Creationists' Last Stand at the State Board of Education

Will anti-evolutionists be able to adapt and survive in a new textbook market?

Creationists' Last Stand at the State Board of Education

Raymond Bohlin holds a doctorate in molecular biology. He received his master's degree in population genetics, the study of how adaptation and speciation is expressed by DNA. In other words, he possesses more than a passing knowledge about the theory of evolution. At the University of North Texas, he participated in research revealing that colonies of pocket gophers in Oklahoma and Texas, once indistinguishable, had diverged somewhere along the way into two identifiably distinct species.

In a way, so had Bohlin. He never accepted the hypothesis central to his discipline, hardened in the crucible of 150 years of experimentation, validated by the advent of modern genetics. He could not believe that evolutionary mechanisms could account for the dizzying complexity he saw in the living world. It was easier for him to detect the work of some unseen force — a designer's hand guiding a spontaneous appearance of species — behind the rise of complex life. It's the sort of completely untestable idea that doesn't gain much traction among the editors and reviewers of scholarly journals.

And so, according to his own list of published work, Bohlin's name was never attached to another peer-reviewed scientific study after his paper on gophers in 1982. Faith in a theory for which there is no experiment turned out to be a dead end. Yet he may be the only creationist to have participated in naming a new species, which is exactly what makes him so valuable to a movement that has worked for decades to scrub Charles Darwin from Texas public schools.

Ray Bohlin educated himself about evolution so he could stop public schools from teaching it.
Mark Graham
Ray Bohlin educated himself about evolution so he could stop public schools from teaching it.
Mavis Knight, Texas State Board of Education member from Dallas, says upcoming textbook votes are creationists' last big shot at influence.
Mark Graham
Mavis Knight, Texas State Board of Education member from Dallas, says upcoming textbook votes are creationists' last big shot at influence.
Textbook reviewer Dr. Ron Wetherington, an SMU professor, says textbook publishers are ignoring creationists' demands.
Mark Graham
Textbook reviewer Dr. Ron Wetherington, an SMU professor, says textbook publishers are ignoring creationists' demands.

Details

On a recent morning in Plano, Bohlin stood beneath a chandelier made of antlers, roughly the size of a small truck, in the Hope Center — some 185,000 square feet of hunting-lodge style, rough-hewn rock façade, rustic leather furniture and exposed wooden beams. It houses more than 40 separate Christian organizations in a complex on Plano Parkway, including Bohlin's own Probe Ministries. On the second floor, Probe fights for the everlasting souls of American youth from a warren of offices, balustered by rising stacks of science textbooks and Christian literature.

Bohlin looks like a college biology professor, pale, square-jawed, peering out through glasses beneath an Indiana Jones fedora emblazoned with the words "Grand Canyon." It's actually the subject of one of his trademark lectures. He takes his audience on a virtual tour of our national testament to unfathomable geologic time and offers explanations for how the biblical flood may have created it far later than mainstream science would have them believe.

He grew up a Catholic boy on Chicago's south side, destined for the priesthood. He ended up a zoology undergrad at the University of Illinois, where he daydreamed about becoming a park ranger and living a life of solitude. That all changed when he befriended a group of evangelical Christians. Bohlin was fascinated by this passionate strain of belief. He adopted its vibrant spirituality as his own, though he wondered how he should reconcile God with the theory at the root of every life science course he enrolled in. The Catholic Church had long since come to the conclusion that evolution need not contradict faith. Many evangelicals, however, still look upon it as a repudiation of a Bible meant to be taken literally.

In the school library one day, he struck upon the answer to the questions that deviled him. He picked up a book written by Henry Morris, a Rice University civil engineering professor credited for being the "father of modern creation science." Morris opened Bohlin's eyes to what he says was the only scientific rationale he'd ever seen for the six-day creation of earth.

"That raised questions in my head," he says. "I got fascinated by it."

In 1975, he connected with Probe Ministries, a group of campus evangelists who hoped to challenge secularism on its home turf. Bohlin desperately wanted to join them, to spread the gospel of evolution's fallacies. But to take his place in that fight, he needed to understand what he hoped to disprove. "They said, 'You just have a bachelor's degree.' When I got to Probe, my education began immediately. If I'm going to be a critic of evolution, I have to make sure I understand in detail how it's supposed to work."

Bohlin invested years of his life in the graduate program at North Texas and the molecular biology doctoral program at the University of Texas at Dallas, absorbing everything he must refute. While his fellow students accepted a theory that had stood unchallenged by science for more than a century, Bohlin believed he alone was capable of assessing evolution with a critical eye. He admits, though, that his conclusions may already have been deeply entrenched. To alter his view of creation, he says, "would have required a major shift in personal and professional connections with people."

Outside the halls of academia, meanwhile, secularism was spreading before his eyes. "The Catholic and Protestant churches in Europe are museums," he says. "They gave in to that culture war for whatever reason. We can see the seeds of that same process here. These seeds are already germinating in some parts of the country."

To beat back creeping secularism, Bohlin now ministers to Christian high school students, putting on seminars to "arm" them for the godless worldview that will pervade their college education. He teaches them about "current problems with evolution" like the "sudden appearance" of species and the "gaps" in the fossil record, all better explained, he says, by the supernatural, by a "design motif." Biologists have long attested that such "gaps," where they exist, are better explained by organisms that do not readily fossilize than by the divine materialization of whole species. Paleontologists have unearthed incredible troves of transitional fossils bridging the divide.

But there were other ways for Bohlin to reach these college-bound believers — ways to affect the discussion on a scale his ministry never could. His great investment in a field he entered to debunk had led him to the Texas State Board of Education, where he was appointed to be an expert reviewer of high-school biology textbooks.

This, he believes, is where the war against secularism will be won or lost.

"If we were to interview 100 individuals who were raised in the church, believed everything and have since fallen away, I bet a majority would say at least that the things they learned in science class were a part of that pulling away," he says.

"I think there is a definite need and, in Texas, a definite opportunity to have an influence that goes beyond the people I can speak to in a lifetime."

If public high school texts identified the "gaps" he saw so clearly in the theory of evolution, it would be a victory sorely needed for a movement that had spent the last few decades backpedaling from court ruling after adverse court ruling. If, along with the other like-minded reviewers, he could add the presence of alternatives to Darwin, they would be distributed in Texas high school classrooms for a decade or more.

In pitched battles to shape the curriculum, board of education members and interest groups have attempted to filter public education through lenses both religious and ideological. Beneath the banner of science and critical thought, they've called upon well-educated ministers like Bohlin to press their personal religious beliefs on reluctant textbook publishers. And for decades, the publishers acquiesced, fearing a freeze-out from the lucrative Texas market.

But highly placed stakeholders — ranging from those in publishing to sitting board members — believe the culture warriors are losing the ability to run roughshod over state education. After years of alienating the Legislature, the state board has seen its influence weakened. A changing textbook marketplace has eroded Texas' clout, and technology is sweeping into the classroom, bringing with it the next generation of learning materials. The statewide reach of the culture warriors is ending.

The biggest test will take place when the state board considers a new high-school biology text next week. Another will follow in the ensuing months, as it takes up a new social studies text. How the state board and publishers respond to Bohlin's critiques, to his evolutionary "gaps," will determine whether the innuendo of God lingers in classroom discussions about evolution. It will determine whether the political ideology of an elected board shapes, by omission and addition, the history of America Texas students will learn for years hence.


