Symphony of Science – Evolution

Not my cup of tea* musically but fun just the same:

Hat tip to Michael Barton at The Dispersal of Darwin.

*technically no cup of tea is my cup of tea, as I loathe tea.

Darwin’s Pigeons

This seemed apropos:

[Hat tip to the WhyEvolutionIsTrue channel on YouTube.]

Evolution Rap from the Galápagos

[Via Why Evolution is True

Wilkins on Darwin and race

John Wilkins, philosopher from down under, has written a nice blog post on Darwin and race, “Myth 7: Darwin thought that Australian aborigines were closer to apes than to Europeans“:

Actually, this one is better called “Darwin was a racist”, but as the text concerned is from the same source as those claims, I thought it might be easier to evaluate a single claim and generalise from that.

Our gospel for today is chapters V and VI of The Descent of Man, published in 1871.

If you read Darwin sloppily, or to find evidence that he really was a Very Bad Man for rhetorical – usually religious – purposes, you soon come across this statement. In fact, you can find paraphrases of it in literally hundreds of creationist documents and sites. Here is the offending passage, from towards the end of chapter VI of the Descent:

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break will then be rendered wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as at present between the negro or Australian and the gorilla. [p201]

Many folk read this to be making the following claims:

1. It is right that civilised races should exterminate the savage races

2. It is right that the great apes (which Darwin calls “anthropomorphous” or “humanlike”) will be made extinct.

3. When this happens the gap between humans and apes will be wider because the intermediates, apes and negroes or Australian aborigines, will be gone.

Hence: Aborigines and negroes are more apelike than Caucasians.

Let’s look at a bit of context here. I do not propose to defend Darwin from his biases, but let’s be quite clear on what they are first (and note, if Darwin turned out to be a baby eating white supremacist, it no more makes evolution false than the fact that most baby eating white supremacists are Christians discredits Christianity).

Check out the rest over on Evolving Thoughts.

Intelligent design creationism playing the racism card… again

Andrew Sibley, who I recently used as an example of the two faces of intelligent design creationism, has gone on another ‘Darwin was a racist/evolution leads to racism’, tear over on Uncommon Descent, basing his comments this time largely on an article (“What’s wrong with Darwinism?“) by another character by the name of Tony Campolo on a site called Christian Today. I was going to rip into Campolo’s piece given it contains outright falsehoods about Darwin, but my colleague Jason Rosenhouse has done an excellent job of doing so already over on Evolutionblog, so time saved.

However since Mr. Sibley has my attention once again I want to address his contribution to this steaming pile:

Campolo acknowledges that Darwin was a product of his time, and clearly Darwin did not invent racism with some of his relations for instance taking an interest in abolishing the slave trade. Darwin too in his early life questioned slavery, but what happened to lead him to embrace ideas where Africans and Aborigines were considered closer to apes than Caucasians? Instead, a plain reading of the Bible teaches that all mankind are related and are of common ancestry.

Darwin “questioned slavery”, “in his early life”, really? Well, now that we’ve had the ‘good facts‘ version let’s look at the actual facts.

Read on»

Darwin and Lincoln’s bicentennial

Happy Darwin/Lincoln day everyone! On this auspicious day we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of both the founder (but not finisher) of evolutionary biology, Charles Darwin, and the great emancipator Abraham Lincoln, both of whom were born on this day, February 12, in the year 1809. Tis a day to celebrate both knowledge and freedom.

David Attenborough on his upcomming evolution documentary

[Via Pharyngula]


Here is a clip of the doc:

[Also via Pharyngula]

Darwin’s embryo drawings flawed?

I’m moving this up from comments because it involves a particular interest of mine, embryology as it relates to evolution and the controversies over various embryo illustrations. Here is the comment by “1wmcaw” in full:

Glazius – I may be a lay person. I am not, however, ill-informed.

Darwin disproved: Take a look at his drawings of in utero creatures. He constantly compared the early embryo and fetus’ of human beings to that of pigs and other animals.

I’m here to tell you that medical science has roundly disproved those drawings/pictures/whatever you want to call them. I’ve seen them with my own eyes, as a lay person. Medical professionals, biologists, anthropologists, abortionists, all of them will concede that the embryo and early human fetus looks absolutely nothing like Darwin’s crude drawing and compares nothing to a fetal pig. We were able to distinguish my son’s genitalia at 13 weeks in utero. He did not possess any “tail” as so classically drawn. Many scientists will admit that human beings do not develop a tail at all in the womb, but that it fits the theory of evolution nicely and so it is still promoted in popular scientific literature.

Oh, and plenty of people understand how God’s creation works. Simply because you do not does not make it untrue.

Read on»

So it’s true, Darwin is to blame…

John Wilkins has dared to do what none of us in the evolution defenders camp has had the courage to do. He has faced the TRUTH and systematically documented some of the horrors visited upon world Jewry at the hands of Darwin and his followers from 38CE to the present.

Wilkins you monstrous bastard! How can I live with myself now that I have gazed upon this soul scorching truth about Darwin laid out so irrefutably?

The damned

[Shuffles away from computer sobbing.]

Via Pharyngula

Check it…

I’m not exactly sure what they’re trying to say, but I kinda like it regardless:

(Via Pandas Thumb)