Wonder What Texas Governor Rick Perry Would Say About the Discovery of 3.4 Billion Year Old Fossils?

|

The New York Times reports on the front page that researchers are claiming to have discovered fossilized single-cell organisms that are 3.4 billion years old. As the Times notes

Their assertion, if sustained, confirms the view that life evolved on earth surprisingly soon after the Late Heavy Bombardment, a reign of destruction in which waves of asteroids slammed into the primitive planet, heating the surface to molten rock and boiling the oceans into an incandescent mist. The bombardment, which ended around 3.85 billion years ago, would have sterilized the earth's surface of any incipient life….

The new microfossils are described in Sunday's issue ofNature Geoscience by a team led by David Wacey of the University of Western Australia and Martin D. Brasier of the University of Oxford. The fossils were found in sandstone at the base of the Strelley Pool rock formation in Western Australia.

The sandstone, 3.4 billion years ago, was a beach on one of the few islands that had started to appear above the ocean's surface. Conditions were very different from those of today. The moon orbited far closer to earth, raising huge tides. The atmosphere was full of methane, since plants had not yet evolved to provide oxygen, and greenhouse warming from the methane had heated the oceans to the temperature of a hot bath.

It was in these conditions, the geologists believe, that organisms resembling today's bacteria lived in the crevices between the pebbles on the beach. Examining thin slices of rock under the microscope, they have found structures that look like living cells, some in clusters that seem to show cell division.

Hmmm. Is this just another snare and delusion created by the Devil to tempt gullible humans into trusting "science" over the inerrant Bibie? Would-be Republican presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry may think so. The governor has evidently been an enthusiatic backer of creationist pseudo-science. The Texas Freedom Network has a collection of Perry's comments on the subject. Here are a couple of relevant quotations from the governor: 

Recognizing that evolution is a theory, and not claimed by anyone to be more than that, the governor believes it would be a disservice to our children to teach them only one theory on the origin of our existence without recognizing other scientific theories worth consideration. Intelligent design is a concept that is gaining greater traction because it points to a notion that most people believe to be true: that we were created by an intelligent being who designed the human race with great detail and complexity. . . . 

And

"I am a firm believer in intelligent design as a matter of faith and intellect, and I believe it should be presented in schools along with theories of evolution." 

I include below a nice YouTube mash-up of my debate presentation, "Intelligent Design By Super-Intelligent Purple Space Squids," with creationists from the Discovery Institute at Freedomfest a couple of years back. 

Advertisement

NEXT: Do You Suffer From Akrasia?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. What’s amazing to me is how quickly life forms in what seems to be inhospitable conditions. While Earth may be an anomaly, I think it likely that life is common throughout the universe. In fact, I’d be surprised if there isn’t life on multiple worlds in the solar system.

      1. It’s entirely possible that life on Earth started somewhere else, too. Crazy stuff.

        1. Mitt Romney?

          1. He’s not alive.

            1. He’s alive, in the same way an automaton is alive.

              1. Romneybot V2.0

            2. Johnny 5 is alive.

      2. This is what I get for a night of romance – his ejecta.

    1. In fact, I’d be surprised if there isn’t life on multiple worlds in the solar system.

      Me too…but it took 4 billion years of evolution to get Humans.

      Sentient life is probably far more rare.

      1. Even among humans.

    2. The conditions for the development of simple life may be quite common in the universe, but the conditions that led to the development of complex life forms may be relatively unique to the Earth, i.e. a terrestrial world within the liquid water zone with an active magnetic core.

      1. relatively unique to the Earth rare

        1. On the galactic scale it is probably unique…on the universe scale it might not be.

          sooo yeah relatively

      2. Even reasonably “common”, distances are so vast and timespans so long that I subscribe to the Carl Sagan view: No two civilizations will ever cross paths or exist in proximity at the same time.

  2. You gotta fight… for your right… to go topless!
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..Beach.html

    1. Let me be clear.

      In a spirit of compromise, I hereby require all men and women to expose one of their breasts.

      Of course, I grant waivers to people without breasts.

      1. What about people with ten breasts, like Barney Frank?

        1. He most expose five, alternating between the columns, left, right, left, right, then left. And 3 inches of gunt must ride above his belt.

          1. aw cmon…. i’m eating

            1. I wouldn’t suggest eating Barney Frank’s gunt, but to each his own. Good luck to you, sir.

        2. I dated a girl once with three nipples. The third one was under her breast — on the milk line — and looked like a mole. It was erectile tissue and would stiffen when licked.

    2. So awesome that they included the guys showing their solidarity.

    3. Uggggh. Fugly honkey bitches with goblin faces and nasty drooping breasts. At least they keep their heinous sausage nipples covered..

      I’ve seen [actual!] topless women at many beaches in the US, Californians are just stupid ugly attention whores.

      1. I thought some of the jiggly bits were worth a second look.

      2. They can’t all look like the girls in your porn videos.

        1. The girls in my porn videos are actually girls, and occasionally boys, not women. Age spoils the experience for me.

          1. Hmmm… did somebody call for a Creepy Confession Monday and I missed it?

            1. Some loser spoofed me, yo.

    4. I do not think it is a women’s constitutional right to go topless…

      It is men’s constitutional right for women to go topless.

    5. Who’s the guy in the sunglasses and long hair?

  3. This is getting to be some tiresome schtick. Is Perry the only non-atheist running for president?

    1. A big majority of believers worldwide accept the theory of evolution and the Darwinian principle of natural selection and view the creation tale of Adam and Eve as only a moral tale.

      Creationists are mostly concentrated among a large minority of American Christians (and a smaller minority of Jews).

      Beyond the borders of this great land literal belief in the book of Genesis is the province of a tiny number of people.

      Of course the vast majority of christians world wide are also socialists or social democrats and justify their advocacy of the welfare state using biblical teachings. It is only in America that you find a large minority of christians who claim to believe in capitalism; mind you when you scratch below the surface you’ll find tha most of them don’t.

      1. Islam isn’t creationist-based? That’s interesting.

        1. I meant Christian believers, my bad.

          Hordes of educated muslims accept Darwinian theory as well though.

        2. IIRC, the Islamic creation simply features God speaking the word “Be” and everything that ever was, ever is, and ever will be sprang into existence in the same instant. This account can sit pretty harmoniously with just about any scientific theory of the origin of the universe, life, etc., since the story is basically “unfalsifiable” in the Popper sense.

      2. and view the creation tale of Adam and Eve as only a moral tale.

        The catholic church disagrees with you and sees no conflict with evolution and genesis.

        1. I’m not sure what you’re saying.

          The Catholic Church teaches that there is no conflict between evolution and the idea that creation has a divine origin.

          You pretty much have to read Genesis as a moral tale for that to work.

          1. You pretty much have to read Genesis as a moral tale for that to work.

            then go argue with the Catholics.

            They also believe three gods = one god so there is that.

            Anyway it is a huge chunk of Christendom and it completely contradicts your statment:

            view the creation tale of Adam and Eve as only a moral tale.

            I think they get around the conflict by saying that 7 days for god is not 7 days for people. like 7 days could be billions of years and shit.

            1. My main point is that the Catholic church, and by extension catholics in general*, have no quibble with Darwinian theory.

