists’ Claim That Humans Lived with Dinosaur

Ancient images that creationists claim are evidence of humans living alongside dinosaurs are at best just smeared pictures, scientists find.At the site of Kachina Bridge in Utah — an immense sandstone formation resembling an arch more than 200 feet (60 meters) high and wide that was formed by the undercutting of a rock wall by flowing water  — prehistoric cultures decorated the  walls with paintings and engravings known as petroglyphs. Among them are what young-earth Earth creationists, who believe all life was created on the same day about 6,000 years ago, have said are depictions of dinosaurs, claiming these images as proof of their beliefs. [Scientists Hunt for Signs of Earth’s Earliest Life]Now, closer investigation reveals these ideas are just wishful thinking.

Read full article.

Discovery Rocks Creationists’ Claim That Humans Lived with Dinosaur

Ancient images that creationists claim are evidence of humans living alongside dinosaurs are at best just smeared pictures, scientists find.

At the site of Kachina Bridge in Utah — an immense sandstone formation resembling an arch more than 200 feet (60 meters) high and wide that was formed by the undercutting of a rock wall by flowing water — prehistoric cultures decorated the walls with paintings and engravings known as petroglyphs. Among them are what young-earth Earth creationists, who believe all life was created on the same day about 6,000 years ago, have said are depictions of dinosaurs, claiming these images as proof of their beliefs. [Scientists Hunt for Signs of Earth’s Earliest Life]

Now, closer investigation reveals these ideas are just wishful thinking.

Read full article.

Evolution in schools.

an-ominous-atheist:

the3nails:

I personally believe evolution should not be taught in schools because of the immense amount of evidence suggesting that evolution is false.

Oh really? What evidence is that? Or are you just mindlessly repeating what other mindless Creationists that don’t know what evidence is (or even what evolution is) tell you?

In fact, why don’t you explain evolution to me before providing me with this evidence that it is false.

I just found out that a teacher at my old school said that church is single minded and wrong. This seems pretty ignorant of him. What evidence does he have to provide that church and creationism are wrong? Even Darwin acknowledged that there is proof discrediting evolution. “There is another and allied difficulty, which is much more serious. I allude to the manner in which species belonging to several of the main divisions of the animal kingdom suddenly appear in the lowest known fossiliferous rocks.” (Darwin, The Origin of Species, p. 348). To me this ‘appearing’ sounds more like ‘creating’. Darwin had hoped that future science would be able to account for this finding, but this did not happen. “Evolutionary biology’s deepest paradox concerns this strange discontinuity. Why haven’t new animal body plans continued to crawl out of the evolutionary cauldron during the past hundreds of millions of years? Why are the ancient body plans so stable?” (Jeffrey S. Levinton, “The Big Bang of Animal Evolution,” Scientific American, Vol. 267, November 1992, p. 84). So if evolution is the way to go then where did the fossils found in the Cambrian strata evolve from? And if you cannot provide that answer (which science has yet to do) then why on earth is evolution being taught in public schools yet creationism is deemed wrong? Because the alternative to evolution is creationism and for some reason or another evolutionists can’t be bothered to believe in God.

 THERE IS NO VALID EVIDENCE DISCREDITING EVOLUTION, IF THERE WAS WE WOULDN’T BELIEVE IN EVOLUTION AS A SINGLE THING DISCREDITS THE ENTIRE THING.

As for why the animals suddenly appear in the fossil record, well this makes sense when you consider how fossils form, by replacing hard body parts with minerals which then form casts as the organic material decays away. However with basic non-hard shelled animals the process is too quick for the replacement of hard tissue by minerals. That and organisms before this point would have been quite small. As I believe there are also up to this point small casts left by organisms, but not very many and not particularly good. At any rate the fact is that even if they were magically created it wasn’t in the genesis way as obviously there aren’t in humans in the fossil record before a certain point.

