In other news... (humorous news items)

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Sep 15, 2015 2:15 pm UTC

Quercus wrote:The philosopher in me (who I will freely admit, is not a very advanced philosopher) leans very strongly away from this from this form of dualism - I see no evidence that the mind and soul are more than abstractions of the workings of the entirely physical brain; but rather than finding this worldview bleak I find it the most astonishingly beautiful idea I have ever encountered. We are part of a universe that spontaneously generates conscious, sentient minds: that's one hell of a trick for a few physical laws and a healthy portion of time to pull off.


Meh. I don't go for dualism. The term "soul" has no meaning for me beyond the mind.

And "spontaneously generates" is...perhaps not the best term to describe it. Sure, life and intelligence are awesome, but complex things arise in nature all the time. And of course, we would necessarily have to exist in a place where intelligent life arose, so it's sort of a massive sampling bias.

ahammel wrote:
speising wrote:I have a hard time understanding how someone can believe in Adam and Eve (=> creation, not evolution) and at the same time in random mutation (=>change over time).

It helps to completely misunderstand what "evolution" means.


Basically this. If you grow up in the sort of culture that's all creationist, you're constantly taught a straw man version of what evolution is. It's...something of a terrible parody that could only actually be believed by complete idiots. If you can find them without paying money for them, I suggest watching videos put out by the Creation Institute and it's kin(they're all interrelated, it's a fairly small network behind it all), to get a full dose of facepalm worthy material.

morriswalters wrote:Using the phrase "poor retard" is offensive in the extreme.


Having grown up in such a culture, and having been taught that, and having to deal with the resulting utter lack of knowledge upon reaching college, I find the comparison to a mental handicap most apt.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Sep 15, 2015 2:19 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:
mathmannix wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:But they didn't have a priest nor witnesses, so they couldn't have been.

God Himself married them, and He definitely trumps priests who act in His name.

Regarding the implied incest of their children: Adam and Eve were genetically perfect, genetically pure. Not in some racist Nazi way, but free from genetic mutation. So there were no recessive genes alleles for dementia or mental retardation or stunted growth; those were due to random mutations, probably a dozen or more generations later.

so, if we assume this is true...and assume that this is actually how genetics works...what did he do with noah and his family? reset the genes? the concept of original sin is kind of like shingles....if you've had sin once, it's already inside youtm. so, if sin caused all the genetic problems of incest....how did noah and his kids repopulate the earth?


Furthermore, the first children of Adam and Eve were clearly flawed beings already: Cain and Able. (well... at least Cain with his murderous attitude). Granted, it is tradition to believe that Cain's offspring died in the great flood (wiping away the evil of the Earth and all)... but it doesn't change the fact that as early as "generation two", human beings were already grossly flawed.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby ahammel » Tue Sep 15, 2015 2:23 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Furthermore, the first children of Adam and Eve were clearly flawed beings already: Cain and Able. (well... at least Cain with his murderous attitude).

Query whether original sin caused germ-line mutations in A&E, or somatic mutations in their children's zygotes.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Sep 15, 2015 2:23 pm UTC

ahammel wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:Furthermore, the first children of Adam and Eve were clearly flawed beings already: Cain and Able. (well... at least Cain with his murderous attitude).

Query whether original son caused germ-line mutations in A&E, or somatic mutations in their children's zygotes.


Hey, I'm not a biblical literalist. It's all a metaphor to me. The teachings of the bible here is that humans are imperfect, and I don't really assign scientific fact to the literal words of the Bible.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Quercus » Tue Sep 15, 2015 2:33 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Quercus wrote:The philosopher in me (who I will freely admit, is not a very advanced philosopher) leans very strongly away from this from this form of dualism - I see no evidence that the mind and soul are more than abstractions of the workings of the entirely physical brain; but rather than finding this worldview bleak I find it the most astonishingly beautiful idea I have ever encountered. We are part of a universe that spontaneously generates conscious, sentient minds: that's one hell of a trick for a few physical laws and a healthy portion of time to pull off.


Meh. I don't go for dualism. The term "soul" has no meaning for me beyond the mind.

And "spontaneously generates" is...perhaps not the best term to describe it. Sure, life and intelligence are awesome, but complex things arise in nature all the time. And of course, we would necessarily have to exist in a place where intelligent life arose, so it's sort of a massive sampling bias.

Yeah, I kind of find the generation of complexity to be astounding in general, but I was restricting myself to to the topic under discussion.

ahammel wrote:
speising wrote:I have a hard time understanding how someone can believe in Adam and Eve (=> creation, not evolution) and at the same time in random mutation (=>change over time).

