Michael Shermer talks about his book, and why Darwin trumps ID:
Monthly Archives: April 2009
The above image is of the 1000 band stage of chromosome 2 of (from left to right): Man, Chimpanzee, Gorilla, and Orangutan.
Take a very close look at the similarities…homology in science lingo…between us and the other great apes. What you are looking at is genetic evidence in favor of evolution, evidence that would be compelling even without the overwhelming supporting evidence from paleantology, embryology, and a dozen other scientific fields. (It is of the type of evidence that gets criminals convicted in our courts.)
Here’s the thing…the image was first published as part of a paper in 1982.
In short, creationists, et al, have been closing their eyes and covering their ears for at least 27 years to evidence which they would otherwise readily accept as proof of someone’s guilt if presented in a court of law.
And this is just one chromosome. The authors of the paper (reference below) also stated: “Except for differences in nongenic constitutive heterochromatin, chromosomes 6, 13, 19, 21, 22 and X appear to be identical in all four species”
While we were living in Gainesville, FL, Pat and I attended a United Methodist Church there. Pat was a “social Christian” at the time…in it more to meet folks and enjoy the picnics than anything else, and I was a “closet atheist”…you know, the go along to get along type. I had allowed Pat to convince me that it would be good to “expose” John Michael, our son, to religion so he might be better prepared to make his own decisions on the subject when he was “old enough”. During this period never once did I express my doubts in front of John.
One sunny Sunday during the summer just before he turned eight, as was our practice Pat and I dropped John off at the church’s “Sunday School” next to the sanctuary so he could “learn” with kids his own age while we attended services.
After the service we walked next door to pick him up, only to be pulled aside by one of his “teachers”.
“John isn’t cooperating,” she reported.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, he seems disinterested, and won’t participate in our activities or answer questions,” she summarized.
We assured her we would talk to John, so as we walked to our car I said to him, “Miss Terri is upset that you’re not being very cooperative in class. What is going on?”
He looked up and without a second of hesitation asked, “Daddy, you don’t really believe all that stuff they talk about in there, do you?”
John Michael is seventeen now, and maybe the happiest I’ve seen him in a while was last weekend as he handed his copy of “The God Delusion” to Richard Dawkins for his autograph, and Dawkins glanced up at him and smiled back…undoubtedly pleased with his young fan.
Dawkins firmly believes that the indoctrination of young children into religion at vulnerable ages is tantamount to child abuse. At least for this one time, I could sense him thinking, the tantamount had been slain.
How’s PBO doing so far? One fella’s assessment…
- Cuban Thaw – We engaged the Soviets and the Chinese politically, culturally, and economically. In the end, that has turned out to be a good decision. So why not Cuba? Things can’t get worse.
- Pirate Takedown – Totally the correct call, in spite of some leftist media whining. Now…does he have the intestinal fortitude to complete the job?
So Left it’s Really Wrong:
- Bailout – Free markets can only work when you give them a chance. Using bailout money to control the inner workings of here-to-fore private companies can be explained in just one word…Fascism.
- Stimulus – Cannot work for any number of basic economic reasons, the two most important ones being:
o Government spending saps economic growth, it never increases it, and
o You can neither borrow, tax, nor spend your way out of debt.
- National Health Care – The problem is affordability, not availability. (And that does not include the roughly 25% of all uninsured who have chosen to spend their money on other things who could otherwise afford coverage.) The two Federal Healthcare programs today are a nightmare…Medicare is beset by $40-$60 BILLION dollars a year in fraud and waste and is facing a multi-TRILLION dollar shortfall, and the VA is just plain incompetent and kills people. Do we really want the British/French model of triage healthcare?
- North Korea and Iran – All we had to do was to go to our adversaries hat-in-hand and let them know that we were sorry for our past arrogance and would from now on deal with them as well-intentioned equals, or so said candidate and novice President Obama. Just how’s that working out for you, eh Sparky?
