Category: "Debunking"

Questions for "Evolutionists" part 3

I stumbled upon a question on Yahoo Answers today, its related to a bit of confusion creationists have with evolution. The same sort of confusion you can see in my original questions for "evolutionists" post.

Soldier for Salvation asks "Why do evolutionists always try to separate the Big Bang from their other ideas?"

Where to start, as always I object to the term evolutionist, like Darwinist, its used to discredit people who accept evolution. Are you a gravitationist? No, because The Theory of Gravity is not a belief system, or a political system, or an ideology, or what somebody does, etc. It's a scientific theory explaining why matter is attracted to other matter.

Somebody who studies evolution is a biologist. They study the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, because it explains the diversity of life on Earth and how that life is related to each other.

Using the word evolutionist, is a cheap shot. But then, being in the position they're in they've got little else. Anyway moving on.

Whenever someone mentions the Big Bang, or anything occuring anywhere in the universe besides here on Earth when they challenge Evolutionism, Evolutionists always roundly tell that person that evolution only deals with things here on Earth. Why is this?

It's because you're getting the terms mixed up. Evolution was a word before Charles Darwin came along. There's the original meaning of it in English which Collins defines as:

Evolution "a process of gradual development in a particular situation or thing over a period of time."

And in biology nowadays it is short for the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, and explains the origin of species - it doesn't explain the beginning of the universe, or how life started, it deals with how life evolves.

When an astronomer uses the term stellar evolution, or planetary formation or whatever, and not all scientists do use the word evolution in this context, they're referring to "a process of gradual development in a particular situation or thing over a period of time" they're not referring to the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. They're talking about how the universe is aging, or developing. Not how stars are reproducing, undergoing mutations and how nature is selecting them - that would be silly.

Are you clear on that?

If you study astronomy you'll see the world "evolution" mentioned a LOT. there's talk of steller evolution, evolution of planets, evolution of galaxies, and many other mentions of it.

So how can you do this, Evolutionists?

/facepalm. Again two definitions, read above. One refers to change over time. A galaxy evolving, is just how it changes over time, not how or why it is, just that it is, or a person evolves from a child into an adult, it is used the same in this context as aging or growing up.

The Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection explains why and how species change from one thing into another.

One is a word describing change over time, and one is a scientific theory explaining how and why species evolve into other species.

It is rather comical watching creationists try and argue against Darwin, and Evolution by Natural Selection and seeing them extending that argument to the word evolution in general, I guess the city of London hasn't been evolving over the last 2000 years, because Darwin is wrong and things can't evolve!

Loony astrologer tells scientists to ask the Moon's permission before crashing things into it

The stupidity of some people is often hard to grasp, especially when you've got those good old wacky astrologers/shamans/priestess of something or other like Satya Harvey (real name Ann) - I ain't gonna link to it because I'm not increasing the ad revenue, but you can search for her and probably find what I'm talking about, or go through the link below to a related article which links to it.

This is what she said in regards to the successful completion of Japan's lunar orbiter Kaguya, which finished its mission by impacting the lunar surface a couple of days ago.

In many traditions, including astrology, the moon represents the feminine. It is the yin, the intuitive, the emotions. Women are connected to the moon by their menstrual cycles while they are fertile, and all beings, including the earth herself, are affected by the pull of the tides.

Did these scientists talk to the moon? Tell her what they were doing? Ask her permission? Show her respect?

Yes and in other, less whacky traditions the Moon is a 3474km wide ball of rock. We can talk to it all day and never get a response.

Honestly, and to think this loon is conning money out of people for her astrology shaman rubbish.

Hat tip to Patricia Phillips writing on the same website making sure those whacky new age types know it's nonsense.

Marmite Jesus looks more like Freddie Mercury

For some strange reason this nonsense made it onto the BBC News website.

It may not be immediately obvious to everyone, but one family are convinced they can see the face of Jesus on the lid of a jar of Marmite.

Claire Allen, 36, said she was the first to notice the image on the underside of the lid as she was putting the yeast spread on her son's toast.

Her husband Gareth, 37, said he could not believe his eyes when he saw it.

Mr Allen, of Ystrad, Rhondda, said: "The kids are still eating it, but we kept the lid."

He explained: "Claire saw it first and called her dad to come and take a photo of it.

"When I first looked at it I wasn't sure, but when I moved it away from me it started coming out. I thought yeah, she's right - that's the image of Jesus.

The only trouble is, it looks more like Freddie Mercury than Jesus.

Of course this is no more than pareidolia. I see all sorts of things in my bathroom rug, care bears, dragons, dwarfs, even yesterday I saw the Ebay logo. But that doesn't mean care bears are looking out for me. The survival value of this overly aggressive pattern recognition is obvious - it's much better to think you see a tiger hiding in the grass, than to not see one at all even when there is one there. It only takes a few vague suggestions of something to get our brains to fill in the missing detail and latch onto something, be they visual or even audio. Everyone encounters this all the time, be it pictures in clouds, tree bark or on bumpy wallpaper. The difference is most people know its just an illusion, apparently Claire Allen hasn't quite realised it yet:

People might think I'm nuts, but I like to think it's Jesus looking out for us

Yes, yes we do. Why would your intergalactic cosmic dictator be hiding in a jar of Marmite, couldn't he come up with something a bit more impressive?*

*This argument by no means can be used against the Flying Speghetti Monster - he is food and so would obviously appear in it.