              How you think they read Genesis is not that germaine. I cannot imagine OK-ing evolution while reading Genesis as literal truth.

              *Although I have heard some American catholics espouse a more literal creationist approach.

            2. I think they get around the conflict by saying that 7 days for god is not 7 days for people. like 7 days could be billions of years and shit.

              I’m fairly sure a fair number of creationists that do that too, just as not all creationists are “young earthers”.

              I deal with that below.

              1. gunnels – is that you?

            3. The Roman Catholic Church is cool with evolution, as long as you also believe that evolution is, for lack of a better term, the unfolding of God’s plan.

              It is not taught that the story of Adam and Eve is literally true. Christian/Catholic thinkers have argued for a possible non-literal interpretation of Genesis at least as far back as St. Augustine.

              They also believe three gods = one god so there is that.

              No. That’s not what Catholics believe the Trinity means. No one is really sure what the Trinity means, and I won’t participate in that can of worms, but it’s agreed that it’s not “three gods.”

  4. Recognizing that gravity is a theory, and not claimed by anyone to be more than that, the governor believes it would be a disservice to our children to teach them only one theory on the interaction governing the movements of bodies with mass without recognizing other scientific theories worth consideration. Jesus magnets is a concept that is gaining greater traction because it points to a notion that most people believe to be true: that the Lord wants us to stay on the ground.

    1. It’s all just tiny vibrating 10 dimensional strings. Really.

      No?

    2. People speak of the “Law of Gravity”. Does anyone ever say the “Law of Evolution”?

      Governor GoodHair is right about that point.

      1. That’s because they’re using “law of gravity” incorrectly, though. The most accurate and accepted “description” of gravity is the (gasp) general theory of relativity. Remember, it is only a theory that the Earth orbits the sun. It is not a fact in any scientific sense.

      2. Newton’s “Law of universal gravitation”* has enough flaws in it where it’s far less accurate than the theory of gravity described by the general theory of relativity. It doesn’t accurately explain the precession of the perihelion of planetary orbits and is way off on the predicted deflection of light rays.

        * Which is more accurately a theory.

        1. I repeat:

          People speak of the “Law of Gravity”. Does anyone ever say the “Law of Evolution”?

          Yes, general relativity more comprehensively describes observations than does Newton’s theory, but the word “Law” is used to describe theories of gravity, but never, as far as I recall, to describe evolution. This is a reflection of the degree to which observations of “gravity” match its theoretical description, whether classical or modern, and a reflection of the difficulty of testing the theory of evolution.

          1. That’s just because Newton called his theory a law. Darwin was a bit more modest and called his a theory of natural selection. Though Googling for “law of evolution” yields 777,000 results and “law of gravity” yields 1.04 M, which isn’t that big a difference.

            1. Whether the originator of a theory calls his theory a theory or a law, generally in science, the label “law” is earned by a theory as its accuracy, robustness and generality are verified over time.

              I don’t know what’s up with your Google results, but there is no real comparison between gravity and evolution in regards to the degree to which each has been verified. Certainly, for large organisms, evolution has not been tested enough to earn the label of “law”.

              1. Designation as law, theory, etc. is cultural happenstance. Science knows no laws, only theories.

                1. Science is unacquainted with Judge Dredd, I see.

      3. People speak of the “Law of Gravity”. Does anyone ever say the “Law of Evolution”?

        I think it has to do with the precision that gravity can be measured. 9.8 meters per second squared and its repeatability. Rock falls at same speed every time.

        Evolution through natural selection cannot be expressed in mathematical terms and cannot be repeated and the exact mechanism is very complex. That is why gravity is a law and evolution is a theory.

    3. Jesus! Magnets!!
      But as you mention “greater traction” where does the Lord stand on friction?

      1. Fuckin’ magnets, how do they work?

  5. Politicians should avoid giving any opinion with regard to science.

    In fairness, the Democrats/liberals/progressives seem to get these matters right most of the time, though I suspect this is a result of their desire for a technocratic ruling class.

    For me, this shit got settled with the Dover decision. Let’s move on to a new culture battle…anal sex?

    1. In fairness, the Democrats/liberals/progressives seem to get these matters right most of the time,

      Well, not counting their serial abuse of certain climatological models in the service of advancing their control over the economy, of course.

      1. Oh, and let’s not forget the prog jihad against GM food.

        1. And vaccines.

          1. And the dishonest pogrom against DDT.

            1. Most of the liberal / progressive denial of science has actually caused real people to die of disease or famine.

              Unlike the denial of evolution, which as far as I can tell has killed no one, and in fact, does not affect daily life.

      2. Both liberals and conservatives have their blindspots. That being said, global warming is much more ambiguous than evolution or the age of the earth.

        1. Also, to be fair, most liberals (and some people who call themselves conservative, hi Newt! hi John Huntsman!) espouse belief in AGW, but most conservatives don’t espouse belief in Jesus Ponies. For obvious reasons, the Democrat media tries to tar all Republicans and conservatives with the “wacky fundamentalist” label. One would think from media coverage that the battle over textbook content never involves anything except evolution and creationism.

          1. but most conservatives don’t espouse belief in Jesus Ponies.

            I suspect that most self-identified conservatives in the US do actually reject evolutionary theory, since 40% of the population does. You wouldn’t need much of a skew to shift them into the majority of conservatives.

    2. Amen. And movie stars should not be giving opinions regarding politics or social policy.

      1. I disagree because I love a good roast.

    3. Millions of dead malaria victims would beg to differ.

      1. Thankfully, they’re dead, so their voices of disagreement can’t be heard.

      2. You’re welcome.

      3. On my last float trip through a river swamp I saw eagles on their nest and no human beings except my fishing buddy. I call that a win for banning DDT. Maybe a double win, if any of the hordes who failed to crowd into that swamp and spoil the trip died of malaria.

    4. “Politicians should avoid giving any opinion with regard to science.”

      Is there an exception to this rule if the politician is an actual scientist?

      1. Absolutely. Credentials mean everything.

  6. “I am a firm believer in intelligent design as a matter of faith and intellect, and I believe it should be presented in schools along with theories of evolution.”

    As long as the good governor does not believe in “Intelligent Economic Design,” I really do not give a shit which god or gods he decides to worship. Those that worship the state are far more dangerous to humanity than any other sort of zealot – 120 million victims in the 20th Century alone can atest to that.

    1. Yep. The battle against intelligent design will be easier to win than the one against statism. Lets vote for Perry, then kick his ass when he starts yammering about intelligent design.

  7. I too would be surprised if there were not life on multiple worlds in our solar system. I would be surprised if life ‘formed’ here on earth and was not brought here by the material that was bombarding the earth during that period. In my estimation, life is likely common in the universe. I am not sure that earth is an anomaly, but no doubt other ‘earths’ are separated by too much time and distance for us to discover.

    As for Perry, he subscribes to the intuitive notions of origin and creation. That does not make him stupid, just ignorant.

    1. “As for Perry, he subscribes to the intuitive notions of origin and creation. That does not make him stupid, just ignorant.”

      Nope. Perry is a political opportunist. His finger is to the wind. All his blathering about the 10th Amendment, limited government, secession, border control and probably fundamentalism are just spinning and posturing. Who knows what he would do as President? He’s just another establishmentarian.

