Wait, what?

Intelligent Design creationist Denyse O’Leary, in the midst of rationalizing (over at Uncommon Descent) why ID creationists spend all their time attacking science rather than doing science, has provided yet another example of how antievolutionists are pretty much pathologically unable to portray evolutionary theory (or its supporting evidence) accurately:

O’Leary: To me, Darwinism is like bad money. It becomes an intellectual vice. People are always looking for natural selection to generate random mutation, the way they are always trying to pass on the likely-bogus G-bill (when they are not out looking for the lucky strike). [Emphasis mine]

Yeah, right Denyse, it’s scientists engaging in an “intellectual vice” not creationists like yourself who spend all their time confidently bashing something they clearly don’t understand.

Newsflash: natural selection does not “generate” mutation; mutation is an independently occurring  source of variation from which natural selection “selects” after the fact.

For heaven’s sake, Google it Denyse! Here, I’ll do it for you; the top two hits for “natural selection” are:

Wikipedia – Natural Selection

U.C. Berkley – Natural Selection

That took mere seconds and after mere minutes of reading you won’t find anything on either of those two pages about natural selection “generating” mutations, random or otherwise. Here’s a bonus one on genetic variation from Wikipedia.

Is it really so much to ask for them to have a basic understanding of the science they put so much energy into repudiating?

[Hat tip to Larry Moran over at Sandwalk. Larry took the time to address O’Leary’s aforementioned rationalizations, have a look-see.]


The Rush to ignorance tour continues

Oh boy, Limbaugh was talking about biology again on his show yesterday (Oct. 6th 2010,  audio available here):

RUSH: You know, ladies and gentlemen, just as the elitists, the wannabe ruling class people on our side are a little full of it, so are scientists.  Many scientists don’t know diddly-squat.  In fact, these next two stories are from the “scientists don’t know excrement and God is amazing file.”  Two stories, one from Bangkok: “Dracula fish, a bald songbird and a seven-meter (23 feet) tall carnivorous plant are among several unusual new species found in the Greater Mekong region last year, researchers said Wednesday.  Other new finds among the 145 new species include a frog that sounds like a cricket and a ‘sucker fish’, which uses its body to stick to rocks in fast flowing waters to move upstream, according to conservation group WWF.  With fangs at the front of each jaw, the ‘dracula minnow’ is one of the more bizarre new species found in 2009 in the Mekong River region, which comprises Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and China’s Yunnan Province.”

Second story: “Scientists Find 200 New Species in Papua New Guinea — Scientists on Wednesday unveiled a spectacular array of more than 200 new species discovered in the Pacific islands of Papua New Guinea, including a white-tailed mouse and a tiny, long-snouted frog.”  How many of you remember, along with me, the horror stories of how many species we are wiping out every year because of global warming.  I always said, “How do we know we’re wiping them out?  Do we really know there aren’t any more X’s left?  Have we scoured every acre of the earth, there really aren’t any more of those?”  And how do we know that these are actually new?  Were they just created yesterday, the day we found them? How long have these new species been around?  And how can they be new if we’re destroying them? And yet, ladies and gentlemen, we will tell a farmer he can’t use his land because a snail darter is threatened. We’re being governed by a bunch of stupid idiot jackasses. [Emphasis mine]

Wait, what..? Did he actually just say…?  Arrrrgh!

These newly discovered species are new to science Rush, not the planet. Anyone with an IQ higher than that of a stock of broccoli should have understood this.

Of course the real hilarity here is that he is making such mind bogglingly stupid statements in in the context of claiming that it is really scientists who “don’t know excrement”.

Ah, the arrogance of ignorance.

Ray Comfort’s appalling ignorance

Both P.Z. Myers and Larry Moran have commented on this but I want toget my own licks in. Ray Comfort (AKA Banana-Man) has squatted down and grunted out a fresh piece of “literature” attacking atheists (whatever) in which he also goes after evolution (which he mistakenly considers to be synonymous with atheism). Apparently his tripe isn’t selling as well as he thinks it should and so he gone on a whine-fest about how this is due to some sort of atheist conspiracy in a posting over at WorldNutDaily.

The article quotes him on one of his reasons for believing that evolution is an “unscientific fairytale”:

“I simply expose atheistic evolution for the unscientific fairy tale that it is, and I do it with common logic. I ask questions about where the female came from for each species. Every male dog, cat, horse , elephant, giraffe, fish and bird had to have coincidentally evolved with a female alongside it (over billions of years) with fully evolved compatible reproductive parts and a desire to mate, otherwise the species couldn’t keep going. Evolution has no explanation for the female for every species in creation,” he said.

Ye gods! Folks, this is a discussion stopper. It is beyond the pale. It is stupidity squared.  If you are someone who thinks that evolutionary theory requires that the origin of new species involves the separate, independent, origination of each sex of said new species, that this must happen each and every time a new species evolves, and further that this is to happen by coincidence, then you are far, far, too ignorant of the subject to even think about criticizing it.

Let me try and reformulate this in theological terms for anyone out there that might harbor some misguided sympathy for Mr. Comfort’s views.

Imagine if someone came into your church (to put it specifically in Christian terms) and said, with all seriousness, that they thought Christianity was a fairytale: “Because I can’t believe in this Jesus guy with his blue skin and eight arms. Nor can I accept his teaching that the only way to get to heaven was to die bravely in glorious combat.”

How seriously would you take such a persons critiques of the Christian faith?

Well that’s exactly how Comfort comes across to anyone with even a basic understanding of evolutionary theory when he utters nonsense like this. He either has absolutely no clue as to what he’s talking about, or he is deliberately misrepresenting things (lying) to score rhetorical points.

Either way he has disqualified himself from participation in any serious discussion of the subject (not that anyone was taking him seriously to begin with).