It helps to completely misunderstand what "evolution" means.


Basically this. If you grow up in the sort of culture that's all creationist, you're constantly taught a straw man version of what evolution is. It's...something of a terrible parody that could only actually be believed by complete idiots. If you can find them without paying money for them, I suggest watching videos put out by the Creation Institute and it's kin(they're all interrelated, it's a fairly small network behind it all), to get a full dose of facepalm worthy material.

I used to watch these in order to engage in my hobby of "logical fallacy bingo" - it's like trainspotting, but instead of ticking off train numbers you tick off errors in logic. Most things said by politicians are also good for this game.

morriswalters wrote:Using the phrase "poor retard" is offensive in the extreme.


Having grown up in such a culture, and having been taught that, and having to deal with the resulting utter lack of knowledge upon reaching college, I find the comparison to a mental handicap most apt.

It's not creationists that it is offensive towards. Ableist insults are generally problematic.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Sep 15, 2015 3:05 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
ahammel wrote:
speising wrote:I have a hard time understanding how someone can believe in Adam and Eve (=> creation, not evolution) and at the same time in random mutation (=>change over time).

It helps to completely misunderstand what "evolution" means.


Basically this. If you grow up in the sort of culture that's all creationist, you're constantly taught a straw man version of what evolution is. It's...something of a terrible parody that could only actually be believed by complete idiots. If you can find them without paying money for them, I suggest watching videos put out by the Creation Institute and it's kin(they're all interrelated, it's a fairly small network behind it all), to get a full dose of facepalm worthy material.


To be fair to the Creationists however, even Darwin's early thoughts were flawed. His finches from various islands are considered to be different species entirely. So there are lots of flaws in the traditional Evolution arguments. Honestly, it isn't until the 1930s when Evolution was combined with Genetic theory that everything starts to make sense. Reading Charles Darwin's original theories of evolution includes the idea that we evolved from worms. Indeed, Charles Darwin uses the word "Transmutation", the alchemy term implying that species move towards perfection. (ie: Alchemy transmutates lead into gold). For the most part, Darwin's argument is "I went to these islands, and this is what I think". Arguing over the finches (and whether or not they've evolved from some species millions of years ago) is... kinda pointless. There are stronger arguments now. But I commonly see evolutionary arguments start with Darwin for some reason.

Anyway, a lot of serious and thoughtful Creationists start with Darwin, only to be met with obscure and outdated models of evolution. It probably is a better idea to start with genetics... a concept almost everyone understands... and a concept that isn't really tainted with outdated 1800s philosophy. Genetics starts with obvious facts that are directly observable: Blonde couples tend to have blonde children. Beyond that, we have the technology and the tools to directly see genetic code today, and point out where the blonde gene actually is.

http://news.discovery.com/human/genetic ... 140602.htm

Within this past year, scientists of taken the human blonde gene, stick it into mice and make mice grow blonde hair. So yes, we have experimentally proven genetics. And there should be no doubt to genetics or how they work.

From there, you should explain genetic algorithms: computer generated experiments that show that random mutations to arbitrary code can indeed "progress" against some selection process. A champion checkers AI was created with genetic algorithms, we know it works. It is experimentally provable, and I myself have run genetic algorithms to improve AIs in a few simple games that I've played. (Nothing as complex as chess or checkers... but enough to see that the AI indeed got better over generations).

From there, it is natural to combine the two facts together. Genetics are code... and we know that the evolutionary process can be emulated in computers to create AIs and structures never before dreamed by humans. Recognizing that the natural world is going through a similar "genetic algorithm", except with our genetic code itself should be obvious from these two facts alone.

In my experience, Creationists then buck a little bit, and start to claim that well... they believe in "Micro-evolution" but not in "Macro-evolution". For my tastes, that is good enough. I know that I can point out the Nylon eating bacteria or other indications of "macro-evolution"... but as far as what is practical and what is applicable to modern science... a theory of "micro-evolution" is sufficient in this modern world.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby doogly » Tue Sep 15, 2015 3:16 pm UTC

But insisting that there is some qualitative difference between "micro" and "macro" is such an infuriating way to protect your nonsense from the slings and arrows of evidence.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby bigglesworth » Tue Sep 15, 2015 3:32 pm UTC

Ironically 6000-yr creationism is entirely compatible with natural selection and evolution. There's been as much evolution as has happened in the last 6000 years.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Quercus » Tue Sep 15, 2015 3:38 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Within this past year, scientists of taken the human blonde gene, stick it into mice and make mice grow blonde hair. So yes, we have experimentally proven genetics.