  8. The earth might be billions of years old in those backwards foreign countries like Australia, but God created Texas 6,000 years ago. On a Thursday.

    1. God could never get the hang of Thursdays.

    2. I’m pretty sure it was Friday after a 6 hour happy hour, when Adam said I bet YOU can’t creat someone in your image without a brain in their head…
      And God spake, I can creat a whole damn state full…

      1. …said the Californian.

  9. ACB: Perry on sodomy.

    1. Jesus, Perry, some of us like women’s assholes too!

        1. Seriously, as with the drug-warmongers who spent their youth (and adulthood) smoking weed, I suspect these politicians against “sexual deviancy” have snuck a peak at their wives’ tight little sphincters as got that un-godly urge.

          1. Uhhhhhhhhh no?

          2. More likely their mistress.

            1. Don’t want to get her pregnant.

              1. There are ways to avoid that that don’t involve getting shit on your dick.

      1. Tried it…decided I like their vaginae better.

        Shit on my dick is a big turn off.

        1. I had a gf break up with me because she wanted to try it and I wouldn’t oblige.
          That was one messed up chick.

          1. A slut that services the officers in our police department likes to take it anally and then give the guy a bj. Some of the other guys think it’s funny, but it seems pretty messed up to me.

    2. ACB: Perry on sodomy.

      You know, I’ve tried. I have tried my darnest to understand, to respect, to let alone. But as hard as I tried, after watching two dudes kissing in the latest Torchwood episode, all I can say is that gay guys are defintively their own worst enemies when it comes to asking for understanding. Sorry dudes, my hetero senses are buzzing all over. Don’t ask me for understanding – you have my respect for you as human, rational beings. That’s all. Be thankfull for that.

  10. There gotta be intelligent life out there, because there ain’t much of it here.

    1. Re: sarcasmic,

      There gotta be intelligent life out there, because there ain’t much of it here.

      I know what you’re saying: I have thought of that every time I glance at White Imbecile’s drivel.

      1. Shhhhhhhh! You will wake him……

      2. Yes. Although his idiotic ramblings did produce my all-time favorite joke handle: “Off White Indian”.

        Props to whoever came up with that.

  11. This “evolution is a theory” routine is so fucking annoying. Evolution is a fact. Darwin has a theory about how, exactly, evolution occurs, but evolution itself is a fact. In fact, given a vast expanse of time it would take supernatural intervention to PREVENT things from evolving. To suppose that mutations would not occur over hundreds of millions of years and that some of those mutations would not confer an advantage over previous forms and that these advantageous mutations would not accumulate to the point of producing a species distinct from the original is idiocy. Evolution can’t NOT occur.

    That being said, I don’t care any more whether Rick Perry or any other candidate believes in evolution than I care that every Presidential candidate who has ever run claims to believe in the fairy tale of a heavenly father who sacrificed his only son for our sins. What I detest about Rick Perry and every other candidate other than Ron Paul is that they don’t believe, truly, in liberty and self ownership and they do believe it is the governments business to socially engineer good citizens and they also believe in the right of the US to invade and occupy other countries and the right of the government to sacrifice its citizens for such purposes.

    1. What I detest about Rick Perry and every other candidate other than Ron Paul

      Umm….

      Gary Johnson

      1. Well, yes, I like Gary Johnson very much and he is head and shoulders above the others (aside from RP) and would certainly vote enthusiastically for him if he were nominated, but the problem is his principles are flexible. He supports the drug war against hard drugs. You can not support the drug war and still believe in self ownership, which it the most fundamental principle of libertarianism. Everything else libertarians springs from that principle.

        1. Gary Johnson has said we need to end the entire drug war now. As far back as 1999.

    2. not to mention it’s actually been witnessed, via moths that have changed color after moss stopped growing on trees after the industrial revolution in certain areas, organisms that evolved to feed off toxic waste in toxic waste dumps (kinds of waste that had never existed before in nature), etc.

      1. Can those moths breed with any from the same original species? If so, you witnessed specialization – like people living on the Equator developing dark skin for protection and people near the Artic Circle developing lighter skin to maximize their vitamin D production.

        I can still breed by dog to a wolf even though it looks different. They are not different species.

        Evolution has never, ever been witnessed in a high-order organism.

        1. It doesn’t matter.

          Ultimately, the most frustrating thing about the religious battle still being fought against evolution is its pointlessness.

          To save the Christian teleology you can’t just defeat the evolution of new species. You have to defeat the concept of extinction.

          Extinction as a concept was just as dangerous to the Christian worldview as evolution. Because if it’s possible for one of God’s creatures to go extinct, then God made a mistake in the Creation. The Creation is contingent. And that’s what it can’t be.

          The only reason to exert any energy supporting Creationism is to support the so-called chain of being, which believers asset supports the dignity of man. But extinction undermines the chain of being just as much as the emergence of new species.

          1. Unless you are talking about intelligent design – then evolution is a process used by God. Those extinct species are important because they shaped the direction of evolution of other species ? which ultimately led to mankind.

    3. “Evolution is a fact … evolution itself is a fact.”

      No. You need to learn what a fact is. A fact is an observable. A theory is a plausible explanation for a set of observables.

      “In fact, given a vast expanse of time it would take supernatural intervention to PREVENT things from evolving.”

      You have actually observed this to be true?

      1. There are many things we know to be facts which can not be observed, but can be deduced as being factually true from other observable phenomena. I’m sorry, you are simply incorrect.

        1. You have never observed evolution, but you want to believe it’s true. It is not fact. It is simply the only explanation around.

    4. It’s a shame that religion has screwed up the science around the THEORY of Evolution just like environmental politics has screwed up the science of the climate.

      Evolution is a very incomplete theory that we have only the vaguest notions of how it works in high order organisms.

      We have no idea why humans have a chromosome count of 46 while chimps have 48 and monkey vary by species from 16 to 60.

      Something besides the fittest surviving and breeding is going on. Something we don’t understand given the fact that humans born with too many or too few chromosones are generally have severe mental and / or physical handicaps and would never survive in the wild to reproduce.

      1. “It’s a shame that religion has screwed up the science around the THEORY of Evolution just like environmental politics has screwed up the science of the climate.”

        This is so true. I blame Oprah Winfreyism, celebrating emotion over reasoning. Even religion in America has been affected with increasing membership in emotionally expressive sects and decreasing membership in sects that have favored education and clear reasoning.

        1. As a Presbyterian, I hope I am lumped in your second group. With few exceptions, the Universities our mainline Protestant forerunners founded (Princeton (except the Seminary), Duke, Harvard, Dartmouth, Pomona, Wesleyan, etc?) now only heap scorn on all organized Christianity. (But cannot tolerate criticism of the Muslim faith)

          Why belong to a self-hating sect?

          1. The Presbyterian Church has been taken over by people who worship nature, conduct candlelight vigils instead of debates and call for the celebration of homosexuals. It has been transformed from that which it once was.

            1. You confuse the nonsense of national leaders (who always lose the votes in the General Assembly), with the average Congregation and Pastor.

