Saturday, December 31, 2016

Creationists list the top ten stories of 2016

Intelligent Design Creationists are still trying to promote their views. They consistently claim to have positive evidence of intelligent design and they consistently complain whenever we point out what they actually do; they attack evolution/science. Their main talking point relies on the fallacy known as "false dichotomy." They assume that by casting doubt on evolution/science they lend support to their religious viewpoint.

Each year, the IDiots on Evolution News & Views (sic) publish their top ten stories. The series is linked to a fund-raising campaign so it's safe to assume they think these stories advance their cause. Let's see how many of the top stories promote intelligent design and how many are just criticisms of evolution/science. That should be revealing ...

#10: Tyson Says Chances of Intelligently Designed Universe "May Be Very High"
Neil deGrasse Tyson made a silly comment saying that the universe might be a simulation. The IDiots reported it. It's one of their top ten stories. This is called "scraping the barrel."

#9: Feathers on a Bird or Dinosaur Tail?
Scientists recently discovered a piece of 100My old amber containing dinosaur feathers. The IDiots claim the fossil could be a bird, not a dinosaur. That's one of their top stories of 2016! Note that it has nothing to do with arguments for an intelligent designer.

#8: Merry Christmas! These Bacteria Are No Evolutionary Nightmare
Jerry Coyne published an article about the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. He claimed, correctly, that this is an example of evolution. His article was a description of an experiment published recently in Science. The IDiots say this is not important because "no newly evolved complex information has been demonstrated." That's their top story. More criticism of evolution.

#7: An Engineered "Minimal" Microbe Is Evidence of Intelligent Design
Craig Venter and his colleagues built a bacterium with only 473 genes. The IDiots interpret this to mean that Craig Venter must be the intelligent designer they worship. Venter would be pleased.

#6: BIO-Complexity Addresses the Problem of Biological Innovation
BIO-Complexity is the "research" journal published by Intelligent Design Creationists. The journal published two (2!) articles in 2016 and two (2!) articles in 2016. One of the top stories in 2016 is a 2015 article by Doug Axe and Ann Gauger titled "Model and Laboratory Demonstrations That Evolutionary Optimization Works Well Only If Preceded by Invention—Selection Itself Is Not Inventive." More criticism of evolution from a perspective that Axe has been pushing, unsuccessfully, for more than a decade.

#5: Real-Time Censorship as PLOS ONE Retracts "Proper Design by Creator" Paper
PLoS One published a paper that contained the following statement in the abstract, "The explicit functional link indicates that the biomechanical characteristic of tendinous connective architecture between muscles and articulations is the proper design by the Creator to perform a multitude of daily tasks in a comfortable way." (Lui et al., 2016) The journal got lots of letters that usually started with "WTF?" The editors decided the article had not been properly reviewed (duh!) so they retracted it. This is one of the top stories of 2016 according to Evolution News & Views (sic) but it creates a problem since it specifically mentions a Creator. The IDiots have to add a disclaimer that makes the choice of top ten stories look very silly ...
I must note here that the theory intelligent design does not infer a "Creator," a religious idea that goes beyond what the scientific evidence says. ID infers a source of intelligence, and leaves it to others to argue about the identity of the source.

#4: Denton's Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis Is a "Best Book" of 2016
The IDiots managed to find someone named A.N. Wilson who put Denton's book on his/her list of best nonfiction books in an article for the London Spectator. Denton believes in evolution, common descent, and a universe that's billions of years old. Those views conflict directly with the beliefs of most Intelligent Design Creationists but that doesn't stop them from taking credit for his book.

#3: Poll Shows Broad Support for Teaching Evidence For and Against Darwin
Another top ten story reports the results of a poll of American adults. The results show that 81% support teaching "evidence relating to Darwinian evolution, pro and con." I also support this kind of teaching, especially since there's more to evolution than Darwin. The IDiots think this is newsworthy. In other news, those same American adults elected a misogynist, bigoted, stupid, egotistical, sexual predator as their President. I bet most IDiots voted for him.