Fighting over religion in public education is practically an American pastime. We've been doing it for more than a century, at least. Take the Nativist groups in Philadelphia. In 1844, they began spreading baseless rumors about a Catholic initiative to remove the Bible from public schools. In the midst of an economic downturn, this inflamed Protestant animus toward a growing Irish immigrant population. Riots broke out. Two Catholic churches were torched.

Nobody's burning houses of worship over education nowadays, but the fear of secularism and modernity remains as potent as ever. Yet it wasn't until the Gablers came along that this fear took shape in Texas and assumed power. To look at them, you would never have guessed that Mel and Norma Gabler inspired both respect and terror in the hearts of the country's biggest textbook publishers throughout the '60s, '70s and '80s. Mel, a retired Exxon clerk, looked like a deacon in a small-town Baptist church. And Norma, who raised their children, could have been anyone's favorite grandmother.

In their Longview home, every corner was given over to barricading walls of textbooks. A paper stop sign hung from the front window, telegraphing their intention to halt the relativist takeover of what they believed was a world of absolutes. As their well-known origin story goes, son Jim found that a printed version of the Gettysburg Address differed from the photograph of the document itself in his encyclopedia. Most troubling, the printed version omitted "under God." He showed this to his father, who began leafing through Jim's textbooks, searching for other errors. He was outraged by what he found. And he learned that he could make his voice heard through a little-used citizen textbook review process. Gabler set to ferreting out errors and dispatched Mrs. Gabler to Austin in 1962 to serve as his proxy before the state board of education.

She told Bill Martin, a University of Texas professor who wrote a 1987 Texas Monthly profile of the couple, that she'd never traveled that far on her own before.

She arrived with a lengthy catalog of falsehoods, many glaring and legitimate (no, we did not drop an atom bomb during the Korean War, she correctly pointed out). It was the '60s, in a deeply patriarchal society, and along came this diminutive housewife from East Texas, who had no college degree and was clearly relishing the act of telling pointy-headed New York publishers just what they'd gotten wrong. And because she was so often right, they had no choice but to listen. The Gablers founded Educational Research Analysts in 1961. Funded through donations, they hired serious-minded believers like Neal Frey, a professor at a small Christian liberal arts college in New York, to help them page through mountains of material. In a 12-by-15-foot bedroom next to the garage in the Gablers' house, Frey and a colleague spent as much as two months sifting through each textbook, searching not just for purely factual errors, but keeping an eye out for what they deemed relativist erosions of traditional, Judeo-Christian morality, free-market principles, patriotism and abstinence-only sex education. They decried a history textbook that paired Martin Luther, the 16th century theologian who sparked the Reformation, with Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights icon. "Martin Luther was a religiously dedicated, nonviolent man," the Gablers complained in one objection.

In a passage about the women's movement for equal pay, Gabler warned that it could come only at the expense of their greatest calling: "molding young lives."

They were deeply opposed to evolution being taught to the exclusion of other possibilities. "Most people do not consider themselves animals," Gabler wrote. In 1970, the state board issued an "anti-dogmatism" proclamation, threatening to reject any text that didn't include a statement affirming that evolution was a theory, not a fact, and only one of several possible explanations for the proliferation of species. Some publishers responded by simply excising any mention of the word "evolution."

"They believed that if you turn away from absolutes, you are on your way to turning away from God entirely. The Gablers were the first people to have taken this on in such a systematic way," Martin, who chronicled the Gablers' fight in the '80s, tells the Observer. "And nobody else had anything like the kind of impact they had."

Adoption by the state board at the time was vital to the success of a textbook, and publishers were willing to make almost any changes to earn a spot on Texas' restrictive list of five approved textbooks per subject. With Texas, publishers could recoup the cost of production in a single state. Everything else after that was profit. It also meant that the peccadilloes of special interests like Mel and Norma Gabler reverberated not just through the Lone Star State but through much of the country.

Norma and Mel Gabler never became complacent. They never rested on their laurels, basking in victory and the outsize scale of their influence. Said Neal Frey, the man who took over the Gablers' Educational Research Analysts: "One of the aspects of Gabler's genius is that he knew this battle is never finally won. It has to be refought. Our opponents never go away. We're not going to either."


Big money came to the state board in the form of a pediatric dentist from San Antonio named Bob Offutt. In 1992, he was elected with the help of his benefactor, James Leininger, founder of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank. Leininger made his fortune selling high-tech hospital beds. He made his mark on the state by pushing tort reform and injecting heretofore unheard of amounts of cash into state board education elections. He was also, by no coincidence, a staunch advocate for a school voucher system.

From then on, the sideshow at the state board wasn't just the public testimony, it was the state board itself. Offutt wasted no time picking up the Gablers' standard. He invited testimony before the board from Phyllis Schafly's Eagle Forum. He railed against political correctness and homosexuality. And in 1994, he transformed the state board from a body known mostly as a forum for Gabler-like protests against evolution and sex education into the most ideologically driven and divided deliberative body in Texas. Almost overnight, Offutt brought knock-down-drag-out politics to once quiet races.

With Leininger's backing and infrastructure, he chose uncompromising, hyper-conservative candidates. In one race, they used Leininger's direct-mail company to distribute leaflets depicting a black man and a white woman, both half-naked and kissing, to mailboxes in East Texas. It accused the Democratic incumbent, a churchgoing grandmother, of attempting to teach oral and anal sex to school children. When the polls closed, the state board had won its first Republican majority.

The board demanded abstinence-only health textbooks and succeeded in excising a line drawing of a woman performing a breast self-exam. In another book, they objected to a photo of a woman carrying a briefcase in favor of one with another woman removing a cake from the oven.

When Congress passed Goals 2000 — the forerunner to No Child Left Behind — the board bucked Governor George W. Bush, who was in favor of the grant program. They loudly decried it as a federal takeover of Texas schools. Perhaps in response, Bush backed an education reform bill in 1995, relieving the state board of its absolute power over textbook content and selection. School districts had always been limited to the state board's approved list of textbooks if they wanted state money. Those days were over. There would be no more highly circumscribed lists. The only determination the political body was allowed to make was whether the books covered the curriculum, were factually accurate and met manufacturing standards.

The legislation, shepherded by Senator Bill Ratliff, was aimed, he said, at giving local control back to school districts. One size didn't fit Dallas any more than it might San Angelo. But it was difficult not to see a stern reprimand to an unruly and, lately, embarrassing state board.

If this was meant to be a lesson, though, the state board ignored it. If it couldn't find a factual justification for rejecting a textbook that met curriculum standards, the board would manufacture the shortcoming. In 1996, newly elected member David Bradley was dissatisfied with an algebra text, based partially on a reference in the book to women's suffrage. On the whole, it was a perfectly sound text. So, with no other recourse, he tore its cover off during a public hearing and held the pieces before a flabbergasted audience. "Ladies and gentlemen," he announced, "worthless binding. I reject this book."


Bradley was moderate compared with board members to come. Once again, James Leininger stepped in to underwrite the campaigns of a new generation of hardline candidates. In 2006, Republicans won 10 of 15 seats. Among them was Cynthia Dunbar, a firebrand who got her law degree at Pat Robertson's Regent University. She homeschooled her children. If you read her book, One Nation Under God: How the Left Is Trying to Erase What Made Us Great, you'd know why. She believes public education is "a subtly deceptive tool of perversion." Any parent who'd send their child to one might as well toss them "into the enemy's flames even as the children of Israel threw their children to Moloch."

Thus, the tone for the adoption of a new statewide curriculum was set.

