Friday, February 21, 2014

A History Of Republicans And Evolution As "Just A Theory"


Rika Christensen's report on Addictinginfo.org, "A History Of Republicans And Evolution As 'Just A Theory' will be the 112th article filed under the label, "Conservatives Are Stupid," and definitely not the last article to be posted in exploring the Conservative intelligence deficit:

"The religious right never lacks for idiotic comments about evolution. In light of a new bill in Missouri to allow parents to pull their children out of classes that teach evolution, it’s important that people understand what a scientific theory actually is. A scientific theory is 'a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence.' In other words, it’s not your everyday hunch, or speculation, or guess. When you say, 'I have a theory about that,' that’s what you’re talking about. A scientific theory is completely different.

Anti-science creationists want us to think evolution is just an idea some guy threw out there. Here are all the reasons evolution is not ‘just a theory.’ Cartoon by Monte Wolverton via Cagle Cartoons.
"The theory of evolution didn’t come from Darwin just randomly saying, 'Hey, I have this theory that we evolved from monkeys,' and then running a huge campaign to get it into all of our scientific literature and education. In fact, for a very long time, the theory of evolution wasn’t widely accepted, even among scientists.

"The idea that a scientific theory is just a guess is a huge part of the problem. Scientific theories, in reality, enable valid predictions, are based on real evidence, and have been tested repeatedly. Theories do come from ideas, yes. Basically, a scientist has an idea, assumes the idea is true, then sets about to see whether observation and experimentation bear that out. If it does, repeatedly, in many different situations and scenarios, it moves to the realm of a theory. It must have a large variety of supporting evidence, it must be testable, and it must be a broad explanation of a wide range of things in a certain scientific realm, in order to even make it to being a theory.

"Hard core creationists don’t accept that, and often confuse scientific theories with the everyday definition of 'theory' as an idea. Here are some creationist quotes about evolution and the word 'theory' that demonstrates their sheer lack of understanding about how many definitions the word 'theory' has.

"Rick Perry on evolution, while running for president in 2011:
"'[Evolution is] a theory that is out there, and it’s got some gaps in it. In Texas, we teach both creationism and evolution.' [SOURCE]
"Perry makes it sound like he believes Darwin just threw that idea out there one day. As for having gaps in it, of course it does. A lot of science has gaps in it. All scientific theories are works in progress.

"Some theories have so much evidence supporting them that there’s likely no new evidence out there, anywhere, to refute it (like heliocentric theory; what evidence can there possibly be that would disprove the Earth revolving around the sun?). However, that doesn’t mean it can’t continue to be refined, as new evidence comes to light. Evolution is another one of those theories.


"Missouri Republican Rick Brattin on evolution, after introducing a creationism bill in 2014:
"'Even though [evolution] is just as much faith and, you know, just as much pulled out of the air as, say, any religion.' [SOURCE]'
"Wow. This one is absolutely ridiculous, and shows that Brattin knows absolutely nothing about the science behind evolution. It’s not something that was pulled out of the air. It’s not an 'idea.' Brattin is a prime example of why we need to better teach people what a scientific theory actually is, and how an idea becomes a theory.


"Kentucky State Senator David Givens on teaching creationism alongside evolution in the classroom in 2012:
"'I would hope that creationism is presented as a theory in the classroom, in a science classroom, alongside evolution.' [SOURCE]
"Too bad creationism isn’t observable and testable. That’s another aspect of a scientific theory that takes it out of the realm of speculation. Creationism, because it can’t be observed and tested, is a philosophy at best. But it’s not science in any way. Therefore, it has no place in a science classroom or in our legislation.


"Kentucky State Representative Ben Waite, also talking about teaching creationism in Kentucky science classes in 2012:
"'The theory of evolution is a theory, and essentially the theory of evolution is not science — Darwin made it up.' [SOURCE]
"No, Darwin did not make it up. He developed his ideas into the theory of evolution on a trip to the Galapagos Islands. While there, he saw that each island had its own brand of finch. They were related, but different in major ways, such as the size and shapes of their beaks. The differences came about over time, and allowed each type of finch to thrive in its unique environment.

"Waite went further to say that evolution has never stood up to even rudimentary science. One has to wonder if this man has ever actually read anything real about any science at all.