And I think Jeffery S. Levinton there doesn’t quite  even come close to understanding evolutionary biology. Evolution in fact does not predict the arrival of bizarre new alien body plans, especially over the short period of time implied in that quote. The fact is all the skeletal and in fact all systems found repetitively in biology and there because they work pretty well and because a complete overhaul of structure is something so nonsensical that it shouldn’t even be contemplated. Evolution is gradual, if there’s no selection pressure that supports for a change, it will not happen. In most organisms there is no pressing need for a severe structural overhaul and there most likely never will be. Coincidently I find it hard to believe that a God would have so very little imagination in his design of vertebrates and especially mammals. I also don’t understand why he’d make the air and food tracts the same narrow tube, or why we’d have appendixes or vestigial eyelids and I especially don’t understand the recursive laryngeal nerve which in giraffes by passes the larynx by about 4 cms before going about 15 feet down the neck around an artery and back up to the larynx. All of this makes perfect sense if you simply look at how we had to evolve with out making catastrophic changes to body plans. If you make one rapid sizable change, you have to change something else to fix that problem, and then maybe you have to make another, and another and so on indefinitely. The chances of genetic mutations that support so many structural and biochemical changes in organisms without fucking it up completely is so rare that it’s not even worth considering. It would effectively be instant speciation.

AS FOR GAPS IN THE FOSSIL RECORD. THESE SHOULD BE EXPECTED FOR THE SHEER RARITY OF FOSSILS. Fossils have to be created under quite rare circumstances and soft tissue is remarkably hard to find.

Now riddle me this? If God is so omniscient and perfect, then why did he bother making organisms that just went extinct? Or why make animals that have imperfections that cannot be fixed due to severity? Or why make 99% of genetic material “junk” that doesn’t code for any protein? Why make everything effectively the same?

Honestly, everything in biology makes perfect sense when you look at it with evolution. I challenge you to find something that truly and utterly or even slightly discredits evolution.

Wow, holy crap, that was a rant. Inb4 someone complains about it not making sense. I am not going to reread all that, if you don’t understand it I encourage you to conduct research on the ideas I brought up! yay!

(via skunkitty)

Thermodynamics > God

1st Law paraphrased: energy cannot be created or destroyed. But then God goes and creates all energy. Which means he doesn’t obey the laws of physics. Ergo he cannot exist in our universe by physical laws. Which means he must exist outside of our universe. However our universe is an isolated system, which means that energy and matter cannot move in or out of this universe. More specifically, neither can information such as prayers. This means that even if God does exist, he cannot exist in this universe nor have any effect over it.

I think anyways.

Observing evolution.

It’s been awhile since I posted an example of just how good a theory evolution is, but here it is. Between 1947 and 1976 the General Electric company was pouring dioxins and PCBs into the Hudson river. Naturally this affected the wildlife in the area, especially seeing as these toxins accumulated in the benthic area (or the river bottom to non-ecologists), this shortened the life span of Tom cod from 7 years down to just about 1 year with older fish showing tumors. However of these fish a few individuals carried a mutation which caused them to be resistant to these toxins. This mutation in the gene that codes for aryl hydrocarbon receptor 2 (AHR2 as we shall call it) means that these toxins cannot bind to the receptor and are thus not taken into the nucleus (not a good place for mutagens). In the Hudson river 99% of tom cod have this mutation in their genes, whilst in other non (or less) polluted rivers only about 10 percent of the tom cod population show this gene.

Observing Evolution

You may argue that the following is not actual evolution because it was essentially set up (even though I think traditional artificial selection outlines it perfectly) but there really wasn’t much in the way of human interference here.

Endler’s guppies.

This is really a great experiment showing how a few simple factors in an environment can alter the physiology of an organism. In this experiment a man named John Endler set up populations of guppies in ponds where each pond had a variable (except for the control obviously). The variables in this were levels of predation and the type of pebbles used on the pond floor. The results were quite conclusive. Here’s a diagram outlining essentially what happened:

As you can see basically what we thought would happen under the rules of natural selection happened. Guppies evolved to be more camouflaged relative to their environment… In less than 15 generations. Another experiment was conducted afterwards that gave the exact opposite products, the only difference? A lack of predation. In this case sexual selection favored guppies that were more obvious. Again this is exactly what would be expected under natural selection.