I know that this isn't at all what you mean, but I find the implication that that's the only compelling evidence that molecular genetics has managed to produce in 150 years to be highly amusing. Especially as essentially the identical experiment was carried out in bacteria in 1944 by Avery, MacLeod, and McCarty (except they were transferring the "smooth" and "rough" colony growth phenotypes). This was the definitive experiment that showed that DNA was the genetic material (backed up by the Hershey and Chase experiment on T2 phage in 1952).

bigglesworth wrote:Ironically 6000-yr creationism is entirely compatible with natural selection and evolution. There's been as much evolution as has happened in the last 6000 years.

Pity about the geological, palaeontological and astronomical evidence.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Sep 15, 2015 3:40 pm UTC

doogly wrote:But insisting that there is some qualitative difference between "micro" and "macro" is such an infuriating way to protect your nonsense from the slings and arrows of evidence.


It'd be fair if an actual difference was demonstrated. But just simply arbitrarily relabeling shit and claiming that this is relevant is frigging strange. Labels are just labels.

Quercus wrote:
morriswalters wrote:Using the phrase "poor retard" is offensive in the extreme.


Having grown up in such a culture, and having been taught that, and having to deal with the resulting utter lack of knowledge upon reaching college, I find the comparison to a mental handicap most apt.

It's not creationists that it is offensive towards. Ableist insults are generally problematic.


You misunderstand. I am not saying that I'm fine with insulting creationists(though this, too, doesn't usually bother me). I'm saying that I'm fine with it as a factual descriptive statement. Someone who is taught this drek instead of actual science is being developmentally handicapped.

KnightExemplar wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
ahammel wrote:
speising wrote:I have a hard time understanding how someone can believe in Adam and Eve (=> creation, not evolution) and at the same time in random mutation (=>change over time).

It helps to completely misunderstand what "evolution" means.


Basically this. If you grow up in the sort of culture that's all creationist, you're constantly taught a straw man version of what evolution is. It's...something of a terrible parody that could only actually be believed by complete idiots. If you can find them without paying money for them, I suggest watching videos put out by the Creation Institute and it's kin(they're all interrelated, it's a fairly small network behind it all), to get a full dose of facepalm worthy material.


To be fair to the Creationists however, even Darwin's early thoughts were flawed.


To be fair to everyone, ignoring all scientific developments since then, just to snipe at any imperfections is kind of bullshit.

Creationists do not start with reading Darwin. They start out by reading/watching creationist materials that misportray everything in an effort to reframe the entire discussion unfairly.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby ObsessoMom » Tue Sep 15, 2015 3:47 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:http://news.discovery.com/human/genetics/blonde-hair-gene-identified-140602.htm

Within this past year, scientists of taken the human blonde gene, stick it into mice and make mice grow blonde hair.


I will sleep easier tonight, knowing that scientists are that much closer to answering the blondness question.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby ahammel » Tue Sep 15, 2015 3:50 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Reading Charles Darwin's original theories of evolution includes the idea that we evolved from worms.
Do you have a citation for that? I've not come across that one.

I mean, he wrote a book about the Descent of Man, and a book about earthworms, but those were different books.

Indeed, Charles Darwin uses the word "Transmutation", the alchemy term implying that species move towards perfection. (ie: Alchemy transmutates lead into gold).
Without context, it's impossible to tell whether he actually meant alchemy-like transmutation but, you know, probably not.

For the most part, Darwin's argument is "I went to these islands, and this is what I think".
This is just straight-up false. His arguments were basically, "here is what I think, and here are several books containing a truly mind-numbing wodge of data which I think support it and here's why".
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby ObsessoMom » Tue Sep 15, 2015 3:59 pm UTC

The main difference between evolutionism and creationism is that the former absolutely requires randomness, and the latter absolutely requires non-randomness. That's why the idea of merging the two into Intelligent Design doesn't fly. Either the process is random, or it's not. No in-betweensies.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:19 pm UTC

ahammel wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:Reading Charles Darwin's original theories of evolution includes the idea that we evolved from worms.
Do you have a citation for that? I've not come across that one.


Unfortunately... not really. The creationist dude I argued with many years ago had a citation that looked legitimate though (ie: not "answers in genesis" or whatever). Also... gosh, it was like 8 years ago when I had this discussion with said creationist... my memory is likely failing me.

In any case, I ultimately came to the conclusion that defending Darwin's original thoughts on evolution was a waste of time... and moved the argument elsewhere.