Governor Rick Perry appointed Don McLeroy, a dentist and young-earth creationist from Bryan, to serve as chairman. McLeroy, in turn, named Bill Ames to a writing team made up of educators charged with setting the social studies curriculum. The former IBM exec, Texas Minuteman and Eagle Forum member believed his fellow team members were liberal plants. Senator Joseph McCarthy, whose name is synonymous with unsubstantiated red-baiting, should be treated as an "American hero," in Ames' view.

"Listen very closely to Bill Ames," McLeroy instructed the educators. "He speaks for a lot of Texas citizens."

With the team at an impasse, the board appointed a panel of experts to shepherd the process. Among them was David Barton, the former vice chair of the Texas Republican Party and founder of Wallbuilders Inc., whose sole purpose is to disprove the U.S. Constitution's separation of church and state. Joining him was Peter Marshall, a minister from Massachusetts, who believes Watergate, Hurricane Katrina and the Vietnam War are the nation's penance for sexual lasciviousness.

As the board hammered out a science curriculum, the atmosphere was no less charged. Students would have to "analyze and evaluate" all sides of the climate-change debate. Any reference to the age of the earth was stricken.

McLeroy hoped to include a requirement that students consider the "strengths and weaknesses" of the theory of evolution. It was the best a young-earth creationist could hope to get into public schools. A U.S. Supreme Court decision found that teaching creationism was unconstitutional. Later, a federal judge reached the same conclusion about its scientific-sounding successor, intelligent design. In Dover, Pennsylvania, school board officials provided an intelligent design textbook called Of Pandas and People, authored by the Discovery Institute, a religious think tank of which Raymond Bohlin is a fellow. It was part of the board's new requirement that students be told of theories contradicting evolution. The plaintiff in the lawsuit — a mother of a student — argued that intelligent design was creationism gussied up with a patina of science.

Barbara Forrest, a Southeastern Louisiana University philosophy professor, found evidence that it was in fact religion in a lab coat when she discovered an earlier draft of Of Pandas and People. It was nearly identical to the newest edition in the library touting intelligent design, apart from some typos. Apparently, while the Discovery Institute was hastily replacing the word "creationists" in the text with "design proponents," they created a mash-up: "cdesign proponentsists."

This slip-up as much as anything else contributed to the ruling that dealt the movement to keep God in science yet another massive setback.

McLeroy would have to subsist on semantics and doubt-seeding. But the idea of asking high-school students to judge the "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution spurred the science community into action. Beneath the glare of national attention, his measure failed by a single vote.

In McLeroy's infamous call to arms, he implored his colleagues: "Somebody's gotta stand up to these experts!"

Bohlin offered testimony, contending that there were limits to the kind of change wrought by evolution, which could not account for the complexity of life on earth. He succeeded in requiring that students "analyze and evaluate the sufficiency of scientific explanations concerning any data of sudden appearance, stasis, and the sequential nature of groups in the fossil record." It was a major victory for McLeroy and the hardliners on the board.

But the curriculum-adoption antics were seen as yet another embarrassing episode, and a weary Legislature signaled its disapproval when the Texas Senate adjourned without reappointing McLeroy as chairman.

And in 2011, lawmakers dealt a second blow to the state board's authority. Now, not only was it no longer allowed to edit textbooks for content, it had lost all control over the purse strings. School districts would be allowed to pull from the textbook and materials fund and purchase whatever they chose to — laptops, open-source materials developed by universities — so long as they covered the curriculum.

The same year, McLeroy was unseated by Senator Bill Ratliff's son, Thomas. It could not have gone unnoticed that the man who'd escalated the culture wars lost to the son of a senator who'd pushed through the first legislation to curb the state board's excesses.


Ray Bohlin isn't allowed to discuss his review of a Pearson high-school biology text, but the Texas Freedom Network, a nonprofit that has long opposed the "Christian Right's" incursion into public schools, secured a leaked copy this summer. In it, he questioned the link between carbon dioxide and a warming planet. He claimed the text repeatedly fails to "grapple with the accumulating and contrary and refuting evidence" against climate change and human evolution.

In a section about molecules and the origins of life, he chided the textbook authors, Dr. Kenneth Miller of Brown University and Dr. Joseph Levine, course director for the Organization for Tropical Studies, for what he characterized as an outdated presentation of the science, urging them to "catch up." He suggested they read Stephen C. Meyer's Signature in the Cell but neglected to mention that Meyer is a colleague of his at the Discovery Institute, and that the book's full title is actually Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design. In a review written by the journal Perspectives of Science and Christian Faith, which has long promoted theistic evolution, Meyer's book was panned as "a layman's attempt to overturn an entire field of research based on a surface-level understanding (and, at times, significant misunderstanding or ignorance) of the relevant science, published in a form that bypasses review by qualified peers, and that is marketed directly to a non-specialist audience. This is not good science, nor science in any meaningful sense."

Another reviewer of a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt text, a dietician at Texas A&M, felt "very firmly that 'Creation science' based on Biblical principles should be incorporated in every Biology textbook up for adoption."

Teaching creationism in public schools has been unconstitutional for more than 25 years.

In a separate review of the same Pearson text — one of the most widely used textbooks in the country — the panel recommended rejection. Among the panelists was Ide Trotter, an ardent believer in intelligent design and a chemical engineer by training. Dr. Ron Wetherington, a Southern Methodist University anthropology professor, called the review a "rant" laced with "non-sequiturs."

It's the only strategy proponents of creationism and intelligent design have left, he says. "There are no intelligent people on the side of creationism who are still urging the teaching of creationism in form or function," Wetherington tells the Observer. "It's not worth it for them to do that, so they're putting all their eggs in the basket of undermining evolution."

That's where Bohlin and the gaps in the fossil record he touts come in.

Trotter, for his part, agrees that intelligent design can't be advanced by the strength of faith. "When you argue a technical matter and evoke theological reasoning, it discredits your argument," he says. "There's no reason to do that when science is going your way."

It's too early to tell whether, in this textbook adoption, the wind is beginning to turn in Trotter's direction. So far, Pearson hasn't been willing to bend. "I reviewed the publisher's response to this. In this particular case, the publisher said, 'Up yours, we're not going to change anything,'" Wetherington said.

The true test of whether the culture wars will be recapitulated comes with the state board of education's response to Pearson's defiance when it votes on science texts November 22. Thomas Ratliff, the board's vice chair, says the bad old days have passed. "I don't think you'll see those revisions make it into the books," Ratliff says. "I don't think the votes are there, and I think [the reviewers] are one of residual leftovers from the previous board."

But even if a hardline faction on the board does have the votes, school districts are free to make their own purchasing decisions now, so what's the practical effect of the board's vote? A thorough vetting from the state board still represents a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval that smaller districts will rely on to ensure their books meet Texas' curriculum standards. The board's vote will be influential for years to come, but is no longer the edict in once was.

That's why publishers are less willing to make scientifically and historically challenged revisions to their books to appease a small coterie of partisans. "The new system has emboldened publishers. There's no question about that," says the author of a popular biology text, who asked to remain unidentified while his book is under consideration. "Previously, if you weren't approved by the state board of education, you did not sell books in Texas. When Texas adopts, it can amount to 40 percent of your national sales. For sales staff in the past, if you didn't get approved in Texas, those people starved. This year, even if a program is not approved, or is labeled non-conforming, it's more of a free-market situation."

