Friday, 20 January 2012

Where Creationists Get Confused.

Darwin's sketch of part of the tree of life
Creationists, either disingenuously, or because of genuine ignorance, seem to have missed the whole point of taxonomy, so they continually make idiotic mistakes which, even though they might imagine them to be valid arguments against evolution, are recognised by those who understand the subject as evidence only of their ignorance. And, with so much information readily and freely available, this ignorance can ONLY be either deliberate or feigned. No one remotely interested in the subject has any excuse for their level of ignorance.

The point of taxonomy is to classify all organisms into a hierarchical system of relationships starting at the lowest level and working up through various levels of increasingly close relationships, ending with recognised and defined sub-species and varieties. These classifications are as man-made as are the political boundaries on maps. Simply drawing a line on a map does nothing to the land either side of that line. The geology itself is completely unaware of the line and feels no compulsion to conform to it.

Species are defined in broadly utilitarian terms and often it's a matter of differing opinion about whether this population or that is actually a distinct species, a sub-species, or a variety, and sometimes it's not clear even into which genus a species should be placed. This is even more complicated with plants where hybridization, environmental variants and polyploid varieties are common, especially in some families.

But the point is that it is humans who make these 'rules' of classification and create the groups into which we fit individual species.

Additionally, the rules were originally devised to classify living species. Life was seen as a hierarchy forming a tree-like structure with living species forming the terminal twigs of branches which were themselves branches of main boughs, all branching off a main trunk. In reality, of course, this tree is still growing and has always been growing.

Moreover, many branches don't arise abruptly but gradually diverge from each other, as we can see from the many examples of ring species and clines, so that, if we were to cut a cross-section of branch at any point in its development at different times and tried to classify it, we would see different degrees of divergence, decreasing as we go back in time and increasing as we come forward so that it would become increasingly difficult and meaningless to force any branch into one of the modern classifications. The only solution might be to create a new species into which to place it or give it a sub-specific or varietal status of its own.

If we could visualise the entire tree of life, we would see divergence occurring followed sometimes by re-uniting in some branches, or even one branch meeting and fusing with a near-neighbour. This could happen if populations of a species become isolated for a while and begin to diverge into different races, then come back into contact and interbreed freely to form a single race again, as is happening with homo sapiens today.

So, not only is classification a man-made concept with rules to which nature was not party and feels no obligation to conform but it becomes even more meaningless when used to classify earlier forms of an evolving species. Nature does not read the rule book!

This is why we can laugh at creationists when they come out with such ignorant statements about micro- and macro-evolution and get so confused about classification of ancestral forms of modern species and the supposed lack of transitional forms between a pair of randomly chosen modern species which no one in their right minds would ever expect to see because no one in their right mind would ever imagine evolved into one or the other, or between an ancestral form given the status of a distinct species and a modern form given a different one.

Of course, we can understand those under-educated simpletons who get so confused about this aspect of biology because they simply lack the ability to think for themselves. What is unforgivable is those educated pseudo-creationists (how do they know what to lie about if they don't know the truth?) who make a handsome living out of maintaining this ignorance in their target victims and supplying them with the necessary misinformation with which to pretend to know as much about biology as those who actually do, without going to the trouble of learning any.

Even more unforgivable are those who assiduously maintain their own ignorance by refusing to read anything, like this blog, which might cause them to abandon their cherished beliefs, for these are the people who are quite deliberately and consciously fooling themselves into believing what they know to be false. These will be the ones who are constantly asking what they like to think are the 'killer knock-down' questions of biologists and who then ignore the answers and ask the same questions again next week. You only need to read their sanctimonious condescension and pretence to have greater knowledge than the scientists who spend years learning and researching the subject, to see what they are getting out of their intellectual dishonesty.

I wonder if they really believe they are fooling their imaginary god by being dishonest even with themselves. No one who believes they are being watched over by an omniscient god of truth and honesty who knows our very thoughts, could conceivably believe it is being fooled by dishonesty.  If this god really existed, it would be as ashamed of them as they should be of themselves.