The NHS should not be funding nonsense

It looks like the National Health Service might soon be willing to provide acupuncture for suffers of back pain, thanks to guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

What is acupuncture?

Essentially its the notion that disease or other problems are caused by your qi (read: magical body energies) being out of whack.  This out-of-whackness can be corrected by inserting needles into specific meridians (read: magic qi pathways) to reflow the qi energies.

Today however we know the actual causes of disease, and there's no magic qi involved.

So what do the studies show?

Studying acupuncture is actually fairly difficult as its problematic to develop way to blind the tests, and decent placebo controls are difficult to achieve.  However some recent studies have been well designed to take these into account.

Typically they would comprise of four groups.  One group getting real acupuncture, with the needles being inserted into the magic qi pathways, a second group getting fake acupuncture, by having the needles inserted randomly.  A third group having no needles inserted, for example having cocktail sticks pressed against the skin without penetrating it, this group acts as the placebo control.  And finally a forth group getting no treatment.

What do the results look like?  For starters inserting needles in the actual acupuncture meridians show no difference to inserting them randomly.  This tells us that the whole qi thing is bunk - but anyone with two brain cells would have guessed that anyway, considering we actually know how the body works today and we don't just make things up randomly.  Importantly however jabbing people with cocktail sticks without breaking the skin produces the same results as the real and fake acupuncture.  What does this tell us?  That acupuncture is no better than placebo.

What does that mean?  It means it doesn't work.

Complimentary and alternative medicine have no place in today's society.  But they're nice sounding right?  Wrong, by definition they don't work.  If they did work they would simply be called medicine.  Getting people to think there's anything alternative about any of these "treatments" is one of the biggest marketing achievements in history.

If the NHS are going to do this - let me suggest a cheaper and safer alternative.  Paul's ancient mystical art of cocktail stick jabbing - all the same effects as acupuncture - but safer as there's no risk of infection from breaking the skin, plus I'll do it for half the price these acupuncture whack jobs will charge you.  The only difference?  My marketing department isn't as well funded.

Catching homeopathic pseudoscience on the Obama's visit

I was just going over some of the BBC's coverage of the Obama's visit to London today and caught something rather odd during Mrs Obama's visit to a London hospital.

The clip I'm speaking of can be found here. Why the BBC bothers to publish such short and trivial clips is beyond me, and why the BBC calls Sarah Brown the first lady is questionable too, as we do not use the term in this country and if we did it would apply to the Queen. Anyway...

About 9 seconds into the video Mrs Obama is being spoken to by some woman, and the only thing I can make out is "naturopathic homeopathic route". What the hell? If somebody has more information about what was being said I would love to hear it. Perhaps my American readers could also enlighten me as to where Mrs Obama stands on this sort of thing, she strikes me as being a pretty intelligent woman so with a bit of luck she was just rolling her eyes at this.

Seriously why is this even being talked about in a hospital? Or was she visiting one of our world famous and utterly ridiculous homeopathic hospitals – god I hope not. The only time anything like this should ever even need to be mentioned in a hospital is if a patient brings it up, and needs to be informed about it, namely with somebody sayings it bollocks.

Worse still it's not only rubbish. HOMEOPATHY KILLS, heck so-called ALTERNATIVE... (aka not scientifically proven, made up by a bunch of random people who don't bother to do any tests, heck why test things when you can make vague claims about whatever junk you put into a bottle and sell it) ...MEDICINE KILLS.

And even worse in the UK homeopathic hospitals are funded by the tax payer, the only thing the tax payer should be involved with to do with homeopathic or alternative medicine in general is banning it and putting the proponents of it in jail, yes Prince Charles I'm looking at you, and the rest of you lot.

A Muslim Prime Minister? So what?

Over on Labourhome one poster attacks Labour MP Shahid Malik for "handing the BNP a massive propaganda victory".  What's the reported mishap?  At a conference back in 2008, Shahid Malik is reported to have said:

"I am confident, as Britain's first Muslim minister, that, in the next thirty years or so, we'll see a prime minister who happens to share my faith."

What's the big deal?  We have a Church of Scotland Prime Minister right now, we've had Church of England Prime Ministers in the past and even in-the-closet Roman Catholics.

The real issue everyone seems to be missing isn't about which supernatural intergalactic dictator somebody subscribes to, but the fact they subscribe to any supernatural intergalactic dictator.  I'd like to think that in 30 years time we would have made some progress and that we wouldn't have people in such important positions believing in such childish fairy tales.

The original poster goes on to ask:

So my question is this - how should Labour respond to Mr. Malik's remarks?

Respond to what?  He's entitled to his opinions, why should the Labour Party do anything about that? 

I do believe he's wrong and that the Christian elite are too well entrenched in this country for us to see a Muslim PM in that sort of time frame, at least not without a serious shift towards a secular state.  I'd like to think the increasing fundamentalism between Christianity, Judaism and Islam will help bolster the secular movement and drive the sensible majority in this country against religion - or irrationality in general, if its the Prince of Wales' bogus detox snake oil or supernatural intergalactic dictators at the end of the day its all the same thing - bullshit, and we should strive against it.

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