National curricula like Common Core, adopted now by all but five states (among them Texas) have created far larger potential markets. As schools rely increasingly on digital materials, the doors to the classroom will be flung open to content from providers outside of the major publishing houses. "The people who are interested in affecting this have to deal with the here and now because they don't know what will be in place eight to 10 years from now when the [textbook adoption] cycle begins again," said lobbyist David Anderson, a former vice president at publisher Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

To influence what winds up on students' desks, school districts may become just as important, if not more so, than the state board. The trouble is, there are more than a thousand of them in Texas. "From a statewide perspective, this will be their last big shot," said Mavis Knight, the state board member from Dallas.

What then becomes of Bohlin's war for souls? And is that a war the culture warriors could ever concede, no matter how difficult it becomes? "What matters is: What difference does my review make?" he says. "If I'm feeling like most of the school districts are ignoring what I did anyway, I think even the state board would have to review whether it's even worth it."

Barbara Forrest, the professor who found the smoking gun in early drafts of Of Pandas and People, unearthed something else not too long ago: A fundraising document not meant for public consumption that laid out the Discovery Institute's long game. If we were not created in God's image, separate and apart from the rest of the animal kingdom, what are we? This understanding, they write, is the bedrock of democracy, free enterprise and human rights.

"Yet a little over a century ago, this cardinal idea came under wholesale attack by intellectuals drawing on the discoveries of science. Debunking both the traditional conceptions of both God and man, thinkers such as Charles Darwin, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud portrayed humans not as moral, spiritual beings, but as animals or machines who inhabited a universe ruled by purely impersonal forces and whose behavior and very thoughts were dictated by the unbending forces of biology, chemistry and environment. This materialistic conception of reality infected virtually every area of our culture, from politics and economics to literature and art."

They saw this moral crumbling in product liability lawsuits and welfare and criminal justice at a time when "personal responsibility" lost meaning in an atavistic culture.

The institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, which counts Bohlin as a fellow, sought "nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies."

"If we view the predominant materialistic science as a giant tree, our strategy is to function as a wedge that, while relatively small, can split the trunk when applied to its weakest points."

It details five-, 10- and 20-year plans to see intelligent design become the dominant theory. They're looking far beyond whatever victories or losses they receive in Texas. They're looking to a future in which faith and science are indistinguishable, and where faith and society are inextricable.

Show Pages
 
My Voice Nation Help
257 comments
dyoung112060
dyoung112060

ID is a form Fantasy Fairy Land Belief !


It has NO basis in reality and only has a basis in BELIEF, Hence the NEED for MY definition of the Word Belief:


"The Act of Believing is the Act of Pretending that Pretending is something MORE then Pretending"


This is the mental functioning of CHILDREN !

And Adults that HOLD onto this way of Mental Function ARE retarded because they have REFUSED to allow themselves to become ADULTS !

Giving UP making Believe is the FOREFRONT of entering Adult Mental Function !


And for the Simple minded among us I will break it down for you:


These Folks simply REFUSE to grow Up !

wf3h
wf3h

I've actually spent some time on the Probe ministry website, read some of Bohlin's writings and find nothing there that's science. He selectively attacks science while casually asserting ID can explain what science can't. Since ID can explain why my tire went flat, why the sky is blue, and, in fact, anything at all (and its opposite), it's not science.

In addition, no scientific theory succeeds because its competitors are wrong. Even if evolution were wrong (and it's not), that STILL wouldn't make ID a theory. Unless he can tell us HOW it works, it's simply not science.

Amazing he could get a PhD doing experimental work and still  not understand the basics of science. Quite frankly, the man's not a scientist. Whatever he's doing, it's not science.

rbohlin
rbohlin

I have just received my official release from the "No Contact Rule" imposed by the Texas Education Agency on all official reviewers of Proclamation 2014 materials. Therefore I intend to make a few comments on the article in which I have been featured.

First, though the picture caption states "Ray Bohlin educated himself about evolution so he could stop public schools from teaching it." That's just not true. I don't know where Brantley would have gotten that impression from our interview. In the late 70s when I was at UNT studying evolution, I had no idea I would have any influence on what was contained in biology textbooks. My intent was to understand evolution.

Second, the article seems to imply and several commenters have indicated that with my knowledge of the evidence for evolution, the only way they can understand my rejection of Darwinian evolution is because my religious convictions simply prevent me from accepting it. Some commenters went so far as to declare me mentally unstable. This is just incredibly sad. The only way some can comprehend my rejection of Darwinian evolution is to indicate it has nothing to do with the scientific evidence itself. As any human being, I am a complex assortment of philosophical, academic, personal and even emotional commitments and conclusions. Yes, I am a Christian. But as I told Brantley, I emerged from my time studying evolution as a more firm skeptic than when I began, precisely because of what I learned. My PhD work in molecular and cell biology further confirmed to me that standard evolutionary mechanisms are unable to accomplish all that it must for a fully Darwinian account to be accurate.

Third, while my views were deeply entrenched, it's wild conjecture to suggest the end was predetermined before I began. I remember thinking about what would happen if I found evolution to be eminently reasonable. The only reason such a thought would enter my mind, was if I at least considered the possibility that I was wrong.

Last, though the textbooks have been adopted as is for the most part, the one textbook that the publisher is being asked to address a significant number of factual errors, is the Pearson, Miller and Levine textbook I reviewed in the first round. This text is little more than a propaganda piece for the evolutionary establishment. Evolution is inserted in almost any discussion whether appropriate or not. I stand by my critical comments already published by TFN. Numerous outdated talking points are repeated with no indication the authors have kept up with the relevant research. For well over a decade, the origin of life research field has declared in the literature that they have walked backward since the Miller/Urey experiment and there is no working paradigm. The Cambrian explosion is minimized and dismissed. Current literature says otherwise. The gap between potential ancestors and the significant degree of sophistication of multiple multicellular body plans only gets wider the more we know. And no one seems to notice that Ken Miller's repeated defense of evolution in the public, academic and legal arenas could clearly be motivated by money as anything else. His biology textbook would take a huge hit in sales if evolution is severely weakened. He's just protecting his investment.

Well, enough for now. I'm not sure I will bother to respond to any further comments. I'll judge that one at a time.

nmanningsam
nmanningsam

It is a good thing that Texas no longer has the influence that it once did in determining textbook content.  It was bad enough when they 'voted' to re-write history to make it more right-wing friendly, but trying to equate an idiosyncratic literalist view of Genesis with modern-day science is absurd.

bbetzen
bbetzen

This discussion is a sad reflection on the Texas State Board of Education who cannot define science. I am thankful for the leadership of Mavis Knight out there fighting this noble battle for us all.

Devarate
Devarate

To say that the theory of evolution is, "a theory that had stood unchallenged by science for more than a century..." is GROSSLY incorrect!!!! Every experiment and every observation challenges this theory. That is what science is, it's a never ending process. The fact that evolution is continually validated is what makes it such a strong theory, so please don't say that scientific theories are left unchallenged for X amount of time, it is just incorrect!

wasabi1
wasabi1

This is all more complicated than painting Bohlin, and others, as simply misled figures to be sorry for. This isn't just exclusively misled people being subject to human bias and making poor observations about how the world works: There's an element of active deception at play. I'm pretty sure that's what Brantley is trying to say by pointing out Ray's history and education.

The man knows better. And if you take a couple of minutes to go read his papers, his recent ones, published on his Probe site, it's hard to come away from it without thinking he is being actively dishonest. He quote mines in a most egregious fashion. He misrepresents the views of others that he is more than educated enough to know he's misrepresenting. He lies. Actual lies. Telling falsehoods that he likely knows are false.