#2: Douglas Axe Liberates Readers from Tyranny of Evolution "Experts"
Creationists love to brag about their books. The #2 top story is Doug Axe's book Undeniable. He claims the origin of life and the origin of new genes is impossible because the odds are too great. We all agree that the origin of life was a highly improbable event. New genes are also rare. Problem is, Axe doesn't have a better explanation. If he thinks aliens did it then we still have to explain the origin of aliens. Same with Zeus or any of the other gods. This is just another attack on evolution. When are the IDiots going to produce some evidence for the existence of an intelligent designer?


  1. #7 is interesting in a couple ways. First of all, I wonder if they considered that the fact so much DNA could be removed from a genome suggests that much of it is junk. They don't say.

    The also don't seem to realize when they inadvertently refute one of their most cherished beliefs, that of "irreducible complexity":

    Second, genes that appear to be nonessential by themselves can become essential when another gene is deleted. Clearly there are complex interactions going on among the 473 genes.


  2. What's their #1 Larry? Well, it doesn't matter to me, at least anymore.
    In 2016, I've re-learned one thing that my old high-school teacher taught me; you can't teach anyone anything if he doesn't want to be taught.

    While he was referring to me being bored to death in school, and sort of being ahead, he actually exposes the denial of some sorts of people who would rather die than agree to change... not to mention an adjustment in their set of beliefs.

    1. Apparently, their #1 story hadn't been posted yet when Dr. Moran made this post.

      You have an appropriate internet handle. The Don Quixote of fiction was delusional. Good choice.


  3. "#8: Merry Christmas! These Bacteria Are No Evolutionary Nightmare

    Larry, have you ever wondered why Jerry Coyne's blog seems almost too perfect? Without much of inconvenient criticisms? And ones that do appear, Jerry C seem to handle them too well...

    1. Well, if your comments are any measure of those "inconvenient criticisms" I doubt that Jerry has anything to worry about.

    2. Former Professor Coyne has a heavy hand with the banhammer.

    3. Coyne banned me. He's not tolerant of criticism.

    4. colnago80: he's retired, but not a former professor. He's now a professor emeritus, so still a professor.

      Diogenes: I'm curious, what was the criticism that resulted in your being banned?


  4. I like the irony of #10. IDists take every opportunity they can to ridicule Tyson and claim that he is a terrible scientist who's opinions aren't worth listening to. But when he says something that even remotely suggests support for ID, they jump on it.

  5. When you suggest that Zeus might be the designer, I'm sure that's just a momentary lapse. Surely you meant Epimethius and Prometheus?

  6. #8. Evolution of antibiotic resistance visualized in real time. I clicked through to the Disco Tute's explanation for why this evolution isn't evolution. Here's the money quote.

    Disco Tute: They [authors of the evolution paper] break the mutations down into silent changes, **changes of amino acids** (point mutations), and insertion-deletion or nonsense mutations, which almost certainly are loss of function (LOF).

    Stop right there. First, they glided past changes of amino acids, which can introduce new functions. They skip ahead to insertion-deletion, call them "nonsense mutations", and *assume* that which they need to prove: which almost certainly are loss of function. No, that's what you need to prove. You're just restating your hypothesis "evolution of new complexity is impossible" and present it as evidence for your desired conclusion "evolution of new complexity didn't happen here!"

    And in practice, we know this isn't true. Insertion/deletion mutations *are* involved (as one step among many) in the appearance of new functions, like nylonase. Wouldn't it be nice if the IDiots knew that?

    Continuing: Over half of genes contain such LOF mutations, along with some point mutations, which likely also degrade or destroy function. In other words, devolution.

    Again, folks, they just *assume* that which they need to prove: point mutations... likely also degrade or destroy function..

    Again, they're just restating their hypothesis in different words and presenting their belief as evidence their desired conclusion is true.

    And again, we know in practice this is not true, because we know changes of amino acids have introduced new functions.

    And this is the most substantive of all their 9 top stories.