  12. Geography teachers should not be limited to teaching the “theory that Mount Olympus is capped by naught but snow and ice,” either. One of the greatest civilizations in history believed the mountain to be topped by the palaces of the gods, and who are we to say they were wrong? Teach the controversy, is all I’m sayin’.

    1. “One of the greatest civilizations in history believed the mountain to be topped by the palaces of the gods, and who are we to say they were wrong?”

      Uh, they were wrong.

      1. You, sir, are a bigot who does not respect other cultures. I’ll bet you kick puppies for fun, too.

        1. Cute blue-eyed blond photogenic puppies, no less. Puppies that actually MATTER.

          1. I’m sure it’s only the puppies who believe in the Greek gods that he kicks.

            1. With those eyes they shoulda seen it comin.

        2. “You, sir, are a bigot who does not respect other cultures.”

          Not all cultures are worthy of respect. Why does saying so make one a bigot?

          1. Someone’s lost his ability to take a joke.

      2. Your probably one of those who believe in gravity and not Zeus magnets…

    2. I’m opposed to the teaching of the periodic table of elements in public schools. It’s all a bunch of hooey designed to confuse students into having faith in invisible atoms.

      They need to teach alternate theories such as the classical earth/wind/fire/water model of chemistry.

      1. You forgot ?ther. I suggest you read Timaeus before you embarrass yourself further.

        1. Empedocles also threw Love and Strife into the mix.

          1. Love and Strife is more like E&M than chemistry.

      2. Well, to be fair, they do teach the classical theories, then teach the reasons why they’ve been replaced.

        1. They teach it as part of the history of science. I doubt that Creationists would be thrilled to have their beliefs placed in the same grouping as humoralism, the dung beetle that pushes the sun across the sky, flat earth and geocentricism.

      3. Earth, Wind and Fire would be a great name for a band. Wonder why no one ever used it. 🙂

        1. Someone tried, but they got sued by Water, Wind and Fire.

      4. And light is photons, or waves, or both, or neither.

        1. It’s a particle, and a wave; and a floor wax, and a dessert topping.

      5. What about Heart? The Aquaman of the elements/Planeteers?

        1. I still look at Nancy while Ann sings.

      6. I did teach “the classical earth/wind/fire/water model of chemistry” (a bit of science history to put into perspective certain references in medieval literature). It’s easy to show it’s true.

        Build a wood fire. You can see right away there is fire coming out of the wood, so it must have been a component. You can also detect a draft of air higher up. Hold a cold ceramic or metal plate over the fire, and water condenses on it. When those three elements are all sublimed away, what is left is grey earthy stuff.

        Q.E.D.

    3. One of the greatest civilizations in history

      They were not that great…the only unique thing about them is that they wrote the shit down…and what they did write was somewhat in the critical style thus giving us a more complete view of their culture, government and society.

  13. Rick Perry respects the rights of people in other states to believe in evolution. Except when he doesn’t.

  14. One does not “believe” in evolution any more than he “believes” in reality.

    1. ^^THIS^^

      + The age of the earth.

      (as you can see, this puts creationists at a severe disadvantage in the points department.)

    2. YES, YES, YES!

      I hate it when people (sometimes even scientists) say things like “scientists believe…) It’s a complete misuse of the word. When most peole hear the word “believe,” they’re conditioned culturally to think of a religious or near-religious concept. “Belief,” as a faith-based concept independent of research, skepticism, and analysis, is so far from what it means to accept a scientifically-arrived at theory as to be a very misleading term. Confusion of language in this way really shows, or at least implies the strong likelihood of, a fundamental misunderstanding of the scientific method. Scientists should be very careful of using this term, and should actively discourage its use in both the technical realm and the popular literature.

      1. When most people hear the word “believe”…

        …they think they are hearing an opinion, and they use that tragic misnomer against otherwise rational people (scientists) who haven’t as precise a grasp of language as they do of the various details of their chosen scientific discipline. Along similar lines, businessmen who accept the religious-based morality of altruism as a justification for making money (and making a grand show of giving it away) act as their own destroyers by failing to rationally defend their own right to life and action and property.

      2. “Belief,” as a faith-based concept independent of research, skepticism, and analysis, is so far from what it means to accept a scientifically-arrived at theory as to be a very misleading term.

        That is complete bullshit.

        1. I’m not sure exactly how you understand the word “belief,” pfft, but in my usage db is right on the money. To use a very simple example, I just saw a set of turkey tracks along my field road. I don’t just believe they were turkey tracks, I am certain they were, because no other interpretation fits the facts. On the other hand, I believe they were left by a gobbler, based on their overall size and the proportions of the toes. But I am not certain.

          Similarly, I am certain that evolution through natural selection has given rise to the variety of species on the earth. I *believe* no intelligent designer was involved in the process, but I cannot be absolutely certain of that.

          Do you use “certainty” and “belief” in a different way?

        2. Would you care to elaborate, pffft, or are you content to keep your doubtless stunning wisdom locked inside your head?

  15. Ironically, Austin is perhaps the most fossil-rich area in which I’ve ever lived. I haul baskets full of Upper Cretaceous fossils out of nearly every construction dig and erosion channel in the area. You can’t avoid them.

  16. I can forgive Intelligent Design theory. It’s a lot more respectable than Young Earth theory.

    So if you look at the record and say, “That looks pretty complicated, maybe there was some intelligence guiding this,” I will try to cut you some slack if you’re running for President. It’s only if you say, “The Earth is 6000 years old and any evidence to the contrary is the devil trying to trick us!” that I draw the line and declare you too crazy for office.

    1. ^ Yes ^

    2. …agreed.

    3. My issue with the whole “watchmaker” reasoning behind a intelligent design is that it has a huge blind spot. The designer, by its very nature, is more complex than thing designed. If a complex world implies that there’s an intelligent designer, who designed that designer and the designer before that. Eventually, you get to turtles all the way down.

      1. With the Mormons, you’ve got Gods all the way down.

        Their problem is explaing where the original God came from.

        Well, it’s not their only problem, but it’s sure one of the biggies.

        1. I was out in the yard today and a couple angels gave me book with a solid gold cover and pages made out of platinum. It has the newest iteration of the bible. Among other things, it explains to me that I am the new messiah and all you folk are supposed to start following me and help me build a new world order where I am the head hancho. Among the tenets of the book is the requirement that beautiful women most throw themselves at me and cater to my every whim, however perverse. I going to give a reading next weekend so you all can come out and see this amazing thing and start in on your adoration of me. I’m just hoping I’m able to keep track of the before then. I’m always losing thing. But even if that happens, I have most of it memorized, so you should be okay.

          1. Damn, I need to proof read better.

      2. Wrong. Read up on the Kalam cosmological argument or the teleological argument. The “who designed the designer?” rebuttal is a red herring. If all space, time, and matter came into existence 13 billion years ago, the cause of the event could not be temporal or material. Only a timeless, immaterial, and hence “uncaused” being could have banged the bang, so to speak.

        1. If all space, time, and matter came into existence 13 billion years ago

          Causality as a concept only has meaning in a time-based universe that obeys the laws our universe has.

          If all space, time and matter came into existence 13 billion years ago, it doesn’t need a cause. Outside of the confines of a time-based system the concept of causality is meaningless.

