Lunacy from a racist “Christian”

As much as I despise Ben Stine for making that idiotic Expelled movie that attacks evolution as an inspiration for the Nazi Holocaust and portrays Intelligent Design promoters as martyrs, what’s even worse is when some deranged psycho slams Stine himself for attacking racism as well. I think I’ll just copy and paste the entire piece of nonsense to show what was done. I hope you have your bathroom door open, in case you feel like puking!

http://tarobb.blogspot.com/2008/04/trap-is-set.html

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An Evolutionary View of Religion

Considering that most of the opposition to evolution is based on religious bias, it is ironic that evolutionary concepts are most useful for explaining the history of religion. It is common knowledge, for example, that Christianity evolved from Judaism, Buddhism evolved from Hinduism, the Baha’i Faith evolved from Islam, and that Christianity has diversified into hundreds of sects including Roman Catholicism, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Russian Orthodox Church, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Thus religions themselves illustrate the concepts of common ancestry, mutation, and adaptive radiation as well as mass extinctions (many pagan religions died out as Christianity and Islam expanded, leaving behind “fossils” in the form of published records that are today dismissed as “myths”).

And now I wish to dispel one of the most common misconceptions about evolution: That because humans evolved from ape-like animals, that humans are by nature superior to their ape cousins. And that evolution is a ladder of progress in which all decendants are by nature superior to their ancestors. It is ludicrious to suggest that fish are inferior to mammals. Both fish and mammals are animals well adapted to their environments. If they were not, they’d become extinct. Most fish cannot breath air and thus cannot survive out of water, but the reverse is true of most mammals, which would die if they could not breath air. So from a fish’s point of view, a mammal must seem inferior, even the whales, which must also rely on their lungs to breath, not gills. Evolution is all about change, not progress. A fish is merely different from a mammal, period.

Likewise, Judaism is different from Christianity. There is no reason for Christians to think themselves or their faith superior to the Jewish faith, except by their own arrogance. Judaism has been in existence longer than Christianity, but it has also evolved just as Christianity has. For a Christian to convert to Judaism is not to take a “backward step”, merely to adopt a different set of teachings.

Thus, I totally reject the Baha’i concept of “Progressive Revelation” that implies that the Baha’i Faith is the supreme religion because it came after all the others, and that other religions are valid but destined to be replaced by the Baha’i Faith. Must we assume that because mammals came later than fish, they are destined to replace all fish? NO, that is nonsense! In my view all religions must be seen as equal because all of them have evolved and adapted to their environment. Until this is understood by nearly everyone, wars and discrimination based on religious bigotry will remain a serious threat.

A critical test of common descent (evolution)

While there are ways to experimentally test the process of evolution, known as natural selection, by mimicking it artificially, ways to test the historical issue of evolution, known as common descent, must rely on making observations and making predictions of the outcome of those observations.Inside the cells of all Eukaryota (plants, animals, fungi, and protists) are organelles called mitochondria. Likewise, inside the cells of plants are organelles called chloroplasts. Both mitochondria and chloroplasts have their own DNA and are thought to be descended from bacteria that took up residence inside the larger cells. In any case, the DNA in those organelles are completely different from the DNA in the nuclei of those same cells.

We can take the DNA of cell nuclei and check them to see if the differences between those of various organisms can enable us for build a family tree of those organisms. The more similar their nuclear DNA is, the more closely related they are. But since mitochondria and chloroplasts also have DNA, we could also take them and check to see if we could build up a family tree that is the same as the one we would build up with the nuclear DNA.

Indeed, there is no reason, if all life was produced by a single recent act of creation, for the DNA of the mitochondria of all animals to be significantly different from each other. So if I was a Creationist, especially of the young Earth kind, I would predict that it would be impossible to make a family tree from mitochondria DNA, or if I did, it would be completely different from the nuclear DNA. But if I was testing the theory of common decent, I would predict that the readings in animals of both their nuclear and mitochondrial DNA would produce the SAME FAMILY TREE in all cases! This would make perfect sense if the mitochondria and the rest of the cells have been evolving together ever since they first came together over a billion years ago.

Mitochondrial DNA is already used in forensics to determine who the mother of a child is, while nuclear DNA must be used to determine the father of that same child. This would only be an extension of that function, since the parents of the child must be of the same species, or at least very closely related, to even produce offspring at all.

A Real Skeptic vs. a Denialist

A skeptic is defined as someone who reserves judgement on an issue until enough evidence is found to support a claim beyond a reasonable doubt and also clearly defines what would make him disbelieve a claim. This is scientific thinking.

By contrast, a denialist has no such defined limits, either of belief or disbelief. The denialist starts from a position of dogma, asserting opposition to an idea by presenting a contrary idea as absolute truth and interpreting all evidence according to that unalterable dogma, rather than draw conclusions based only on the evidence. This is the opposite of scientific thinking, although denialists often use scientific terminology to make their positions seem legitimate to fool the ignorant.

Denialism vs geuine skepticism is found in debates over evolution vs. Creationism, global warming, religion, and politics. If there were no denialists, most of those debates would have either ended long ago, or would be a lot more cordial than they tend to be.

Why the term “species” should be abolished

The term “species” has a clear definition in biology: a group of organisms that breed only among themselves and do not breed with members of any other group. Thus, as far as we can tell, humans are all members of the same species, Homo sapiens. 

The lesser black backed gull and the herring gull of Britain, however, act like separate species, yet are connected to each other by a ring of subspecies that extend all around the Northern Hemisphere and can interbreed with their neighbors. So in the sense I stated above, the definition of species breaks down.

The issue of species also fails when asexual life forms are considered, including bacteria, most protists, a few populations of beetles, a population of lizards, and an entire class of rotifers called Bdelloidea. The lizards, beetles and rotifers in question are all females, while among the single celled organisms the issue of gender identity is meaningless.

Suppose we have a population of 400 asexually reproducing lizards which are genetically and physically almost identical. One at a glance would assume they are members of the same species. But because the lizards do not swap genes via sexual reproduction, they would just as well be considered 400 separate species.

The issue of “species” becomes meaningless when one considers extinct organisms that are dug up as fossils. Fossils cannot breed among themselves and so the designation of certain fossils as Homo hablis, Homo egaster, and Homo sapiens is entirely arbitrary, based on the structure of the fossils and nothing more. The same is true of all other organisms in the fossil record, including dinosaurs.

I would therefore argue that the term “species” is really useless and should be abolished completely, because it is a source of unnecessary confusion.