    1. Let's say antibiotic resistance doesn't cause a loss of function ...

      Still, do you realize how sad this is evolutionists hanging on to this ONE EXAMPLE of "evolution in action" like grim death?

      Think about it; if millions of species on earth are supposedly "evolving", why not take one or few into the lab and prove how they are evolving, by what mechanism (s) and make some predictions?

      It's all nonsense designed to deceive the naive public under the umbrella of "science".

    2. Think about it; if millions of species on earth are supposedly "evolving", why not take one or few into the lab and prove how they are evolving, by what mechanism (s) and make some predictions?

      Hey, what a great idea! If only someone would do it.

    3. Don,

      Again, there's such thing as searching the web, for example, with google.

      "why not take one or few into the lab and prove how they are evolving, by what mechanism (s) and make some predictions?"

      Do you mean like the many experiments in such fields as directed evolution, studying organisms in the wild as they invade a new niche, studying bacterial populations for thousands of generations, biogeographical studies, archaeology, population genetics, computer simulations, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc?

      "It's all nonsense designed to deceive the naive public under the umbrella of "science"."

      Do you mean like the "theory" of "intelligent design"?

    4. Don Quixote tilts at this windmill: Think about it; if millions of species on earth are supposedly "evolving", why not take one or few into the lab and prove how they are evolving, by what mechanism (s) and make some predictions?

      Uh, they did. Read the scientific literature.

      What the hell do you think Lenski's been doing for 20 $%&*ing years? What about the genomic studies of nylonase done by the Japanse? T-urf13?

      It's a common creo trick. Ask a question based on a false premise. If people point out that your premise is false, then you say "They try to stop us from asking questions!"

  7. #9. Feathers on a dino or bird tail? You should be utterly confused as to why Stephen Meyer and the other IDiots go to bat for the absurd claim that a dino tail found in amber is a bird tail. If they really believed in the "intelligent design hypothesis", why the $%&* would they care whether birds evolved from dinosaurs or not? I mean, they supposedly allow for common descent, right? Behe said common descent was "trivial."

    Why couldn't their Intelligent Designer (name unspecified, but rhymes with Todd) design some feathers on a dinosaur? Right?

    I mean, besides Archaeopteryx, scientists in China have found *dozens* of species of feathered dinosaurs. So why would someone who *really* believed that Intelligent Design is a scientific hypothesis consider it so $%^&ing important to defend the creo belief (to paraphrase) "if it has a feather it CANNOT be a dinosaur, and if it's a dinosaur, that thing CANNOT be a feather!"

    What is THAT the ridiculous hill they choose to die on? I mean, there are dozens of species of feathered dinosaurs now, and the IDiots at the Disco Tute like Lathey Puffkin write thousands of words and spill massive amounts of ink going through all those dozens of species, saying "That one has feathers-- so it CANNOT be a dinosaur" or "That one's a dinosaur, so those feathery things CANNOT be feathers", and it appears in each case, they picked one of those 2 allowed possibilities by just flipping a $%&ing coin.


    Well, to summarize, it's because they're creationists. And if you don't know the history of creationism, about 100 years ago, Young Earth creationists decided to call Archaeopteryx "just a bird, a perching BIRD" and conceal or wave away its long bony tail, its toothed jaws, its neck entering the skull from the back not from below, and its many other dinosaurian features. Since the 80's the Young Earth creationists have quoted Alan Feduccia that Archaeopteryx is "just a bird, a perching BIRD" because Feduccia says "if it has a feather, it cannot be a dinosaur!" by his definition.

    So creationists are locked in by that historical legacy. Creos and ID proponents of the Disco Tute are to this day constrained by preserving the claimed authority of long-dead creationist geniuses like Duane Gish, so they MUST die on the hill of "it has a feather, it cannot be a dinosaur!" If they every admitted they got it wrong, they'd have to admit they're fallible, and we can't have that.