      3. I’m not saying ID is supportable, I’m just saying that to the extent we judge people based on their statements and thoughts, I would more harshly judge a Young Earther than an advocate of ID.

        All that ID requires is a failure of imagination in the face of complexity. “Wow, stuff is so complex there must be a mind behind it all.”

        Young Earth belief requires what amounts to a deliberate psychotic break with reality in a desperate attempt to protect a cherished idea.

  17. Just because he questions evolution doesn’t mean he believes the world’s 5,000 years old.

    I believe he said as much last week.

    In fact, this whole post is one giant non-sequitur.

    1. Aren’t they all?

    2. Yes, I’m pretty sure that accepting Bishop Ussher’s chronology, under which, BTW, the earth is 6015 years old as of this year, is not a requirement for a general belief in creationism. I thought that 6000 is the number used by most “young earthers”, not 5000.

      I don’t think that one is necessarily required to believe that the use of the word day in Genesis means that creation took seven literal periods of twentyfour hours to complete either. Even creationists allow for a less than literal interpretation of biblical language.

  18. “The fossils were found in sandstone at the base of the Strelley Pool rock formation in *Western Australia.*”

    Western Australia, huh? Never mind ancient bacteria – did they find the Great Old Ones?

    http://www.yankeeclassic.com/m…..dowou5.htm

  19. “Recognizing that evolution is a theory, and not claimed by anyone to be more than that, the governor believes it would be a disservice to our children to teach them only one theory on the origin of our existence without recognizing other scientific theories worth consideration.”

    In the joker’s defense, he’s talking specifically about the origin of humanity when he’s talking about “evolution”.

    I’m not saying that’s okay necessarily–but it’s not as dumb as suggesting that our environment doesn’t manipulate our genes.

    Theoretically, God could have created Adam 6,000 years ago and/or we could have evolved from hominid ancestors 100,000 years ago and/or our existence could be the result of an alien experiment and/or we could all be a figment of John’s imagination–theoretically.

    Whether our environment manipulates our genes isn’t a theory though. I mean, all science is predicated on the fact that new and conflicting data requires us to revise our science, but whether our environment manipulates our genes is about as well established as the earth orbiting the sun.

    The real question we should be asking ourselves is whether a governor who’s willing to pander on scientific question to his fundamentalist constituents–is that somebody we want as our president?

    Not if there’s a better choice among the Republican candidates. That’s my answer. The more I get to know about Perry, the less I like him. No wonder he waited to get into the race so late.

    1. “it’s not as dumb as suggesting that our environment doesn’t manipulate our genes.”

      Saying the environment manipulates genes, perhaps to the point of killing an organism, is not the same thing as claiming that humans used to have tails and evolved them away when they started to rummage around on the ground instead of swinging in trees. The second is unprovable.

  20. Perfect example of why I don’t support Reason, even though I agree with them on a lot. They are as bad as liberals many times.

    1. Wait, what is a perfect example of why you don’t support Reason?

      1. Too late. I have the martini glasses out already and I’m not putting them back.

        1. Yes, because whenever anyone points out flawed reasoning amongst Reason staffers, you must drink. And it’s funny. Every time!

  21. Rick Perry is a MO-RON.

  22. Complaining about the pitch and warble of a dog-whistle is missing the point.

    1. +1

      Someone else made a comparison to celebrities expressing opinions. I wish they were comparable because the unfortunate reality is that the reason politicians expressing opinions is so onerous is that they have or will soon seek to acquire the power to enforce their opinions. The problem, as always, is the power available to them, not their opinions.

      1. Somebody was me. The parallel is one of inappropriate authority and power. Yes, politicians formulate social policy based on their ignorance of science. Celebrities have the ability to sway public opinion, indirectly effecting public policy.

  23. So, attack squad reason, what exactly are the ramifications of Perry’s beliefs? He will ban stem cell research? Oh wait, liberals are criticizing him for using an “unproven” stem cell procedure on himself. He will ignore modern medicine and implore people to pray their illnesses away? Oh wait, he’s been criticized for attempting to mandate a vaccine for an STD- that screams out that hes an abstinence-only irrational Christian nutter, doesn’t it? Maybe he will force public schools* to not teach evolution? Oh wait, he advocates teaching in creators alongside evolution. Are you afraid your kid is too stupid to use their own reason and decide which “theory” they want to believe? Maybe Perry will force everybody in America to attend bible camp, one weekend a month, 2 weeks per year? Yeah, that’s probably it.

    *any proper libertarian supports privatization of the schools. Perry has proven to be no friend of the public schools racket.

    1. “Oh wait, he’s been criticized for attempting to mandate a vaccine for an STD”

      Perry is a corporatist. Expect bailouts and targeted “stimulus packages” and industry specific tax breaks if he is elected.

      1. Yes, so why prioritize a “belief” in evolution above a desire to crack the public schools racket?

        Which is better: a statist who accepts evolution as correct (what policy benefits does this confer anyway?), but who refuses to weaken the power of the public schools cartel – or a religious goofball who believes Sumer was inhabited by elves and that the world was remade in a fiery cataclysm 2300 years ago, but who wants to privatize the school system and allow parents and students to decide who/where they want to learn from?

        1. Zuo: How have I “prioritized” evolution over cracking the public schools racket? One can criticize both public schools and a politician’s faith-based disregard for scientific fact.

  24. Ideally we should not care what a candidate thinks of science any more than what a candidate thinks of music – government should not involve itself in either. Unfortunately, it does – so even this has become a political issue.

    For the record, I view Genesis as a parable – deep in meaning but not to be taken literally true.

    1. Genesis, the band, is a parable? I never took their lyrics as being literally true either.

  25. I have no problem with teaching this in school. Put it into a textbook with Keynesian economics and Marxism and call it “The Big Book of Stupid.”

    1. 90% of what kids are taught in public schools is worthless fucking incorrect garbage anyway.

      Reading the bible/koran/confucian classics would be far more valuable than the shitty-novel-about-the-opression of blacks/jews/womyn/children/poors-at-the-hands-of-the-greedy-evil-white-capitalist-hater currently proscribed.

      1. Reading religious texts would be dangerously close to teaching the history of Western Civilisation, something we need to eliminate.

      2. Good point. It’s amazing how often I have to correct disinformation they pick up at school.

        Mostly I try to inculcate a skeptical attitude about what they are told, by anybody. I think it’s working. They crack me up when they make fun of some of the more crackpot teachers.

    2. I can think of a few more chapters for the book… Rachel Carson, Margaret Mead, among others…

  26. fossilized single-cell organisms that are 3.4 billion years old.

    All living single celled organisms are 4 billion of years old what is important about dead fossilized ones?

  27. Try to imagine how much I care.

    1. That would require empathy, which I have on good authority is not something libertarians are capable of.

      1. I have on good authority is not something libertarians are capable of.

        Rather is not an authority on anything…and nor is she good.

        In fact a good description of her would be “evil disassembly”

  28. Who the fuck votes for or against a person because of the particular creation myth they believe in?

    I think Ron is trying to not vote republican in 2012 despite the fact that the democrats need to be punished just as the republicans needed to be punished in 2008.