"The Institute for Creation Research has articles upon articles attempting to “disprove” evolution:
"'Evolution, at the most, is an idea about history, not observational science. There may be inferences we can make about the past based on modern observations, and these may or may not be true, but don’t bother claiming that ideas about history are the same as repeatable observations in the present. And don’t insult us by thinking that we will believe that they are.' [SOURCE]
"Scientists have observed evolution in action in the wild. For instance, wild fish are smaller now than they were mere decades ago because of our fishing practices. We hunt the biggest fish, and in response, fish species are maturing at smaller sizes, in an evolutionary effort to make us ignore them in favor of bigger fish.

"There is also the possibility of observing evolution in bacteria, fruit flies, and other very short-lived organisms in a lab. Bacteria such as MRSA are antibiotic-resistant not because they always have been, but because that’s how bacteria responded to our indiscriminate use of antibiotics. This is observable, and can even be reproduced in a lab setting.

"Glenn Beck on evolution, in 2010:
"'How many people believe in evolution in this country? I’d like to see. I mean, I don’t know why it’s unreasonable to say this. I’m not God so I don’t know how God creates. I don’t think we came from monkeys. I think that’s ridiculous. I haven’t seen a half-monkey, half-person yet. Did evolution just stop? Did we all of sudden — there’s no other species that’s developing into half-human?' [SOURCE]
"He wouldn’t have seen that several million years ago, either. Early hominids were not 'half-monkey, half-person.' They were their own species then, just as we are our own species now. There are actually many species in the fossil record that have 'transitional features,' but they, too, were their own species. They weren’t half of one animal, and half of another.


"There’s this major misconception (that Glenn Beck appears to buy into) that evolution is simply one species turning into another. That’s not an entirely accurate view. Evolution can best be explained as a divergence in the gene pool. New species are, at first, offshoots of existing species.

"For example, we’ll say Species B is an offshoot of fish Species A, and it shows smaller fins with rudimentary, underdeveloped fingers or toes at the ends. Later on, we discover Species C, which appears to be related to both Species A and B, but has paws to go with those fingers and toes, instead of fins, and is therefore better able to deal with its environment than Species B was. We also know Species B is extinct, but Species A is still around. Why is Species A still around? Because, like Species C, Species A was well suited to its environment. Species B, with diminished fins and underdeveloped digits, was not well suited to either of its environments. So Species B died off, while Species A and C lived on.

"It could appear that Species B became Species C, but it didn’t. Granted, this explanation is also simplistic, but it’s a more accurate explanation than “evolution is one species becoming another.”

"Whether a new species survives or dies off depends on many, many factors. The reasons behind survival and extinction are the basis of evolution, not evidence showing one species becoming another.

"You can see this in the family tree of our own species—homo sapiens—as they co-existed with another human species—homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthals), during the last ice age. Neanderthals weren’t our predecessors, and our family tree is not one straight line. So it’s incorrect to say that apes (or other primates) eventually became humans.

"One possible reason why hard-core creationists have problems with scientific theories.

"Creationists, at least the hard-core creationists, seem to want simple, definitive answers. Science allows for too much doubt, and is changing too much, particularly when it comes to evolution. Therefore, science is wrong. Their holy book is right.


"And that’s the kicker. Science always allows for the possibility that it can be wrong. It must allow for changes and refinements in its theories. That’s part of its purpose; it’s an ongoing learning experience. Science is how we understand the world we live in. Skeptics can learn how to perform an experiment, or properly observe something, and make up their own mind about it. But creationism requires faith before one can do anything with it. If you’re a skeptic, there’s no way to test it and get results that will make you believe it. You just have to believe it.

"It’s time for people to learn why evolution is called a theory, and why creationism is not. That difference there is why creationism should not be taught in classrooms alongside evolution. Creationism is an idea that requires a leap of faith. Evolution is not."

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Stupidity hurts - unless you're a Conservative Sheeplet.  We noted in our introduction that this post would be categorized under the label, "Conservatives Are Stupid," and we'll also include it in the label, "Authoritarianism," for some obvious reasons as we see in the quote:


"Right-wing authoritarianism is defined by three attitudinal and behavioral clusters which correlate together:
"'Authoritarian submission — a high degree of submissiveness to the authorities who are perceived to be established and legitimate in the society in which one lives.'
"'Authoritarian aggression — a general aggressiveness directed against deviants, outgroups, and other people that are perceived to be targets according to established authorities.'
"'Conventionalism — a high degree of adherence to the traditions and social norms that are perceived to be endorsed by society and its established authorities, and a belief that others in one's society should also be required to adhere to these norms.'"
"When the Conservative propagandists peddle their stuff, they know their audience but it doesn't take a heap of lies to put the gullible Sheeplets under their control...Conservatism: it oughta be a crime.



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"Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence."

Napoleon Bonaparte.


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