I don't know how this fits together in somebody's head. It confuses me. To believe things you know are lies isn't something I've ever been capable of, and yet I'm sure he believes them. When I realize something is false, I stop believing it. I could then go lie about it, sure. But I can't continue to believe it at the same time.

I don't know if this is some advanced mental flexibility, or something actually broken.

rbohlin
rbohlin

@dyoung112060 You are certainly allowed to create your own definitions and categories. That doesn't mean they are relevant to me or any other adult. My convictions are firmly grounded in reality and truth. I'm not pretending as you seem to believe. Your own definitions seem to be far more rooted in belief that reality.

Your frustration is evident and it would seem our discussion has run its course.

Enjoy your weekend.

rbohlin
rbohlin

@wf3h I appreciate you taking the time to read some of my articles. But I would guess you went there predisposed to reject whatever you found. Sound familiar? That's the same reason given in the article and by other comments here on how I could still reject evolution after my education. Just because one has a point of view does not negate one's ability to analyze and think critically. I don't doubt your ability to do so reading my articles and I can do the same studying evolution.

ID is not a theory specifying how things operate in the physical universe. It is useful as a theory explaining the origin of certain features of the universe and living world. The biggest hurdle for a naturalistic theory of evolution is the origin of both the operation of DNA in living systems and the origin of the genetic code. DNA requires proteins to work properly, even replication, and the proteins are coded for by the DNA. Which came first? Both must be present, even in the simplest origin of life scenario. And the proteins and DNA must be quite specific to function properly. We know of no naturalistic theory of the origin of complex specified information (Shannon Information theory is useless here. It's just a measure of complexity without meaning attached to it.). However, if we simply use the uniformitarian principle that the present is the key to the past, we do know that intelligence has the ability to create complex specified information in the present so it's reasonable to postulate that intelligence has done so in the past when we consider the origin of genetic information and its processing.

I don't know how it would "work" but we also don't know how the origin of life would work naturalistically either, yet millions take it on faith.

wf3h
wf3h

@rbohlin It's unfortunate we scientists have to continually correct the distortions to science uneducated hacks like Dr Bohlin do. I know he has a PhD in molecular biology. That does not make  him a scientist. Were he to tell us voodoo is science, his PhD would be equally useless. 

Intelligent design is a non-theory. It has no mechanism. Evolution does. Intelligent design tells us nothing about the development of life on earth. Its ONLY 'evidence' is that 'evolution is false'.  That's NOT how science works, and it's why Bohlin isn't a scientist.

It's gratifying to see Texas finally rejecting the sham theology and science pushed by fanatics like Bohlin. It's a disgrace he's even in the game with his half baked ideas, but that's Texas politics.

usiel99
usiel99

@rbohlin

"My intent was to understand evolution."

To understand evolution? Or to understand evolution so as to be better equipped in arguing against it? Other details in the article strongly imply the latter. We'll have to trust you, as a Christian, if you insist it's merely the former. I'm sure you understand the importance of the distinction.

"the only way they can understand my rejection of Darwinian evolution is because my religious convictions simply prevent me from accepting it"

Whether we like it or not, religion has a well-deserved reputation for eroding critical thinking in favor of thoughtless dogma. I struggle to understand how anyone can follow the scientific method up to but not including the domains they reserve for unsupported, scientifically unjustified "faith". It really shouldn't be a surprise when others assume the influence of extant religious convictions when a molecular biologist disputes the concept of evolution in favor of a wholly evidence-free supernatural explanation. It would be one thing if you were challenging the details of Natural Selection, if you felt the true story of evolution had yet to be fully understood or explained... that's not really what you're saying, is it?

 Let's admit to ourselves how few scientists there are who thoroughly reject the concept of evolution for scientific reasons.... who AREN'T deeply religious and/or motivated by religious conviction.

"The only reason such a thought would enter my mind, was if I at least considered the possibility that I was wrong."

Faith is powerful. If it wasn't, it wouldn't have persisted this long in the face of contradiction.

"This text is little more than a propaganda piece for the evolutionary establishment."

 I can see how you'd feel that way, given your perspective. I'm sure Newtonian Proponentsists feel the same way about Quantum Theory in physics textbooks. But modern evolutionary synthesis is a foundational basis for our scientific understanding of biology today, as agreed upon by the vast majority of your peers. Is it really a nefarious plot to sell books when such a concept is prominently featured in biology texts?


brantley.hargrove1
brantley.hargrove1

@rbohlin Glad to see you chiming in here, Dr. Bohlin. When you say, "If I'm going to be a critic of evolution, I have to make sure I understand in detail how it's supposed to work," it suggests a predetermined set of beliefs about the proliferation of species. 

Regarding our discussion about whether your mind could have been changed during your studies, you said you weren't really sure, that you hoped you could be open-minded, but that to alter your view of creation "would have required a major shift in personal and professional connections with people."

I don't think I'm conjuring from thin air when I say that your education in the field was undertaken to become a more effective critic.

dyoung112060
dyoung112060

@rbohlin"The Cambrian explosion is minimized and dismissed."

In which Text Books is this dismissed?


Its difficult to believe  that such a IMPORTANT period could be overlooked !

dyoung112060
dyoung112060

@wasabi1  

Of course there is deception here, he is a freaking fundie !

Explain where there is anyone in the I D camp that isn't completely full of it, please.


these morons desire to keep their children as stupid as they are so their children can still look up to them is all this nonsense is about !

wf3h
wf3h

@rbohlin @wf3h Yes, I reject pseudo science. I reject chicken entrail reading, astrology, necromancy and creationism. You're correct. That's what scientists do. 

You don't think critically. You don't consider evidence. You have your religion and it trumps evidence. 

If ID is not a theory 'specifying how things operate in the physical universe' then, by DEFINITION, it's not science.  

You want to play god of the gaps? That's your best argument. Science can't tell us about the origin of DNA? So what? That's what RESEARCH is for. Remember your PhD work? Research?

So go ahead. Appeal to your god of the gaps argument. 150 years ago, demons were blamed for disease  until we learned about germs. Your god gets smaller every day.

Intelligence does not function without natural law. THere is not one single thing ever manufactured by intelligence...not one...that does not use a natural process...like evolution...to create anything.

Tell you what. You show me where once in human history supernaturalism was right. Show me where intelligence did NOT use a natural process, like EVOLUTION, and I'll concede you're right AND I'll become a creationist.

Deal? Othewise you're wrong.

rbohlin
rbohlin

@wf3h @rbohlin Intelligent Design does posit that intelligence can account for the origin of informational codes in living things where evolution simply isn't up to the task. It's not just "evolution is false." I apologize for leading you to think I'm just a hack and fanatic. Perhaps if we should ever meet I might correct that perception. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

rbohlin
rbohlin

@usiel99 @rbohlin I appreciate the tone of your response. Nefarious plot? No not really. That's not what I meant. I was referring to Miller in simply pointing out that he has a conflict of interest in defending Darwinian evolution as he does in so many venues because he needs to protect his professional and monetary investment in his long-published high school biology textbook.