    That being said Ron I would like to introduce you to the Libertarian party.

    http://www.lp.org/

    By voting for the LP you can avoid being a complete hypocritical D-bag.

    1. JC: Alas, I find that the advice implicit in this legend makes sense:

      Pollster to little ole lady: Ma’am for whom are you going to vote this November?

      Little ole lady: Vote? Vote? I never vote! It only encourages them!

  29. I’m not a huge fan of Perry, and I have no clue about the nuances of his religious beliefs…but Bailey’s outpouring of snarkiness onto a complete straw man here is almost embarrassing. The existence of 3.4 billion year old fossils would do NOTHING to discredit the quoted statements from Perry, nor would it discredit intelligent design theory in general. Bailey completely ignores the fact that the vast majority of design proponents adhere to the scientific consensus of a 13 billion year old earth. Lumping all proponents of design into the small and somewhat marginalized group of young earth creationists is both incorrect and intellectually lazy.

    1. Tyler: However, if you listen to the YouTube video to which I linked, I hope that you would find that the scientific research to which I allude would “do SOMETHING to discredit the quoted statements from Perry.”

    2. “… the vast majority of design proponents adhere to the scientific consensus of a 13 billion year old earth.”

      Are you sure about that, or would you like to revise that number down a few billion years?

      1. Tyler: I believe that the “scientific consensus” is that earth is about 4.5 billion years old.

    3. Tyler: With regard to creationism I probably should have quoted this 2005 letter from Gov. Perry’s office which plainly states:

      Governor Perry does not oppose presenting creationism alongside evolution in discussions about the origins of mankind.

  30. When are we going to get into the debate about teaching the law of comparative advantage in public schools?

    Here is a good question:

    Is it more important for public education to teach children where dinosaur bones came from or more important to teach them that free trade is always good?

  31. JC: There is no need for a trade-off. Do both.

    1. Do both.

      Then perhaps you should be writing article on why the law of comparative advantage is not being taught in high schools with a little more frequency then zero.

      Hell even the hard core creationists let evolution be taught…they just want it to be taught along side evolution.

      The law of comparative advantage does not even make it into the classroom.

      1. JC: I should do both. See my post on What Concept Would Improve Everybody’s Cognitive Toolkit?, and my column, “No Nation Was Ever Ruined by Trade.”

        1. See my post on What Concept Would Improve Everybody’s Cognitive Toolkit?, and my column, “No Nation Was Ever Ruined by Trade.”

          Excellent.

          My problem with the evolution/creationism debate in politics is that it has very little to do with anything. Christians will be christian and that is that. nothing I can do can change them and if my life span is any indication they have had very little effect on how the government gets into my life. In fact one could argue that it was Christians and the Judeo christian tradition that has kept religion out of politics and out of my life.

          The law of comparative advantage in contrast to evolution has very striking implications to my lively hood and prosperity and yet it is completely ignored in schools and off the screen when discussing politics, economics, foreign relations, hell everything in main stream media.

          Again why are we dithering about what creation myth politicians believe in when we don’t even know what they believe in regards to the law of comparative advantage? or even if they know what the hell it is?

  32. Little Ronnie Bailey means well, but he gets it oh so wrong.

    Darwin’s conjecture is Descent with Modification and not the Theory of Evolution as far too many get it wrong.

    Worse though, is that Darwin’s conjecture is attempt to explain how new species arise from previously existing species.

    Darwin’s conjecture does not explain how any life first arose on earth. Darwin’s conjecture is a claimed theory of speciation and not a theory of creation.

    The recent finding of fossilized single-cell organisms embedded in sandstone at the base of the Strelley Pool rock formation in Western Australia still does not explain how first live arose.

    So little Ronnie Bailey, however wishful you are, this finding changes nothing.

    No one on earth knows how life began. More so, no one knows if speciation is right. There are way too many gaps in the complete fossil record, for starters.

    1. Al, those of us in science are working to put together a puzzle. We don’t know what it looks like, and we do make mistakes, and we do ask for patience (and some of us try to stay out of politics until the science is pretty certain). What we don’t do is throw up our hands and create grampa in a nightshirt who magically made the whole thing. (btw, who made grampa?)

      1. First off, you’re working in academia. The word science means recorded knowing. That’s all it means. You don’t work in science. No one does.

        Second, those of academia claim to be right without any true theory and claim mere conjecture to stand in as theory.

        Their acts are far removed from the scientific method and amount to a giant fail, a joke.

        What you do exactly is worship the stand-in gods of naturalism metaphysics and scientism.

        So did you want to talk about how academia works and what science is or were you merely making chit chat, GroundTruth?

        1. Al, your very good at this. Can I suggest you head over to PZ’s site or Pandas Thumb? I really think you will spark some interesting conversation.

          Please post with your current user name.

  33. Proof of evolution by natural selection.

    1. your proof is a dead link?

      1. Think of it as a fossil link.

        Most evidence for evolution is taken from the fossil record, so it only seems right.

        1. Actually most proof can be found in DNA.

          Fossils can be fucked.

          Take for example the bones of the African and north American vulture.

          They appear to be the same species yet their DNA shows that they are not even closely related. In other words there were two distinct species that evolved at different times and different places to become two different species of vultures.

    2. I don’t know why that link doesn’t work.

      Here it is again.

      1. To be fair, that is one strain of staph that adapted from a previous strain of staph. That is not saying that this new strain of staph is something other than staph. The theory of evolution is that one species will evolve into another species. I have yet to see a living example of this, nor has anyone else.

        Don’t confuse this to say that I believe in Biblical Creationism or any other “origins” account offered up by religion. I don’t. I just question the modern theories of evolution that I have been exposed to through high school and my numerous anthropology classes in college. I have a serious problem with gradual evolution by means of mutation.

        1. Staphylococcus is a genus; there are many different species (more than 50 IIRC from my microbiology classes), and even more subspecies.

          More than MRSA in particular, I was pointing to the fact that we can see evolution occurring in the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Not to mention genetic drift/shift in viruses. The only way we can really observe evolution is in unicellular microorganisms, especially bacteria, because speciation is an accumulation of random beneficial mutations over many generations. We’ve only known about genes for about 100 years. That’s four generations of humans, which is not nearly enough time to observe any kind of evolution. In the same time period any particular S. aureus bacteria could have yielded 220,000 generations of offspring. Additionally, since bacteria reproduce by binary fission, the offspring are all clones of the parent; whereas humans only have a 25% chance of passing on a mutation to their offspring. To observe an analogous degree of evolution in a human (or most other eukaryotic sexually reproducing organisms) as we could observe in a species of bacteria over the course of a year would take at least 250,000 years.

  34. Al: May I suggest that you spend some time contemplating the research questions posed in the video to which I linked? IDers have no plausible answers, but evolutionary biologists do.

    With regard to origins, you’re right that researchers have not yet identified the way that life arose, but what leaves you with a ‘god of the gap’ theory — we don’t know therefore “god must have done it.” What happens when the gap is filled? Does god disappear? And how do you know that life on earth wasn’t created by a race of super-intelligent purple space aliens?

    In any case, research on origins continues.

    1. And how do you know that life on earth wasn’t created by a race of super-intelligent purple space aliens?

      Why do they have to be super intelligent?

      I mean the alternative is that it was created by no intelligence at all right?