For the most part, Darwin's argument is "I went to these islands, and this is what I think".
This is just straight-up false. His arguments were basically, "here is what I think, and here are several books containing a truly mind-numbing wodge of data which I think support it and here's why".


I'm not an expert on those books. But the last time I went through those books in a serious discussion, there were a lot of laughable hypotheticals, filled with 1800s-era "science" that read more like philosophy. IIRC, Charles Darwin believed that the mutations occur during the lifetime of an animal and then are passed on to its children. (Although my history of early evolutionists thoughts are a bit mumbled right now... it was either Darwin or some other highly-respected "evolutionist" in the 1800s who pushed forward that concept.) In any case, I know that early 1800s-era evolution theory included such falsities like that one.

Which is fine, science progresses over time. We revere Charles Darwin not for getting evolution right on the first try... but for popularizing the idea long before it was popular. As science progressed, his base views were proven correct, even if he got a lot of details wrong.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby doogly » Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:21 pm UTC

Yeah, Darwin is neither a moron nor a prophet.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Whizbang » Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:27 pm UTC

Just too be clear, so that people don't get stuck on "random", there is a seed of randomness, but the selection process that allows complex creatures is not random.

[Edit]
Also the difference between sexual and a-sexual reproduction and its impact on evolution. Evolution in a-sexually reproducing creatures (where random gene mutations is the major source of change) is much slower than evolution in sexually reproducing creatures (where major changes can occur as different genes are combined in the offspring, not to mention complications that can occur in the combining).

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby ahammel » Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:43 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
ahammel wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:Reading Charles Darwin's original theories of evolution includes the idea that we evolved from worms.
Do you have a citation for that? I've not come across that one.


Unfortunately... not really. The creationist dude I argued with many years ago had a citation that looked legitimate though (ie: not "answers in genesis" or whatever). Also... gosh, it was like 8 years ago when I had this discussion with said creationist... my memory is likely failing me.
Two possibilities occur to me:

1. There's a throw-away line somewhere about the distance ancestors of humans being worm-like
2. Confusion between The Descent of Man and The Formation of the Vegetable Mould by the Action of Worms.

At any rate, I'm pretty sure Chuck thought that our immediate ancestors were primates, just like everybody who's ever seen a primate.

In any case, I ultimately came to the conclusion that defending Darwin's original thoughts on evolution was a waste of time... and moved the argument elsewhere.
Sure, with you there.

IIRC, Charles Darwin believed that the mutations occur during the lifetime of an animal and then are passed on to its children.
Yep, pangenesis. I haven't read Descent of Man or Variation, but I believe he was aware that it was speculative and said as much.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Quercus » Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:45 pm UTC

doogly wrote:Yeah, Darwin is neither a moron nor a prophet.

Though you'd never guess from the beard :)

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby bigglesworth » Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:45 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Reading Charles Darwin's original theories of evolution includes the idea that we evolved from worms.


Check out this animal which is a deuterosome, like you and I are (though I'll admit it's not a chordate). The idea of evolving from worms seems pretty sensible to me.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Quercus » Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:52 pm UTC

Okay, now we're getting into this, I should point out a common stumbling block that people who aren't that familiar with evolution often trip over (I know you know this bigglesworth - but I find it helps to nip this one in the bud):

When people say "we evolved from worms" that is in fact shorthand for "both modern worms and humans evolved from a common ancestor that was more worm-like than human-like". Humans are not "more evolved" than worms - both have been evolving for exactly the same amount of time since our lineages diverged, just in different directions.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:55 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Quercus wrote:
morriswalters wrote:Using the phrase "poor retard" is offensive in the extreme.


Having grown up in such a culture, and having been taught that, and having to deal with the resulting utter lack of knowledge upon reaching college, I find the comparison to a mental handicap most apt.

It's not creationists that it is offensive towards. Ableist insults are generally problematic.


You misunderstand. I am not saying that I'm fine with insulting creationists(though this, too, doesn't usually bother me). I'm saying that I'm fine with it as a factual descriptive statement. Someone who is taught this drek instead of actual science is being developmentally handicapped.
No, they aren't, because that's not what any of those words mean.

Growing up misinformed is not the same as having a learning disability, and you need to stop equating the two and using ableist insults to criticize people whose education is lacking.

The problem isn't that you're insulting creationists. The problem is that you're insulting people with disabilities as a way to insult creationists. Kind of like how the problem with, "Creationism is so dumb and gay," isn't that you're insulting creationists, but that you're insulting gay people by using "gay" as a pejorative.