- No Tax Increase on “Bottom 95%” of Americans – The only thing he didn’t say was “read my lips”, but it took him just over thirty days to break his promise and screw over the very fools who voted for him by tripling the cigarette tax. The only thing worse, he’s still going around and repeating the same lie as if it never happened. Up is down, night is day, so says big brother Barry.
- Ignoring the FairTax – PBO says he wants a simpler, more fair tax code, except he wants to soak the evil rich while 50% of the American people not only pay no taxes, but most of them qualify for “tax rebates”. Huh? Instead of the ten TRILLION dollar liability he has racked up in his first 90 days, most of which is payoffs to supporters and will do nothing to right the economy, he could have solved the economic mess plus the future train wrecks in Medicare and Social Security by getting behind the FairTax.
I wrote several times, beginning during the Democratic Primary, that this fellow was quite obviously an empty suit, but the American people fell for “Change” hook, line, and sinker; never bothering to ask exactly what “Change” meant.
H.L. Mencken once wrote, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”
Bend over and grab your ankles, suckers.
John Michael and I have returned from the American Atheist Convention in Atlanta. The Convention was exciting and informative in and of itself, and JMS and I got to do a few fun things in addition to cavorting with the godless.
On Friday we did CNN, which may have been John’s favorite part of the whole trip.
Satuday, we spent over an hour on the campus of Emory University, which John has identified as a “definite maybe”. (The picture above is John Michael with the statue of Dooley, the student body’s unofficial mascot.)
Saturday evening we had dinner with my daughter, John’s half-sister, Katie and my soon-to-be son-in-law James. (Does that make him John’s half-brother-in-law?) A December wedding is in the works.
But of course the big news was the Convention, and following are a few notes on what I felt were the highlights:
- Probably the single most informative session was the presentation by Dr. J. Anderson Thompson, a psychiatrist, who described the latest research in the area of the neuropsychology of religion. Greatly distilled down, the findings support the claims of evolutionists who have described religion as a highjacking of some of our earliest survival and hierarchial learned behaviors. His talk requires a seperate blog, and I will work on that soon;
- Richard Dawkins was at his best; humorous, gracious, and commanding in both language and detail. John and I got our books signed and deprecating reply when I thanked him for all he has done for the causes of science and reason; and
- The emotional highlight was a talk by Nate Phelps, estranged son of uber-hate monger and Baptist preacher Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Nate described the beatings, physical and psychological, that were and are a regular part of Pastor Fred’s personal style of family relations, as well as his increasingly irratioanal ranting against and hatred for all that are not part of his own little cult. Nate is working on a book, which should prove an incredible read once published.
Daughter Kate – a moderately devout Catholic, asked if I thought it was a good idea to expose John Michael to a meeting such as this.
Yes Sweetpea, I believe it was a damned good idea. I’m only sorry you couldn’t see fit to attend too.
John Michael is going with me, most excited by the opportunity to hear and meet Richard Dawkins, who will speak on Saturday and do a book-signing. I’m getting my copy of “The Ancestor’s Tale” signed – a marvelous journey back through time and evolution – and John has opted to get Dawkin’s signature on a copy of “The God Delusion”.
Also appearing, among others, will be Nate Phelps – estranged son of uber-crazy anti-gay wingnut Fred Phelps, and Brother Harry Hardwick of the infamous Landover Baptist Church. (www.landoverbaptist.com)
Lest you fear our entire weekend will be spent wallowing in heathenism, you can relax. On Saturday we will be having dinner with daughter Kate and her betrothed, who are driving over from Birmingham, and on Sunday we will visit Emory University, one of the schools John is considering attending.
I will try to keep y’all posted on how it goes.
Yesterday the Federal Reserve reported that Americans had reduced their borrowing month over month by 3.5%, while at the same time increasing their savings. This, of course, in response to the fiscal maelstrom swirling around us and its resultant recession.