      There are many grays between no intelligence and super intelligence.

      Also they were more lavender then purple.

    2. I can’t watch the video right now, but if it wasn’t covered then I would also recommend reading up on the Primordial-soup theory and the Miller-Urey experiment.

  35. So, if you vote major party, your choice might be between someone who doesn’t understand economics and someone who doesn’t understand evolution?

    Nice.

    1. Given a choice, I’d take the guy who doesn’t understand evolution.

      1. RCD: I hope that it is really not true that we must choose between candidates who understand only one or the other.

        1. Well, at this point its pretty clear at least one of them doesn’t understand economics, at all.

        2. I hope that it is really not true

          Well you voted for Hope in 2008…and we got shit for economic policy. (still you were correct back then that republicans did need to be punished)

          Perhaps we should forget about hope and look at what the actual choices are:

          One guy who looks to be bad to “OK” on economics and terrible on evolution.

          The other guy is god awful on economics and we assume is good on evolution….has anyone ever asked Obama about evolution?

          I guess we will see your choice when Reason does its election questionnaire.

  36. On the contrary Ron, you assume I am left with nothing because you assume, wrongly, of course, that I’ve taken a positivist position supporting ID or bible thumpers.

    Those suffering from scientism with their faith-based naturalism metaphysics demand that all accept their conjecture as theory because they claim it’s only a matter of time before they fill in their huge gap.

    The Scientific Creationism bible amuses.

    Chapter 1. The Big Bang
    Chapter 2. to be done or made up later
    Chapter 3. Descent with Modification

    Descent with Modification hardly can get called a proper theory. Imposition upon the complete fossil record fails. Nearly every mutation is deadly harmful to any species, humans included. No human has yet shown how any body part of any species extant developed from simpler forms. And of late, scientists themselves, using proper scientific methods have shown that instantaneous gene expression arises without need for great Lyellian time spans.

    When discussing Descent with Modification, junk science should come to the clear-headed thinker’s mind immediately. Merely shrugging one’s shoulders and saying “it’s the best one we have, so it must get accepted” isn’t expression of legitimate scientific method.

    Even the Big Bang suffers from a huge causality gap.

    Do I need to go on? If there is one constant in the universe, it’s that nearly all humans are gullible and accept bullshit once such bullshit gets cloaked in refined garb of a group that uses rhetoric to confer status upon itself.

    Enjoy your Church of Academia with its PhDuh high priests and high school teacher lesser priests all pushing an entirely faith-based naturalism metaphysics structured creationism story.

  37. Al: Please watch the video when you have a chance.

  38. Ron Bailey pointed me to this story in the SacBee,

    UC Merced chemistry professor co-authors study offering scenario for origin of life on Earth,

    which amounts to little more than persuasion in propaganda.

    In the story, the seemingly big deal is that academicians found could make the natural form of RNA precursors by including extant simple amino acids.

    “These amino acids changed how the reactions work and allowed only the naturally occurring RNA precursors to be generated in a stable form.”

    However, the researchers failed to demonstrate what formed these needed amino acids. Without these extant amino acids, the experiment would fail.

    And thus no one can make any significant claims with such toy science.

    1. Amino acids spontaneously form from inorganic matter under certain conditions.

      1. Al: And god no doubt put amino acids in meteors.

      2. Amino acids spontaneously form from inorganic matter under certain conditions.

        Huh?

        Amino acids without carbon…that seems implausible.

        How about amino acids without biotic synthesis?

        If it has carbon it is organic. PERIOD.

        1. “If it has carbon it is organic. PERIOD.”

          In the broadest definition, yes, any carbon containing compound is organic, but it’s not really that clear cut. Compounds like cyanides, fluorocarbons, carbon sulfides, and metal carbonates are usually classified as inorganic.

        2. Reference “Stanley Miller” experiment in which the Oparin-Haldane hypothesis was demonstrated, i.e. production of amino acids from inoragnic precursors. And no, methane (and numerous other small organic molecules) need not necessarily be derived from biological materials.

      3. Which amino acids spontaneously form from inorganic matter and under what states (wrongly said conditions), exactly, Mensan?

        Do all of the essential amino acids get formed? Without all the essentials, no life arises.

        As to your comments below, without the presence of an amine group, and carboxylic acid group, you have nothing. These elements must be present carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen.

        So did you want to discuss life-necessary biochemistry, or were you merely making chit chat, Mensan.

        1. Al, your very good at this. Can I suggest you head over to PZ’s site or Pandas Thumb? I really think you will spark some interesting conversation.

          Please post with your current user name.

    2. Also, they do address that in the journal article:

      Racemic synthesis of amino acids has been shown to be prebiotically accessible, and amino acids have been detected at significant concentrations in chondritic meteorites …

    3. Sorry Al, hang out with the biogeochemists for a bit, learn the literature, and you’ll see how little persuasion and how much laboratory science is involved in such publications.

    4. Why do you keep referencing lowercase god, Ronnie, as if that has anything to do with me.

      Your clumsy misuse of ad hom by innuendo amuses. I peg your IQ between 118 and 126, tops.

  39. How cutting edge – Reason’s science editor takes a pot-shot at creationist fundies. Nobody’s ever done that!

    Of course, the science blogging might be a little more lively, interesting, and relevant to social policy if you covered topics like this, but I won’t be holding my breath…..

    1. When that study came out I posted a comment wondering how long it would take for people to erroneously interpret the results to say anything about race. Not long, it seems (based on the comments at the link).

      The study doesn’t really change the heritability estimates by much.

      1. You are correct, they don’t directly say anything about race, in the same way that evolution says nothing directly about the existence of god.

        However, in the same respect, given that IQ differences between races are well documented, heritability certainly suggests a possible (if not probable) explanation.

        This isn’t so different than the argument between creationists and evolutionists. Sure, you can’t say evolution is absolutely proven, but the evidence is strongly suggestive that the theory is correct conceptually, if not necessarily in all of it’s specifics.

        This won’t stop the creationists from declaring it inconclusive because it hasn’t been demonstrated how organs such as eyes evolved in increments. In both cases, opponents will take any wiggle room at the margins they can find.

        Of course, also in both cases, the wiggle room at the margins gets smaller and smaller with the accumulation of data.

        1. People with High IQ came up with the Fanny and Freddy ponzi scheme, started two wars in the middle east, and gave the united states a big fat lost decade using Keynesian economic theory.

          Fuck IQ.

        2. “it hasn’t been demonstrated how organs such as eyes evolved in increments”

          In the July 2011 *Scientific American* (pp. 64-69) Trevor D. Lamb gives a pretty persuasive explanation in “Evolution of the Eye.” It’s probably also on the SA Web site, but I don’t know how to post a link. Old bastard. Set in my ways. Sorry.

          1. Yes, I’m aware of that. But my point was that the creationists and like-minded are going to keep pulling little details like that out of their asses and claiming that the lack of an immediate explanation for them discredits the theory, never mind that the overarching evidence still supports the theory, unexplained details notwithstanding. As soon as you’ve explained the eyes, they’ll move on to the next niggling detail.

            The Flat-Earth Society still exists, and for every piece of evidence you can provide that the earth is round, they have an explanation to counter it. So it goes.