Quercus wrote:When people say "we evolved from worms" that is in fact shorthand for "both modern worms and humans evolved from a common ancestor that was more worm-like than human-like".
With a word as general as "worms", I'm perfectly fine saying no, that's not shorthand for anything, but rather an explicit claim that our distant ancestors were, themselves, worms. It's not the same as saying "we evolved from apes", because we are apes, or "we evolved from chimpanzees", because there you're right that what really happened was we and chimps both evolved from a fairly recent common ancestor. But unless you're defining "worm" in a strict cladistic way, it's a description of a general body plan and appearance, and it's a description that absolutely applies to some of our distant ancestors.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Whizbang » Tue Sep 15, 2015 5:00 pm UTC

It is also helpful to consider evolution as a landscape, where going up is analogous to fitness for survival and going down is the opposite. Therefore there will be many peaks and valleys. Creatures that have remained mostly unchanged for millions of years have reached one particular peak where they are, more or less, at the pinnacle of fitness for their particular environment. Any change is most likely to lead to a reduction in fitness. So, the only way forward is a change in the environment. Whereas other creatures (including humans?) are not at a pinnacle and so have many options available for change and selection. Change and selection still occurs in both cases, it is just that one creature is much more limited in what changes will stick.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Quercus » Tue Sep 15, 2015 5:04 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Quercus wrote:When people say "we evolved from worms" that is in fact shorthand for "both modern worms and humans evolved from a common ancestor that was more worm-like than human-like".
With a word as general as "worms", I'm perfectly fine saying no, that's not shorthand for anything, but rather an explicit claim that our distant ancestors were, themselves, worms. It's not the same as saying "we evolved from apes", because we are apes, or "we evolved from chimpanzees", because there you're right that what really happened was we and chimps both evolved from a fairly recent common ancestor. But unless you're defining "worm" in a strict cladistic way, it's a description of a general body plan and appearance, and it's a description that absolutely applies to some of our distant ancestors.

Yeah, that's fair enough. It is indeed a case of me being overly cladistic in my thinking.


Whizbang wrote:It is also helpful to consider evolution as a landscape, where going up is analogous to fitness for survival and going down is the opposite. Therefore there will be many peaks and valleys. Creatures that have remained mostly unchanged for millions of years have reached one particular peak where they are, more or less, at the pinnacle of fitness for their particular environment. Any change is most likely to lead to a reduction in fitness. So, the only way forward is a change in the environment. Whereas other creatures (including humans?) are not at a pinnacle and so have many options available for change and selection. Change and selection still occurs in both cases, it is just that one creature is much more limited in what changes will stick.

Indeed.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Sep 15, 2015 5:12 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
Quercus wrote:
morriswalters wrote:Using the phrase "poor retard" is offensive in the extreme.


Having grown up in such a culture, and having been taught that, and having to deal with the resulting utter lack of knowledge upon reaching college, I find the comparison to a mental handicap most apt.

It's not creationists that it is offensive towards. Ableist insults are generally problematic.


You misunderstand. I am not saying that I'm fine with insulting creationists(though this, too, doesn't usually bother me). I'm saying that I'm fine with it as a factual descriptive statement. Someone who is taught this drek instead of actual science is being developmentally handicapped.
No, they aren't, because that's not what any of those words mean.

Growing up misinformed is not the same as having a learning disability, and you need to stop equating the two and using ableist insults to criticize people whose education is lacking.

The problem isn't that you're insulting creationists. The problem is that you're insulting people with disabilities as a way to insult creationists. Kind of like how the problem with, "Creationism is so dumb and gay," isn't that you're insulting creationists, but that you're insulting gay people by using "gay" as a pejorative.


Your example doesn't scan. Being gay has precisely squat to do with beliefs and mental performance. However, intentionally misinforming people is disabling them. Note that in this particular instance, creationism more closely represents indoctrination than simply teaching information. It is not merely that they are wrong...being wrong is common. It's that they're being deliberately taught to misunderstand. That is what makes it disabling. You are less able than if you had not been taught whatsoever.

Using unconnected perjoratives is...well, lazy at best, and kind of juvenile, sure. However, this is a rather straightforward comparison. Being taught creationism cannot reasonably make one gay. It can reasonably make one less able to learn.

Disabilities do not merely spring from the aether, they come about as a result of genetics and behavior. They can totally be created or exacerbated.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby ObsessoMom » Tue Sep 15, 2015 6:09 pm UTC

Maybe we should consider what the terms "idiot" and "moron" mean, too. {Edited to say: I'm not defending the use of "retarded" as an insult...just saying that perhaps we could also think twice before deploying similar ad hom pejorative labels, and instead attack misguided arguments, rather than people?]