Some people of a religious viewpoint indeed do shut off their brain. It's not a universal trait however. Truth has always mattered to me. I have tested and measured my religious convictions many times. I have read far more evolutionary biology texts and trade books than those regarding Intelligent Design. I'm not at all interested in keeping the "faithful" in the dark about the "real" facts. I'll admit that there are fossils for instance that in a fully naturalistic worldview will appear to be a series of transitional forms. My contention is that the fossil record as a whole does not support Darwinian gradualism or even the now disappearing punctuated equilibrium. My 1984 book "The Natural Limits to Biological Change" examines the evidence for both and finds the evidence lacking. My supervising professor at UNT read the book in manuscript form and though he still disagreed with me he agreed that evolution was treated fairly and accurately. I do the same when speaking to church groups, Christian schools, and universities.

dyoung112060
dyoung112060

@usiel99 @rbohlin  

Nah, he thinks its a nefarious plot to SLOW the sales of Bible, Not to mention its an attempt to quell a desire for a Theocratic Government

rbohlin
rbohlin

@brantley.hargrove1 @rbohlin Yes, I had my beliefs, though I prefer the word convictions. That doesn't mean they were set in stone as it were. There are plenty of examples of students like the young Will Provine who thought he could prove his professor wrong about evolution. But eventually succumbed to evidence he could explain no other way. You went beyond my actual statement. About the major shift statement, I was merely stating the obvious concerning my personal and professional connections. James Shapiro from the University of Chicago and Thomas Nagel from New York University have faced blistering criticism for their anti-Darwinian views. I'm sure they thought about the risks to their professional and personal connections before publishing. I'm no different.

My "not sure" comment was more in reference to my indicating that these events were over 30 years ago in the late 70s. I don't really trust my judgment of my thoughts back then. This works both ways though. How many Darwinian evolutionists enter a graduate program open-minded enough to follow the evidence wherever it leads. Few to none I would argue.

I failed to mention in my first comment that I was pleasantly surprised by the article. I received fairer treatment than I expected from the Dallas Observer. I am familiar enough with the media to k now that just because our interview went well, I can't really judge until the article appears. The fact that some felt you gave me too much credit says you were closer to neutral than not. For that I say thank you. Hopefully that comment doesn't bring in more rejections. :-)

rbohlin
rbohlin

@dyoung112060 I was referring to the Pearson textbook by Miller and Levine. On a chart on page 560, the term "Cambrian explosion" is used and is referred to as an adaptive radiation. The usual explanation for this sudden appearance is used of hard body parts being fossilized for the first time. However, the Ediacaran was just prior to this explosion and the fossils are all soft-bodied, so the ancestors of the Cambrian should have appeared if they were there. The Cambrian is given it's own section on page 753 in the chapter on Invertebrate Evolution and diversity. They acknowledge that "These fossils show animals that evolved complex body plans, including specialized cells, tissues, and organs over about 10-15 million years." Yet these two short paragraph do not elaborate on the incredible sudden appearance of over a dozen new body plans in such a short relative time frame is why the term Explosion is even used. One of the features of the Burgess Shale in Canada and the Chengjiang in China (both mentioned) is the exquisite preservation of soft-bodied animals and the soft parts of those with hard parts.

It is mentioned but only in a cursory way with no mention of why these fossils are so unusual. Students are given no hint as to the enduring mystery of the Cambrian and that it remains an incredible hot research topic.

One other  misstep in this section is the use of a cladogram on the next page (754) showing how the animal phyla are connected in time and morphology. They rightfully say that the cladogram represents "hypotheses" about these relationships but then connect the nodes with solid lines but use a dashed line to connect to vertebrates. To be fully accurate, all the lines should be dashed. Using unbroken lines will give students the impression that these connections are secure. We all know that most students will just look at the pictures and not pay close attention to the caption.

plainsman1
plainsman1

@dyoung112060  

Perhaps by minimized and dismissed he means 'not turned into meaningless fodder for apologists', like Stephen C. Meyer managed in his preposterous book  "Darwin's Doubt".

wasabi1
wasabi1

@dyoung112060 @wasabi1 You need to understand something. Most of these people believe they are right. They are then not being deceptive when they say what their views are. They are being honest. They are wrong, yes, but only a minority of them in my view are actually deceptive. 

Ray, I believe to be so, because of his education. Most other fundamentalists I've met I do not consider deceptive. Just misled.

I've had a great personal conversation with Ray. He's a smart, nice man. I would imagine he starts by thinking his deception is genuinely for the best. And then maybe he ends up believing his own lies a bit later.

But he's not an evil person. It's way more complicated than how you want to make it out to be.

You do not win any points by calling people morons, and asserting they have motives you do not know they do.

wf3h
wf3h

@rbohlin @wf3h You can always rely on creationists to use cliches in place of logic

Naturalism? It works. It always has. It requires no faith to say the sun rose yesterday so it will rise tomorrow. Go ahead. Prove me wrong..

And when...even once...has supernaturalism been right? Once would be nice. 

Yes I read Nagel's essay a few years ago. Illiterate. Truly. 

Consciousness is barely able to be defined at this point, so saying it 'can't be explained' is saying nothing. And it's more

God of the gaps. That's what you have. God of the gaps. Another cliche. 

We can test naturalism. And it has ALWAYS been successful

You? You're reduced to 'special pleading', another fallacy. God of the gaps. Another fallacy. Reliance on supernaturalism which has ALWAYS been wrong

So you have 2 fallacies and a wrong idea. On that basis you say science is wrong.

Some achievement.

rbohlin
rbohlin

@wf3h @rbohlin I admire your faith in naturalism even when the evidence indicates it is at the end of itself. That's exactly the point of Thomas Nagel's "Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False." The Amazon description goes directly to your assertion about naturalism, "The modern materialist approach to life has conspicuously failed to explain such central mind-related features of our world as consciousness, intentionality, meaning, and value. This failure to account for something so integral to nature as mind, argues philosopher Thomas Nagel, is a major problem, threatening to unravel the entire naturalistic world picture, extending to biology, evolutionary theory, and cosmology."

Nagel maintains is atheism but freely admits that's because he doesn't want to believe in God. Perhaps it's the same for you.

Your challenge seems reasonable. But whenever offered by an unreasonable person. I hardly see the point. Whatever supernatural event I suggest you will never accept. However, I have suggested above one atheist's perspective of what naturalism hasn't explained and his complete lack of optimism that it ever will.

Have a great weekend.

rbohlin
rbohlin

@wf3h @rbohlin Show me a pathway that explains where translation comes from. Translation needs the genetic code and proteins coded by other genes to interpret the code. So far you have explained nothing, just a commentary of your impressions.

wf3h
wf3h

@rbohlin @wf3h Nonsense. Pure gibberish. We know proteins, just as complex as DNA, are completely translated by natural processes in the cell. Creationists make all kinds of extravagant claims about nothing. ID is ultimately god of the gaps. It can explain my flat tire, why the sky is blue, or purple or zebra colored. It explains nothing

rbohlin
rbohlin

@wf3h @rbohlin @usiel99 I think you miss the point and the distinction. When dealing with past events we only have clues by which we can suggest explanations. Sometimes the evidence seems to defy reliance of purely natural events as we understand them. It's quite possible that all the shortcomings of Darwinian evolution can be explained by an as yet unexplained natural process. If ID is simply the thorn in the flesh that causes reevaluation of the current model, that is how science is supposed to work. I don't see evidence of "miracle" in the ordinary workings of nature. You are correct that natural law is sufficient. But when talking about the origin of informational codes and genetic developmental programs of diverse body plans, it's quite possible that natural law is insufficient to account for these. If that is true, what could account for these appearances? Intelligence is one possibility and only a bias against such ideas rules them out before the discussion even begins.

wf3h
wf3h

@rbohlin @usiel99 "fully naturalistic". What in science ISN'T that? It's funny that the laws of nature, which apply across all science, are disgarded by Bohlin in favor of some hocus pocus woo, for evolution. Only politicians take creationists seriously. Scientists don't.

rbohlin
rbohlin

@dyoung112060 @rbohlin @usiel99 

Dominionist Agenda? If you really think that's going on, just go on thinking that. You will completely miss what is actually happening.