        3. they don’t directly say anything about race, in the same way that evolution says nothing directly about the existence of god.

          Not in the same way, actually.

          But if we go with your analogy, which group do you see as the creationists?

  40. Slap: Thanks very much for the interesting link. You might want to look at my review of The Bell Curve back in 1995. Or my more recent column, Closing the Black/White IQ Gap?

    1. Or for a more interesting discussion (sorry Ron) you can go here.

      http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/weblog/520.html

      1. NM: I think that the new study to which Slap provides a commentary link suggests that the link you provided is a just a bit dated. On the other hand, I do agree that the new study doesn’t much change the earlier heritability estimates.

        The abstract of the new study, “Genome-wide association studies establish that human intelligence is highly heritable and polygenic” reports:

        General intelligence is an important human quantitative trait that accounts for much of the variation in diverse cognitive abilities. Individual differences in intelligence are strongly associated with many important life outcomes, including educational and occupational attainments, income, health and lifespan. Data from twin and family studies are consistent with a high heritability of intelligence, but this inference has been controversial. We conducted a genome-wide analysis of 3511 unrelated adults with data on 549?692 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and detailed phenotypes on cognitive traits. We estimate that 40% of the variation in crystallized-type intelligence and 51% of the variation in fluid-type intelligence between individuals is accounted for by linkage disequilibrium between genotyped common SNP markers and unknown causal variants. These estimates provide lower bounds for the narrow-sense heritability of the traits. We partitioned genetic variation on individual chromosomes and found that, on average, longer chromosomes explain more variation. Finally, using just SNP data we predicted ~1% of the variance of crystallized and fluid cognitive phenotypes in an independent sample (P=0.009 and 0.028, respectively). Our results unequivocally confirm that a substantial proportion of individual differences in human intelligence is due to genetic variation, and are consistent with many genes of small effects underlying the additive genetic influences on intelligence.

        1. OTOH, those estimates are indicated as a floor, not a ceiling….

          These estimates provide lower bounds for the narrow-sense heritability of the traits.

          1. Of course, Slappy could get over his fantasy that white people like him and the english yobs that just finished rioting and looting are racially superior to the likes of Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Juan Williams and Bill Cosby.

            But that’s not likely, is it?

              1. The blacks who participated in the riots are third and fourth generation English citizens, so fine, it’s just the english who are inferior, period.

                But can you seriously look at the white kids that were rioting and keep up your racial superiority schtick.

                Particularly in view of the fact that the backbone of the small business class* in England today are first generation asian and african immigrants and their children.

                *You know, the ones whose businesses the yobs were burning.

                1. I never said any such thing. I never claimed that every white is Di Vinci, nor the yobs as smart as Thomas Sowell. I make no pretense of being as smart as Thomas Sowell myself.

                  When dealing with groups, you’re dealing with ranges and averages. Within various groups, there can be wide areas of overlap. I personally know plenty of blacks that are clearly smarter than the average white. But we’re talking about averages here, not outliers.

                  Now, quit putting words in my mouth.

                  1. You’re the one with the obsession about race and culture.

                    You need to be a lot more careful with your language if you don’t want people to think that you’re just a white supremacist.

        2. suggests that the link you provided is a just a bit dated

          The discussion in that link is not dated…it does a nice job of explaining the underlying issues that put what the newer study actually means into context. I mean, you linked to your own discussions for godsake…are they not dated? Cripes you’re a hack.

          1. The difference is that his articles merely took survey of the debate without arguing for a conclusion. Yours argues for a conclusion based on the evidence available at the time. Given that new evidence is now available, your article is obsolete.

      2. September 27, 2007

        A little out of date, wouldn’t you say?

  41. Evolution is nothing more than a model. It is, however, a model that, along with the Watson and Crick model of DNA, pretty much explains AND compels our understanding of biology from viruses to elephants, and everything in between.

    Of course, it’s just a theory.

  42. you stupid biased liberal asshole, fuck yourself with obamas dick all the way to hell.

  43. Perry would say carbon dating doesn’t date that far back, and we do not have the technology to date anything even close to that far back.

    1. Proving that a little knowledge is a fools weapon. He obviously hasn’t heard of uranium / lead or potassium argon dating.

  44. I’m too lazy tonight to read the whole thread, and someone’s probably already pointed this out, but – I would not give a rat’s ass if President Perry believed in intelligent design. It would have no effect on me or my family. Whereas President Obama’s belief in stimulus, bailouts, the Drug War, class warfare, permanent drilling bans, an EPA with limitless powers and relentlessly small business-hostile regulatory action is fucking with my life right here and now.

    Yeah, Perry’s a hick Aggie who prays to Jesus. Big fucking deal. After what we’ve seen in the past 3 years what kind of moron thinks he’d be worse than Obama?

    What’s he gonna do? Get us into three simultaneous wars? Ignore constitutional limits on executive authority? Make an ass of himself on the international stage? Kill a few thousand jobs every time he opens his mouth? What?

  45. nike shox tl1 for men
    nike shox tl3 mens shoes
    nike shox tl1 for women
    nike shox tl3 womens shoes
    nike shox deliver for men
    nike shox deliver womens shoes
    mens nike shox turbo
    nike shox oz mens
    nike shox oz womens
    nike shox quality mens
    nike shox quality womens

  46. Really is a dumb political argument. The media likes to nag white Christians about evolution but many of the religious groups the media defends — African American Baptists and Middle Eastern Muslims — believe in a Creator also. I’m not losing any sleep over this.

  47. man was created by God AT THE BEGINNINGS OF TIMES (of the Earth, 4.5 bills/years ago), dinos where created (clonated) by (3fingers/feet) ets, after celestial’s dragons&dragoneater; flying godzillas, another world, hot, inmortal creatures/plants we have millions of years later bones, even frozen flesh, to clonate…
    you cover the atmosphere with anything, cloud,smoke,dust… and cold, not heat is what happens…

  48. I heard dinos, as plants (created by 3finger ETs) where, anctient normal inmortal creatures among man, Addam was created by God from soil, in the beginnings of time, sent thru a timeportal doorway (ETs call’em stargates) 16,000 years ago back from Eden, I read a whole celestial armada is time)lost (and may re-appear too), normal time weaponry the 1st 2 billenias of Earth…
    dino’s (and plants) genetics, from a different climate, where inmortal creatures (normal at the times)… unless “you’re eaten by a devil, demon, t-rex, spinosaur….)

  49. Does it really matter what Rick Perry believes in regards to evolution or creationism?

    This is along the lines of when I saw Bill O’Reilly quizzing presidental candidate Hillary Clinton about her views on waterboarding, and she pointed out that she shared the same viewpoint as McCain and Obama, the only other candidates still in the race at that point. Made me scratch my head why he bothered, given that it wasn’t going to make a difference in regards to distinguishing one candidate from the other – seemed a waste of the time it took to ask and answer the question. In this case, I’m scratching my head as to why it even matters – is Perry’s fundie viewpoints going to somehow affect how he’ll be going about getting the economy out of the toilet?

    There may very well be substantial reasons for people to be worried about the potential of a President Perry. I don’t know the candidates well enough yet to say. But I do know this – this red herring isn’t one of them.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.