I suppose the parasitic meme of theophobia can induce all sorts of strange irrationality in its sufferers. Once one sets off down the path of irrational belief, all manner of irrationality becomes possible, even essential, to maintain the delusion. Maybe we shouldn't expect anything better from it's victims.


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10 comments :

  1. Christians are taught at an early age to view fact that contradicts their blind faith as tests of that blind faith. Convenient for the true believer to ignore facts that prove their blind faith wrong or in error.

    Fossils? Devil is testing them or their God itself is testing them.

    Big Bang? Again, the Devil or their God itself testing them.

    What's so great about this answer is there's no facts in evidence required. All that is required is to keep believing no matter how much reality proves you're wrong or in error.

    Sad that Truth suffers so much pain inflicted needlessly by those who choose imaginary friends over real ones.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Creation Story in the Bible is a myth, hence, the Creation Myth. Just like any other ancient people who believe in the myth of their national deities, the ancient Hebrews tried to explained the beginning of the world through myth and they credited the whole process of creation to their deity, YHWH.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Creationists would be a little bit more scary if they actually understood biology and/or science. How many times have heard of the lack of transitional fossils, if man evolved from apes why are there apes still around, blah blah blah. I've been blocked on Wikipedia so many times for calling creationists idiots. Thanks for great posting. I linked to this blog on my blog (quoting your profusely), because I just had to make my own comments about creationism.

    http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/rosa-rubicondior-where-creationists-get-confused/

    That will probably cause your spam fighter place me into the spam world.

    ReplyDelete
  4. For less than $10, get the book and read it. A famous scientist out to DISPROVE God, ended up finding proof that he exists.
    Food for thought.

    http://www.amazon.com/Case-Christ-Journalists-Personal-Investigation/dp/0310209307

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe you would be kind enough to tell me in which peer-reviewed publication this scientist published his proof of a god, please.

      Can we take it that you have ignore the fact that some 97% of the American Academy of science are atheists because that fact doesn't suit your argument, where you find the opinion of just one scientist convincing?

      On the other hand, you could save yourself the bother, end atheism today, and tell the world where the incontrovertible evidence for a god, and for your god only, may be found, and why it can't be refuted,

      Or maybe you can't. If not, I'm sure the readers of this blog will have no difficulty in working out why.

      I wonder if your evident difficulty in that department is the reason for your highly selective and distorted appeal to authority... hmmm...

      Delete
    2. Rosa, you don't have to waste your precious $10 on that book. I have read it. I even had to study it in one of the science classes in faith schools.

      The problem with that author is simply that he does not care to read any respondence from famous, real prize-winning scientists. Just google the author, and I am sure you will find hundreds of pages explaining how distorted the author's view is and his fellow interviewees'. One of the interviewees even uses high school biology textbooks to prove what he calls ID(intelligent design) theory. What kind of scientists w/ ph.d have to look up high school textbooks? This man, J. Wells, was at Kansas evolution hearings. He was also at Kitzmiller trial, where judge, who has never been educated or raised in the manner of pro-evolution, himself denounced how maliciously ID activists are trying to hinder the very fabric of scientific ideas.

      Besides, this author, Lee Strobel, is not even a scientist. He's only a christian journalist, who wants to rationalize his wasted time in church.

      I'm sincerely sorry if someone was frustrated by my language.
      But really, do not waste a single cent on this book.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for your advice. It's amazing the 'authorities' to which creationists need to turn in the absence of real scientific support.

      Delete
    4. Even when they're out of so-called 'authorities' that actually exist, they just appeal to the one that doesn't.

      Delete
  5. Tree of life is a Biblical term that appears in the OT and NT. (Ezekial 47:12, Rev2:7)There is Ezekiel vision you allude to on another blog which highlights this.
    It alludes to Taxonomy that on its branches is meat(for eating).That it brings forth new fruit and that man is part of it.Not that I'm here to educate the ignorant who profess themselves to be wise whilst looking foolish.
    Morgan anonymous

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The 'Tree Of Life' is common in folklore and myths like Christianity, and pre-dates the Bible by many centuries. The Hebrews almost certainly plagiarised it from Egypt, as with much else of their plagiarised and derivative mythology. (See Wikipedia - Tree Of Life).

      Delete

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