Honestly I found your response a bit bizarre. You claim rather detailed understanding of me and others like me. You're quite far away from reality. I'm sorry that your exposure to Christians have led to these conclusions. Not all Christians speak for everybody. We are actually a rather diverse group.

Yes, the Bible clearly states that the timing of your profession of faith doesn't matter. Jesus even told a parable about that. (Matthew 20:1-16)

Even Paul addressed your question in Romans 6:1. He admonishes the church that just because grace is afforded to those who sin does not mean we should sin even more. "May it never be," he says. You are greatly mistaken.

dyoung112060
dyoung112060

@rbohlin @dyoung112060 @usiel99  

You are a Fundamentalist from Texas, Doc !

every time some one puts down a Bible and says that can't be real, that is like someone is putting stones in your shoe and you know it !


you associate with those of the tea Party and others of the Libertarians and they are FULLY controlled by the Dominionist Agenda !


You really NEED to stop pretending the American People have no IDEA this is going on, WE DO !

The fact you think Morality is something the Government has to do with is the Main Problem !


Not to mention that the Concept of Morality by Christians of this Nation and these times is something that DOESN'T exist !

The REASON for this is the simple fact that you all have convinced your selves that all you need to do to be MORAL is to 'Profess Your Faith in Jesus being the Son Of God " at your time of death and ALL will be forgiven !


Exactly WHAT form of morality does that Produce?

A very LOOSE version of Morality is what that produces !

rbohlin
rbohlin

@dyoung112060 @usiel99 @rbohlin I receive no benefit from the sale of Bibles and I'm not the least bit interested in a Theocratic Government. Though as a voting citizen I take advantage of my rights to express my thoughts on issues relating to morality in the public square, especially when my scientific education can help explain certain convictions about life/death/free expression.

rbohlin
rbohlin

@dyoung112060 @rbohlin 10-15 million years is a very short time when considering the origin of phyla and classes. The origin of most of the orders and families of mammals in the Eocene took about just as long. I don't think your grappling with the immensity of the problem of observing whole new phyla appearing the Cambrian Explosion. The time period given is indeed quite sudden.

Hard shelled creatures had to evolve from something didn't they? Its assumed that soft-bodied organisms came first since that is principally what is found in the Vendian or the late Neoproterozoic as Valentine uses. Valentine provides a nifty graphic on page 190 of "On the Origin of Phyla." The figure presents two illustrations of the Cambrian Explosion. The top figure is a representation of 25 different species found from around the world. The bottom figure shows what we would see if only "durably skeletonized components" are found. The number of species drops from 25 to 5 and not very impressive compared to the community depicted in the other graphic.

Valentine takes into account plate tectonics (basically recognizing that the ocean floor is no help in finding fossils of this age since they have been subducted). But we still have several locations of middle Cambrian deposits on land masses.

the Miller Levine text is over 900 pages of text content with an additional hundred pages of handbooks and glossary. The evolution unit of 4 chapters is over 120 pages with evolution also the main topic of another two chapters dealing with animals. There's a full section on the origin of body plans. By their own emphasis, not fully revealing the mystery of the Cambrian Explosion IS a significant oversight or omission.

dyoung112060
dyoung112060

@rbohlin @dyoung112060 Your explanation is disingenuous at best Doc !


10-15 Million years is a SHORT period of time ?


the Idea that there would be something between soft shelled creatures and Hard shelled and Boned creatures is quite foolish if not simply trying to cause confusion !

Soft tissue ROTS very easily, just like WOOD !


We are talking about a half a Billion years ago, and a whole lot of the evidence from those times from the ocean floor has been lost due to Platectonics and areas of the Ocean floor were lost in Subduction of plates, not to mention the plates coming together like in India and creating the Himalayas where many items of such evidence could in the centers of these mountains !

The problem I have with your response is that you seem to believe that the TIME the World has been in existence is MUCH shorter then REALITY would show !

And your Nonsense about the lineage of the different species in a high school text book is absolutely ridicules !

The schools these days don't bother to teach Math completely because kids are expected to go to college to get all the training they may need, why would a biology text book be more informative in such a MINOR area of study ?

To be very honest Doc, you come across like a Flat Earther that got schooled in the area you wanted to FIGHT against and all that you learned was the wording because you had made up your mind on what was factual before you bothered to get an education in the area.

rbohlin
rbohlin

@dyoung112060 @plainsman1 @rbohlin Yes, time is relative. But the critical aspect here is what needs to be accomplished in a particular period of given time. 5-10 million, even 10-15 million years is a very long time period in human history and a very short time frame given the age of the universe. HOWEVER, neither of these perspectives is helpful when attempting to account for the origin of most animal phyla in less than 10 million years as I have already spelled out.

Enormous amounts of new developmental pathways, new protein coding genes and new genetic regulatory pathways are necessary. You don't seem able to appreciate the enormity of the task.

rbohlin
rbohlin

@plainsman1 @rbohlin @dyoung112060 Valentine doesn't agree with you. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean referring to the Cambrian as an Explosion doesn't somehow make it wrong.

dyoung112060
dyoung112060

@plainsman1 @rbohlin @dyoung112060 I can give you a picture that will help.


Look at the age of the universe in a different form of TIME !

if you look at the age of the universe as a WEEK(Bohlin should appreciate that) then the age of the Earth is a couple of days.

Now if you look at that couple of days then the "Cambrian Period" would look like an Explosion !


I didn't invent this way of viewing it, this is the way it was taught to EVERYONE when I was a Kid, Before We let Bible Thumpers PRETEND they had the ability of Critical Thought, something they DON'T have the ability to do, because the DELUSIONAL are NOT capable of such a Thought Process, look it up in some Psychiatric Manuals and you WILL see this is a DOCUMENTED FACT !

plainsman1
plainsman1

@rbohlin @plainsman1 @dyoung112060  

I've always been a bit put off by the very name Cambrian Explosion - given the amount of time involved, the Cambrian Slow Fuse might have been more appropriate. 

rbohlin
rbohlin

@dyoung112060 @rbohlin @plainsman1 Just one comment on this review of Darwin's Doubt. The comparison of the Cambrian Explosion to the divergence between humans and chimps is rather far off the mark. The separation of humans and chimps is only the separation of genera, dated at around 6 million years ago. The Cambrian is looking at the origin of phyla and classes. That's worlds apart. The timing of tens of millions of years for the Cambrian Explosion is just one conclusion. Bowring dates it to 5-10 million years. Far more rapid for such major changes that are observed today for comparatively minor changes.

rbohlin
rbohlin

@plainsman1 @rbohlin @dyoung112060 I like Valentine as well. He does an amazing job pulling together diverse fields of study. He still maintains that the Cambrian Explosion was geologically sudden and rejects the notion that it is an artifact. Both he an Irwin have been publishing lately concerning the changing of developmental gene regulatory networks in being able to account for the origin of new body plans which must originate in early development. Interesting that they and nearly everyone else recognizes that disruption in the development program this early is seen today as universally detrimental and usually lethal. The major caveat given is that hundreds of millions of years of further evolution has rather cemented these programs so they are more difficult to alter now than in the Cambrian. That's a purely ad hoc suggestion with no hope of actually testing it. But we don't see much variation in the body plans of species in the Cambrian. Those that are found in multiple sites around the world are easily recognized as the same species. If the early developmental programs were more flexible, I'd expect more variation within sites and between sites. That's not what we see.

dyoung112060
dyoung112060

@rbohlin @plainsman1 @dyoung112060  

this is one of the best examples of ID posing as Science,  the idea that you would use such childish logic to base your conclusions on is one of the main problems I and Others have with your Opinion, and yes, all you have is an opinion without facts to back up your conclusions, and that makes what your trying to get across is BELIEF and FAITH, both of which have NOTHING to do with science, because the concept that "Believing what you see" is an act of FAITH is very unintelligent, if not just simple minded!!!