Observing Evolution

Podarcis sicula

One of the best examples of how rapid evolution can occur is found in the lizards located on two islands in the Adriatic sea. On two of these islands, Pod Kopiste and Pod Mrcaru you will find the same species of lizard: Podarcis sicula. However the difference between these two populations is somewhat remarkable given that the lizards were only introduced to Pod Mrcaru in 1971. 36 years later in 2007 scientists traveled back to see what had changed and were astounded to see that the head had entirely changed shape and generally grown largely to accomodate a larger bite force suited for a new diet. On Pod Kopiste (Where the original population of lizards is located) their diet was mainly based around insects while on Pod Mrcaru 2/3s of the lizard’s diets was plant material. The other really shocking thing is that the lizards of Pod Mrcaru had evolved Cecal valves. Cecal valves are used to slow down food from moving through the gut to give bacteria in the cecal valves time to break down the cellulose. Note that these were completely lacking in the original Pod Kopiste population and are in fact only found in 1% of all lizard species.

To reiterate, this all occurred over a period of just 36 years so really there is absolutely no way you can argue that there just isn’t enough time for a single celled organism to evolve into a complex human. Unless you doubt the age of the universe, then you’re just an idiot.

Observing Evolution

Mostly it’s believed that evolution is simply too slow to be seen and for the most part it is, however some times it can be surprisingly rapid. I find it funny that people can deny something that is both theoretically sound and fits in perfectly with what we can test and something that is in itself testable and can be observed directly. So here is one example of rapid evolution. I’ll be posting more later.

Biston betularia (the Peppered moth)

Possibly the most well known of examples of rapid evolution, Biston betularia is a great way to illustrate both the power of natural selection and also the effects of humanity on the rest of nature. In the pictures above we have two members of B. betularia although obviously the one on the right is lighter than the one on the left. The one on the left I would like you to think of as “before” and the one on the right as “after”. The event that caused this dramatic change in coloration is the industrial revolution. Before the industrial revolution the peppered moths speckled color was quite good at camouflaging it against lichens and tree bark, however once the industrial revolution started doing it’s thing the pollution killed off said lichens and soot blackened the trees. This meant that the black individuals were better suited to hiding from predators than the peppered variety and therefore they were selected for. Obviously there are still a mix of both as the allele for the peppered variety has not yet been removed from the gene pool.

The Genetic Evidence for Evolution

So I accidentally deleted the first copy of this so I’m having to write it out again. This has been an absolute mission, I hope you appreciate it.

Chromosome 2.
The 2nd chromosome is a prime example of how humans have evolved from apes (not to be confused with any specific modern day examples). Human beings have a set of 23 chromosomes while all other members of hominidae have 24. This is because the second chromosome in humans is the product of fusion between two ape chromosomes. We can tell this because the order of genes on chromosome 2 correlates almost perfectly to that between two chimp chromosomes end on end. We can also observe that the 2nd chromosome has two vestigial centromeres and 2 vestigial sets of telomeres (center and end respectively).

Aside from pointing out our obvious kinship to other apes, it’s essentially another example of unintelligent design. Why would God do this? What reason does it have? Perhaps you would argue that it’s there to test your faith, but I really think that this is less testing your faith and more God trying to get away from you guys and hiding this tracks.

Pseudogenes
Also known as junk DNA, the presence of pseudogenes has to be the greatest example of unintelligent design and a way to date organisms internally and not by using external cues. I mentioned in an earlier post that humans had around 3 billion bp, the number of genes is considerably lower, estimates have put it probably most accurately at around 30,000 (Only 1/3 more than a round worm for those who hold humans in such high esteem) although the number is vastly inaccurate. The fact is, about 1% of base pairs actually code for a protein. The remaining 99% is quite honestly, junk. So why would a God install all this useless information? A human being could function without it or in fact any organism could and a lot more efficiently too (note the only way for natural selection to get rid of genes is through deletion via mutation, it’s not as easy as organisms who have less pseudogenes are more likely to procreate). The thing is, pseudogenes are the result of a colossal amount of mutation to genes that code for proteins that we no longer need, thus they become completely useless. They also serve the purpose of a clock as I mentioned before, by observing the amount of mutations that have occurred at a specific spot on two organisms and factoring in the rate of mutation we can tell how long since they split from their common ancestor.