    It's so redonkulous that creos seriously write $%!+ like 'Archaeopteryx had bird-like teeth' (note every living bird species HAS NO TEETH) and Stephen Meyer is reduced to bleating 'the dino tail found in amber could be a long, bony, flexible, articulated bird tail' (note that NO LIVING BIRD SPECIES HAS A LONG BONY TAIL. They all have pygostyles.) Their definition of "bird" becomes ever wider with each new fossil dug up in China.

    Remember, don't call ID creationism! ID just aggressively defends every creationist belief. But don't call it creationism!

    1. Let's say there were dinosaurs with feathers...

      Why would a dinosaur need feathers if it couldn't fly?

      If you are cold, you get a fur coat not a feather coat ... It's nonsense.

    2. Don,

      Are you really that stupidly ignorant or you're just pretending? Check before writing your comments. There's such thing as searching, for example, with google.

      1) Feathers are excellent at isolating from cold.

      2) Knowing or not knowing why dinosaurs evolved feathers doesn't erase the evidence that dinosaurs evolved feathers.

      When scientists discover something, they don't ignore it because they haven't figured out why it happened.

    3. If you are cold, you get a fur coat not a feather coat ... It's nonsense.

      I know, right? I mean, if feathers were any good for heat insulation, people would be stuffing parkas and duvets with goose down.

    4. Don Quixote: Why would a dinosaur need feathers if it couldn't fly?

      That explains why the most expensive winter coats are stuffed with hair.

      Oh wait. They're stuffed with down. A simple, less "evolved" form of feather.

    5. "If you are cold, you get a fur coat not a feather coat .."

      You do if you're a mammal. I wonder why the designer couldn't give penguins fur -- after all, they don't use their feathers to fly. Surely a sensible designer could just dole out different designs across different phylogenetic groups. I wonder why he never gave bats feathers.

    6. Why would a dinosaur need feathers if it couldn't fly?

      Everyone knows dinosaurs can't fly, and those pterosaur fossils are just another example of the Deity's antic sense of humor.

      Funny guy - err, God.

      BTW, Don, do you ever get tired of being so obviously, absurdly wrong? I can't find "Thou shalt not be too damned smart" in the Ten Commandments anywhere, but it seems you've taken that to heart.

    7. Don,
      Feathers can also be used for display.

    8. Don, who said feathers were created for flying? They give effective heat insulation. Could that have been a more probable first usage?

    9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. The number one story of the year has now been posted. I won't spoil the "surprise":

    The Sensuous Curmudgeon has been blogging, in his inimitable fashion, about the DI's top ten list, though he has not yet covered the top 2 stories.

  9. Coyne banned me. He's not tolerant of criticism.

    Well...You should have sent him few pictures of your cat wearing Santaclause outfit, preferably with some dialogue between you and the cat. Jerry would have been ecstatic and could have reinstated you lol

  10. As an interesting contrast to the DI list, here is a summary of one science website's 2016 stories on evolution. For some odd reason it seems to be predominated by actual scientific research that addresses and answers specific questions about evolutionary theory, with no mention of ID creationism at all. Go figure:

    1. You might find this site interesting:

  11. ID is about scientific evidence for design and demonstrating the impossibility of chance being the origin. Then attacks on evolutionism is another front. Some ID see evolutionism in its glory as false and some do not. There are species here to ID folks. however a big tent helps all against a common
    This should be apparent by observation of the conversations.

    These are good stories they picked.
    Bacteria selection is not evolution. If it was then there would be new scientific names for these new species of bacteria. There isn't because its simple and rare cases of selectionism. Evolutionism is based on the glory of mutations.
    Showing selection in bacteria has nothing to do with evolutionism EXCEPT a starting point in lines of reasoning.
    likewise finding leggy whales is not proof for natural selection on mutation. They make this mistake also. A classic error.

    The american peoples support of freedom of enquiry and discussion in subjects of contention is a historic belief that is unique to them.
    Censorship is too them unjust, and suspicious of establishment tyranny.
    Creationists can work with the american public and just need to agitate more and get more law cases.

    It was a productive, maybe great year, for YEC/ID is its attrition on wrong ideas in origins.