The matter of the continued evolution of all branches of a family tree seems an important point to make, Quercus and gmalivuk, so I'm glad you covered that.

Whizbang wrote:Just too be clear, so that people don't get stuck on "random", there is a seed of randomness, but the selection process that allows complex creatures is not random.


Yes, Whizbang, thanks for the clarification.

By "random" I meant that it's purely accident whether an individual's combination of traits happens to align with environmental conditions in which they are an advantage, disadvantage, or irrelevant long enough for the possessor to pass them along to another generation.

True, any given individual is much, much, MUCH more likely to possess characteristics that helped its ancestors to survive in that (or a very similar) environment...but specific mutations occur regardless of whether they are a good idea.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 15, 2015 6:58 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
Quercus wrote:
morriswalters wrote:Using the phrase "poor retard" is offensive in the extreme.


Having grown up in such a culture, and having been taught that, and having to deal with the resulting utter lack of knowledge upon reaching college, I find the comparison to a mental handicap most apt.

It's not creationists that it is offensive towards. Ableist insults are generally problematic.


You misunderstand. I am not saying that I'm fine with insulting creationists(though this, too, doesn't usually bother me). I'm saying that I'm fine with it as a factual descriptive statement. Someone who is taught this drek instead of actual science is being developmentally handicapped.
No, they aren't, because that's not what any of those words mean.

Growing up misinformed is not the same as having a learning disability, and you need to stop equating the two and using ableist insults to criticize people whose education is lacking.

The problem isn't that you're insulting creationists. The problem is that you're insulting people with disabilities as a way to insult creationists. Kind of like how the problem with, "Creationism is so dumb and gay," isn't that you're insulting creationists, but that you're insulting gay people by using "gay" as a pejorative.


Your example doesn't scan. Being gay has precisely squat to do with beliefs and mental performance. However, intentionally misinforming people is disabling them. Note that in this particular instance, creationism more closely represents indoctrination than simply teaching information. It is not merely that they are wrong...being wrong is common. It's that they're being deliberately taught to misunderstand. That is what makes it disabling. You are less able than if you had not been taught whatsoever.

Using unconnected perjoratives is...well, lazy at best, and kind of juvenile, sure. However, this is a rather straightforward comparison. Being taught creationism cannot reasonably make one gay. It can reasonably make one less able to learn.

Disabilities do not merely spring from the aether, they come about as a result of genetics and behavior. They can totally be created or exacerbated.

My example wasn't meant to be a perfect parallel, it was meant to show you that insulting creationists isn't what we have a problem with.

"Retarded" has a meaning psychologically, and it doesn't coincide with "indoctrinated" any more than it does with "misinformed". Furthermore, even in a clinically correct context, "mentally retarded" as an adjective is *very* different from "a mental retard" as a noun. The former is not always ableist (though is when you're ignorantly applying it on the basis of indoctrination rather than mental capacity), the latter always is.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:12 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:My example wasn't meant to be a perfect parallel, it was meant to show you that insulting creationists isn't what we have a problem with.

"Retarded" has a meaning psychologically, and it doesn't coincide with "indoctrinated" any more than it does with "misinformed". Furthermore, even in a clinically correct context, "mentally retarded" as an adjective is *very* different from "a mental retard" as a noun. The former is not always ableist (though is when you're ignorantly applying it on the basis of indoctrination rather than mental capacity), the latter always is.


...so using it as a verb to describe the person is fine, but using the noun is verboten? This is what is meant by Basic Human Decency gone awry. If the verb usage is accurate, then so too is the noun. I do not contest that either could be used in an offensive manner, but...let's say I'm misinformed. Decribing someone as "the person who is misinformed" instead of "the misinformed" is simply using extra words. Granted, there's a potential singular/plural confusion there, but that's not really an issue in the use above. Implying that the use of one is inherently always offensive, even when accurate, is merely being offended by reality. Or by grammar, I suppose.

Do you seriously hold that indoctrinating someone will have no deleterious effects on their capability to learn? Do you NOT believe that, at extremes, it can produce actual psychological conditions, or at least, a higher incidence of experiencing them?

Let's take another similar practice, often endorsed by the same social circles that so enjoy young earth creationism...the practice of creating camps to, er, rededucate gay kids. That causes actual psychological damage. It's not "kind of like that". It is that.