Genetic Similarities
The most obvious example of genes support evolution is the fact that every living thing is made up of DNA (Viruses do not count as living) and that this DNA is all remarkably similar. Organisms that look similar tend to have similar DNA (not including the notable example of hyraxes). Also certain proteins are present in organisms that need it and not in organisms that don’t. The amount of climate change and geological change that causes speciation is so great that God would have to be spending just about 24/7 correcting Organisms and refining them to suit the new environments that nature throws at them. But you know what suits that model a lot better without having to invoke something there is no scientific evidence for? Natural selection. And sometimes proteins vary, as would be expected considering natural selection’s mechanism of random mutations (Natural selection itself is not random at all, but the mutations are). A notable example of this is cytochrome C. Cytochrome C is found in most, if not ALL, living things and preforms basic tasks required for life.

Cytochrome C averages around 100 amino acids, however some organisms have up to 104. Chickens and turkeys have identical structures, as do humans and chimps, however between these two sets the structure is different. So why would God make so many different types of Cytochrome C if it’s all going to do the exact same thing? It’s just stupid. It would be like me being an artist and painting pictures, but every so often I’d swap one colour for another, say dark green for bright pink. It would still be a painting, but it wouldn’t make sense. It’d be like abstract art or something.

An argument for evolution

The genetic evidence that supports evolution is overwhelming and I’m somewhat shocked that the fossil record and vestigial features (although both being good) and dragged out long before genetics. I can only blame this on these two examples being more easy to understand. I’m probably going to include several pieces of genetically based evidence in this part but first I want to run through a simple argument.

If you believe in genes then you have to believe in mutations, these are observable features, otherwise we wouldn’t have any genetic variation between people (note genetic, other things can cause variation that are based off the expression of genes). Now think of the genome as a book where each letter and piece of punctuation is a base pair (adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine to jog your memory), now imagine someone asks you to copy this book out in full (for arguments sake we’ll use the 3 billion base pairs in the human genome). Obviously you’re going to make mistakes like doubling a word somewhere or missing a word or anything really. Now imagine having to copy this book out millions of times throughout your life. Now you have to agree that genes code for proteins and that mutations can change the shape of proteins and the amino acid sequence subsequently. Now some proteins are enzymes, so now these enzymes have different shapes, which may make them completely useless for the job they’re meant to do, but could mean that they can speed up the reaction or even open up a new metabolic pathway some where else. This could give an individual an advantage (but usually not) over another individual and allow them to survive and breed more or at all. This is evolution.

Hmm, this is actually kinda long just on itself, so I might post the actual evidence in another separate post in order to give it all throughly.

More Evidence for Evolution

This one is another part of unintelligent design and while not mentioned in The Greatest Show on Earth (read it and thank you Anna) is still fairly well known.

The Design of the Windpipe.

 This is just another thing that I find funny when people think that we’re based in God’s image (Is that even true though? It’s been awhile since I read genesis). I mean, do you think God does the same things we do? Does he for example splutter and gag and choke on food? I mean just think about this, our mouths lend down our throat and either to our stomach or to our lungs. One place we want solids in, the other place we specifically do not want solids. I mean what sort of stupid design is that? I would make a better creator than God. Or maybe he really did make it all in 7 days, I wouldn’t be surprised because the entire thing seems like some last minute rushed project for a science fair. By God, I should start a new religion. Honestly, it’s a terrible design, in fact most things are a terrible design and there’s a whole bunch of examples if you just google it so I won’t waste time on them all, but I think this one is a big one considering how many people die of choking. The fact is no sane designed would do this, especially an omniscient one, but it makes sense when you consider it under the light of evolution, it’s simply too difficult to change and would make far too many problems. Imagine a child being born that has a separate tube for eating, it would also need another opening and some way to keep that clean and healthy.