Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Stargeek Atlantis, Episode One

Have you seen the ads for "Expelled?" The movie is a creationist's wet dream, a so-called and I emphasize both the description so-called and the quotation marks "documentary" that attempts to disprove evolution in favor of the farcical "intelligent design." As is typical, it does not make that attempt by presenting some kind of evidence for ID, oh no. (I started to say they've given up on that, but that's wrong: They never started on it. There is not and never has been any evidence for ID; the entire fantasy is based on attacks against evolution, in fact specifically Darwinian evolution, as if there have been no developments in the field since the publication of The Origin of Species.)

Instead, the film takes the "oppressed truth-seeker" tack, insisting that creationists have been cruelly and viciously repressed and silenced by some conspiracy by "Big Science" (a term the movie actually uses), as well as claiming that, in the words of one reviewer quoted at the film's official website, "Evolution leads to atheism leads to eugenics leads to Holocaust and Nazi Germany."

Yes, it's manipulative, deceitful, inane, over the top bullshit. But it still may find an audience, since it's opening in 1000 theaters and is even running TV ads.

Which brings me to the first part of what I wanted to say here, which is that the one ad I've seen shows a classroom with an instructor saying something about evolution. He is extremely disturbed when he is interrupted by a "student," film narrator Ben Stein, who asks "where did life come from?" The final scene shows Stein sitting outside the principal's office where, we are supposed to think, he has been sent for daring to ask a question.

But the fact is, evolution says nothing about the origin of life! It's not about the origin of life. It's about how life changes over time (evolves, get it?) in interaction with environment. The study of the origin of life is a separate field called abiogenesis - which, of course, the instructor in the ad would have explained to our dimwitted narrator and which the producers of the film actually know since the film itself acknowledges it. Which only goes to prove that the ad, like the movie it pushes, is a manipulative lie that depends on people not knowing the basics of evolutionary theory; it exploits ignorance in other to increase it further.

Which is unsurprising since deception about the science and bluster about non-existent "oppression" are the only weapons the creationists have. Especially when - and here's the second part of what I wanted to say - yet another unique form has been discovered, an animal with unusual characteristics driven by its environment and which thereby stands as a further confirmation of evolution. From AP for April 10 via Talking Points Memo:
A frog has been found in a remote part of Indonesia that has no lungs and breathes through its skin, a discovery that researchers said Thursday could provide insight into what drives evolution in certain species.

The aquatic frog Barbourula kalimantanensis was found in a remote part of Indonesia's Kalimantan province on Borneo island during an expedition in August 2007, said David Bickford, an evolutionary biologist at the National University of Singapore. ...

Bickford said the species is the first frog known to science without lungs and joins a short list of amphibians with this unusual trait, including a few species of salamanders and a wormlike creature known as a caecilian.

"These are about the most ancient and bizarre frogs you can get on the planet," Bickford said of the brown amphibian with bulging eyes and a tendency to flatten itself as it glides across the water.

"They are like a squished version of Jabba the Hutt," he said....

Bickford surmised that the frog had evolved to adapt to its difficult surroundings, in which it has to navigate cold, rapidly moving streams that are rich in oxygen.

"It's an extreme adaptation that was probably brought about by these fast-moving streams," Bickford said, adding that it probably needed to reduce its buoyancy in order to keep from being swept down the mountainous rivers.

He said the frog could help scientists understand the environmental factors that contribute to "extreme evolutionary change" since its closest relative in the Philippines and other frogs have lungs.
That last bit being one of extreme importance because it sums up the difference between evolutionists and creationists: Evolutionists want to understand more; creationists don't even want to understand what we already know.

No comments:

// I Support The Occupy Movement : banner and script by @jeffcouturer / (v1.2) document.write('
I support the OCCUPY movement
');function occupySwap(whichState){if(whichState==1){document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}else{document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}} document.write('');