Creationism is like that, but it's attacking learning capability instead of attacking sexual identity.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby sardia » Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:21 pm UTC

Since I started this, I should amend my statement.
How should we describe a person with no known disabilities, but has been heavily indoctrinated until he desperately strings together a worldview based entirely on fictional entities which he can't quite reconcile with the world. I feel that openly criticizing such a people evokes feelings of telling a child that Santa Claus isnt real. In addition, Im aware of the implicit threat of violence and oppression of their fictional religions.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby doogly » Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:23 pm UTC

You just used "heavily indoctrinated" and that seems pretty clearly communicative.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby SDK » Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:30 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Do you seriously hold that indoctrinating someone will have no deleterious effects on their capability to learn? Do you NOT believe that, at extremes, it can produce actual psychological conditions, or at least, a higher incidence of experiencing them?

Maybe it does, but that doesn't mean they're handicapped in the same way. "Intellectual disability" is the preferred term for mental retardation these days, but whatever you call it, it's defined by difficulty with everyday tasks such as getting dressed, eating or communicating with people. You're using this term in completely the wrong context.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:35 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:...so using it as a verb to describe the person is fine, but using the noun is verboten?
This is an extremely common pattern and if you haven't noticed it before that's not my fault.

Noun forms of many adjectives are seen as more objectifying and/or dehumanizing than adjective forms (which for one thing are usually followed by "person").

Do you frequently go around saying any of the following?
a gay
a Black
a Japanese
a queer (even of people who are fine using "queer" as a personal (adjectival) label)
a transgender
a female
a cripple

It's not a categorical pattern, whereby all adjectives become dehumanizing as (especially singular) nouns (After all, -an demonyms are perfectly fine as nouns both singular and plural, for example.), but it's nevertheless a pattern which very definitely does exist, particularly with adjectives describing historically marginalized groups. I'm extremely skeptical of any claim on your part that it's a pattern you've never encountered before. You may never have had particular attention called to it, but you've surely encountered it.

This is what is meant by Basic Human Decency gone awry.
Yes, how terrible.

Decribing someone as "the person who is misinformed" instead of "the misinformed" is simply using extra words. Granted, there's a potential singular/plural confusion there, but that's not really an issue in the use above.
One reason it's not an issue is because the cases are not grammatically analogous. "The misinformed" would typically be understood as generic reference to misinformed people in general, like "the Japanese" or "the British" or "the wealthy". If you wanted something analogous, you'd have to compare it with "the retarded", but that's not what you said. You said "retard", which is not the same grammatical thing that's happening with "misinformed" or with anything in the list above except.
Last edited by gmalivuk on Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:40 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:36 pm UTC

bigglesworth wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:Reading Charles Darwin's original theories of evolution includes the idea that we evolved from worms.


Check out this animal which is a deuterosome, like you and I are (though I'll admit it's not a chordate). The idea of evolving from worms seems pretty sensible to me.


Well, I'll give you an "A for Effort" on this one. Again, not a biology major, but I'm more or less stuck on the "Kingdom->Phylum" sort of knowledge from high school. I was sticking with we don't really have worms as a common ancestor because worms are typically annelid, while we humans are chordates as you mentioned. Granted, we're all in the Kingdom for "animals" so yes... there likely was some sort of common ancestor to us all. But it probably wasn't worm-like (annelid) or human-like (chordate). It would have been... some sort of prototype being with traits common to both of us.

But this is going back onto a conversation I had with a creationist 8 years ago that I barely remember the details of.

Tyndmyr wrote:Do you seriously hold that indoctrinating someone will have no deleterious effects on their capability to learn? Do you NOT believe that, at extremes, it can produce actual psychological conditions, or at least, a higher incidence of experiencing them?


Well, Ben Carson is on the record as a creationist, and his medical record speaks for itself. I'm not entirely sure if there are any long-term harmful issues if you are a creationist. You can definitely grow up to be a world-class neurosurgeon without believing in evolution.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:42 pm UTC

Exactly. Carson is a shitty person and a worse presidential candidate, and I would definitely say his antiscientific creationist worldview lessens his ability to be a good scientist (or president), but it isn't actually a "disability" in anything like the way Tyndmyr is trying to pretend it is.

(No, neurosurgeons and other doctors are not automatically scientists.)
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby doogly » Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:57 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Well, I'll give you an "A for Effort" on this one. Again, not a biology major, but I'm more or less stuck on the "Kingdom->Phylum" sort of knowledge from high school. I was sticking with we don't really have worms as a common ancestor because worms are typically annelid, while we humans are chordates as you mentioned. Granted, we're all in the Kingdom for "animals" so yes... there likely was some sort of common ancestor to us all. But it probably wasn't worm-like (annelid) or human-like (chordate). It would have been... some sort of prototype being with traits common to both of us.