July 2, 2013 Doubting “Darwin’s Doubt” Posted by Gareth Cook

 Darwin himself puzzled over what this might mean. If life evolved gradually, he asked in “The Origin of Species,” what would account for an explosion of it?

This question is the starting point for a new book that aims to rekindle the “intelligent design” movement. “Darwin’s Doubt,” by Stephen Meyer, which will début at No. 7 on the New York Times best-seller list this weekend, argues that scientists have found no way to account for the Cambrian explosion. Life-forms appeared with no obvious precursors, it says, too quickly for a random process of mutation and survival of the fittest to explain it. The only alternative explanation, Meyer writes, is the involvement of an intelligent designer (read: God) who rushed along the story of life on Earth.

We’ve been here before. The intelligent-design movement was born more than two decades ago, in the wreckage of creation science, and the idea is closely associated with the Discovery Institute, the Seattle think tank where Meyer works. The scientific arguments have changed over the years, but intelligent design is probably best understood as the central element of a cunning legal argument. In 1987, the Supreme Court ruled that creation science could not be taught in public schools because it was a poorly disguised version of the Bible, so the engineers of intelligent design improved the disguise: a theory that made room for the Bible without any explicit mention of the book. Advocates were thus able to argue that intelligent design should be taught in public-school biology classes. Their agenda was dealt a serious setback in 2005, when a federal judge declared that intelligent design was religion, not science, and barred it from schools.

Scientific readers will likely find that “Darwin’s Doubt” has an inspired-by-true-events feel: a few elements are recognizable, but the story makes no sense to anyone who was there. The problem for Meyer is that what has come to be called the Cambrian explosion was not, in fact, an explosion. It took place over tens of millions of years—far more time than, for example, it took humans and chimpanzees to go their separate ways. Decades of fossil discovery around the world, combined with new computer-aided analytical techniques, have given scientists a far more complete portrait of the tree of life than Darwin and Walcott had available, making connections between species that they could not see.

plainsman1
plainsman1

@rbohlin @plainsman1 @dyoung112060  

As a matter of fact, I did slog through it, and I found the opinions of  Nick Manzke and Donald Prothero on that mess to be on the mark. As far as understanding the phyla of the Ediacaran and Cambrian, James Valentine's "On the Origin of Phyla" is vastly superior in every way. A less technical overview by Valentine and Douglas Irwin, "The Cambrian Explosion: The Construction of Animal Biodiversity" is also head and shoulders above Meyer's comedy act.

rbohlin
rbohlin

@plainsman1 @dyoung112060 Well yes I have read Darwin's Doubt, have you? Meyer references and quotes from the primary literature on this topic and his analysis should not be so easily dismissed.

dyoung112060
dyoung112060

@plainsman1 @dyoung112060  

More then likely thats it!

I really was hoping for a return comment from him, but thats just dreaming, he wouldn't set himself up to get trounced by folks that bother to think

plainsman1
plainsman1

@wasabi1  

Under post-modern fundamentalism, there's no reason for anyone to have any ethics. The only accepted objective of behavior is to avoid displeasing God. But the fundamentalist God only cares about ritualistic display. Praise him, claim to interpret the Bible literally, and repent frequently, and you go to heaven - no matter what else you do. Fail to do any of the above and you go to hell - no matter what else you do.

For fundamentalists who actually believe their own statements, it's a no rules, anything goes religion. All you have to do is repent later. Far from being a motivation not to do wrong, Christianity is distorted into a full license to indulge any impulse. Within these parameters, bearing false witness regarding evolution is small potatoes as long as it's for Jesus. 

dyoung112060
dyoung112060

@wasabi1  

the problem is the Confusion between belief and reality !

Those that confuse these two DO NOT have real opinions, that is why they should simply be ignored !

Those that are incapable of thinking for them selves and ask others to answer the questions for them CAN NOT have a VALID opinion !

Please explain to me WHY the World should give the slightest crap how the ignorant feel about themselves?

And explain WHY the People of this Nation should allow these ignorants to destroy our Nation and Possibly  Civilization so they can feel good about themselves?


These ARE real and very important questions that  you seem to have ignored.

wasabi1
wasabi1

@plainsman1 @wasabi1 I spend a significant amount of time engaged with these people. I go to apologetic groups constantly. About to head out to one now. To argue with them.

They are not all evil liars. That's the problem. If they knew what they were doing, most would stop. Most are seriously deluded to the point of having no idea what they're doing, and are genuinely concerned about my soul and all that jazz.

I think you guys misinterpret the power of indoctrination and ignorance. It can convince people of something with such certitude that they won't even spot themselves when they do move the goalposts, or make fallacies, or whatever. It runs that deep. And it takes people years to break away from it, and it always leaves scars.

That covers the vast majority of believers. And the vast majority of apologists. There are however some that, to me, stand out as being dishonest. Ray Bohlin is one. Dembski is another. Behe, perhaps. Meyer, maybe. I think William Craig is genuinely deluded, and not a liar. I think Ray Comfort just has no idea. He doesn't even know when he's being dishonest.

But your standard run of the mill fundamentalist? Serious. Actually believes it. Being honest, as best as they know how.

Another problem is most of these people do not even know what critical thinking is. They do not know about things like the Principal of Charity in an argument. They don't understand what deduction even is. Or how deduction and induction are different things. 

Quite simply, imagine that you had no idea how thinking even worked. Nobody had ever taught it to you. Then where would you be?

plainsman1
plainsman1

@wasabi1  

I think you have a somewhat naive notion on just how pathologically driven creationists are. The behavior of committed creationists is that nothing can convince them, that they will say anything, however transparently false, to make an argument against evolution, that they will constantly move goalposts, and that they will refuse to make any testable positive claim, and focus only on repeating logically and factually false denial of evolution. The bigger question is why our society produces so many people who exhibit the trait of strong denial of objective reality.

dyoung112060
dyoung112060

@wasabi1 @dyoung112060  

Unfortunately, you are quite wrong about this.

I have no idea if you are an believer of the Abrahamic traditions, but you should know that these folks believe that their BELIEF is what CREATES God.

Belief to these folks is a VERY strange thing.


Their belief is that if we all believe the same way then this god we all believe will be EXACTLY what we have pictured, this is the REASON for the extreme hatred between the different traditions, because they all have a different picture in their head so there is no way THEIR picture of god can come to fruition.


This Concept is what the People of the Roman Empire called MAGIC !

The purpose of the Romans inventing the Holy Roman Empire and the Catholic Church was to CREATE this God form the Hebrews Myth Stories and to create the heaven on Earth those Myths described so this GOD could reward them as the RULERS if this Heaven.

Also, read the section of the Bible (Old Testament) were the Jews are coming out of Babylon and suddenly find them selves in Egypt.

If you do a little research you can also find the city maps of the "Babylon" the Romans built in EGYPT, this city is now known as "CAIRO", then go back to the story and you will find the rivers in the story fit PERFECTLY in Cairo, but the are in the WRONG places in the TRUE Babylon !

Lies do not beget truth, this is why these folks have NO concept of truth.

 
Loading...