The difficulties with upheaving Linnean taxonomy into something that respects evolutionary linkage are definitely an ongoing problem.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby morriswalters » Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:36 pm UTC

My apologies to you Sardia, you hit a personal nerve, I should have PM'd you instead.

Ben Carson is dangerous because he looks and sounds like a scientist, what he is isn't as important as what he is perceived as being. Trump looks and sounds like an ass.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:58 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote: If you wanted something analogous, you'd have to compare it with "the retarded", but that's not what you said. You said "retard", which is not the same grammatical thing that's happening with "misinformed" or with anything in the list above except.


The original statement was, you'll note, not mine. You're getting all wrapped up in righteous fervor because a word was used in a way you dislike, without particularly analyzing the content.

KnightExemplar wrote:Well, Ben Carson is on the record as a creationist, and his medical record speaks for itself. I'm not entirely sure if there are any long-term harmful issues if you are a creationist. You can definitely grow up to be a world-class neurosurgeon without believing in evolution.


Single individuals have done many great things despite various disadvantages. The presence of a single exceptional individual does not demonstrate that a practice is not harmful. I've got my issues with Carson, of which creationism is a part, but even putting all that aside, we can establish that a single individual is a poor sample set.

It is not merely failing to believe in evolution, though I feel safe saying that many a biologist would say that overlooking such basic concepts in education is unwise in itself, but in the training of an individual to believe falsehood, and to not be able to even be able to properly converse with the opposition. They go beyond mere anti-intellectualism to actively teaching folks to misunderstand what the opposition is saying.

This is not mere disagreement, these folks will cheerfully use arguments they know, and have previously admitted to being false again after a bit. And of course, the whole lot is oriented as a means to indoctrinate your children. That's why the textbook thing keeps being a battleground area...but the stuff taught in textbooks is relatively tame. The material marketed toward believers to ensure their own kids learn the evils of science are far, far more extreme. I suspect that many people, hearing the word "creationism", do not posess a full understanding of what this entails.

Perhaps it's simply not understanding that that this is a planned religious methodology from a viewpoint which sees scientific knowledge as directly opposed to christianity. Let's ease into it with examining a little of the less horrific stuff. Here's a study, if you're interested: http://creation.com/impact-of-a-young-earth-creationist-apologetics-course-on-student-creation-worldview, in which they evaluate how teaching creationism affects people on the range of biblical theist(best, of course) to socialist(the natural opposite, of course). Now, I'm not asking you to consider this study as serious science, obviously, but it's worth reading through it, and considering the mentality that approaches the topic in this way.

doogly wrote:You just used "heavily indoctrinated" and that seems pretty clearly communicative.


Heavily indoctrinated isn't bad, as it provides a bit more description about the methodology, rather than merely describing the effects. Though, I think some sort of emphasis on effects may be warranted.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:00 pm UTC

I'm going to go out on a limb and make the argument that preventing a child from developing critical thinking skills (eg, the way creationism is taught) effectively creates a learning disability. If someone suffered from PTSD where being taught by anyone triggered horrible flashbacks, just because it's not biological the way dyslexia is doesn't make it any less disabling.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:07 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
gmalivuk wrote: If you wanted something analogous, you'd have to compare it with "the retarded", but that's not what you said. You said "retard", which is not the same grammatical thing that's happening with "misinformed" or with anything in the list above except.
The original statement was, you'll note, not mine. You're getting all wrapped up in righteous fervor because a word was used in a way you dislike, without particularly analyzing the content.
I'm responding the way I am not because the word was used at all, but because you're using such shitty arguments to defend that use of a word.

And fine, it's technically not "you said", but rather "you're talking about the use of the word". The whole rest of my argument still stands unchanged, though.
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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:13 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:I'm going to go out on a limb and make the argument that preventing a child from developing critical thinking skills (eg, the way creationism is taught) effectively creates a learning disability. If someone suffered from PTSD where being taught by anyone triggered horrible flashbacks, just because it's not biological the way dyslexia is doesn't make it any less disabling.


Exactly where I'm going with this.

Non-biological disabilities are still disabilities.

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Re: In other news... (humorous news items, etc)

Postby morriswalters » Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:39 pm UTC

Yes and homosexuals can be cured. Bah! Being ignorant isn't a defect or a disability. And defining a behavior that you don't like in that fashion is analogous to what people who say homosexuality can be cured are doing. Making it up.


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