What the Hell: Part V

Pharyngula and Chris Clarke made it on DTN. This is so not fair! I left a comment at Moonbat Central giving my blog url. I believe in socialized medicine, fours years of tuition free college education and not prvitizing social security. See What the Hell I-IV for further details.

Update: The Darwinian Orthodoxy

I have added 32 more journals – bringing the total to an even 100.

SHAME, SHAME, SHAME: A Clarification

Let me be clear about what I object to in the previous.
The KMOV reporter mentioned that people had witnessed the man abusing his children and people had witnessed the man abusing his wife. The reporter also mentioned that several of the mans neighbor’s were so concerned about his behavior that they were thinking about selling their house and moving. It was in this context that the remark about nobody witnesing the man threatening people with a gun occured. It sounded to me like the previous violent behavior was being trivialized because no gun was involved. The sad reality of the situation is that in cases of domestic violence people end up dead regardless of how often or how many guns are brandished. Violent behavior against women and children is a good predictor of future violent behavior aginst women and children.


Friday night there was a story on the news about a double homicide, the murder was spoted, chased and died in a car crash. Saturday we found out the real story. It seems there was a divorce and a custody dispute. The-male- reporter for KMOV said something to the effect that no one had ever seen the murderer threaten any one with a gun before, as if this made things more shocking. Depite the fact that a number of people had witnessed the man physically abusing his children. A larger number had witnessed him abusing his wife, but hey, no one had seen him threaten people with a gun! This kinda of statement is why I really don’t watch the news anymore (well, that and the fact that Peter Jennings has been reduced to doing stories about UFO’s). Accordint to this story on STLtoday.com the man was politically connected. One wonders if this is why he was running around free instead of being locked up like he should have been.

The Evil Darwinian Orthodoxy

The ID and Creationist crowd like to argue that we should “teach the controversy” (hence the current abuse of the schoolboard system like we see currently occuring in Kansas. Click on the permanent links for: Redstate Rabble and Thoughts from Kansas for updates). On the other hand, when you ask for evidence of a controversy they like to say that they are kept out of the science journals by the evil Darwinian orthodoxy. On the righthand side of this blog I have posted the names of a wide variety of science journals. Most of them concern anthropology, a few of them concern ecology, biology, genetics, or geology. At any rate, during my time as an undergraduate and graduate student in anthropology I accumulated many articles from all of the journals on the list. There are others, such as “Ecology of Food and Nutrition” or “The Lancet” that occasionally contain articles relating to evolution, but since their main focus is not evolution I left them off the list (but it goes to show that nothing in biology makes sense without evolution). Of course, it goes without saying that since I am not a biologist, ecologist or geologist I have barely scratched the surface of journals relating to evolution. The point of all this is that I didn’t see any signs of a creationsim/design vs evolution controversy in any of the journals I used.
For another take on the “Controversy” go toThe Evolution Project and to The Non-Evolution Project.

House Bill 35 Update

I Recently wrote to my representitve (Michael Corcoran) in the Missouri House expressing my opposition to HB 35. Mr. Cocoran’s response was very encouraging. Mr. Corcoran opposes this bill (as well as HB 34, both introduced by Cynthia Davis)and doesn’t think the bill will get a hearing before the House Education Committee. According to Corcoran HB 34 probably wont make it out of committee or be debated on the floor. He also mentioned that Ms. Davis owns a religious bookstore in O’Fallon (which I was unaware of).

Darwin and Natural Selection

Over on the Panda’s Thumb I find the following comment”

“The evidence doesn’t support mutation/selection as the all powerful force of evolution. Darwin never subscribed to it. Anyone who’s actually read “The Origin of Species” knows Darwin believed that evolution was driven by the heritability of acquired characters.”

Here’s what Darwin had to say on natural selection:

“As natural selection acts soley by the preservation of profitable modifications, each new form will tend in a fully stocked country to take the place of, and finally exterminate, its own less improved parent form and other less favoured forms with wich it comes into competition. Thus extinction and natural selection go hand in hand (Origin of Species pg 159).”

“Can the principle of selection, which we have seen is so potent in the hands of man, apply under nature? I think that we shall see that it can act most efficiently. Let the endless number of slight variations and individual differences occuring in our domestic productions, and, in a lesser degree, in those under nature be borne in mind; as well as the strength of the hereditary tendency(Origin of Species pg 87).”

I could probably find more but these two will suffice. Let’s examine all three quotations. I interpret the first quote to mean that Darwin did not believe natural selection acting on mutation was the driving force of evolution. Two things could be said about that. First, the concept of mutation, being a term related to genetics was unknown. This gets back to comments I made in a previous post. Darwin was trying to talk about variabilty using archaic and outmoded concepts and trying to create a new vocabulary. Since genes and chromosomes and whatnot had not been discovered yet. For Darwin, variability was casued by a wide variaty of phenomena, including atavism, effects of previous sire, use/disuse of parts, and condition of life (for example, domesticated animals were more variable than wild animals because they were attended to by humans, the concept also had to do with rearing animals in a different environment than what they were accustomed to). So to say that Darwin didn’t think mutation/selection “drove’ evolution was misleading at best. Second, the crucial idea is that for Darwin natural selection acts on variability (however introduced). “Can it, then, be thought improbable, seeing that variations useful to man have undoubtedly occurred, that other variations useful in some way to each being in the great and complex battle of life, should occur in the course of many successive generations. If such do occur, can we doubt (remembering that many more individuals are born than can possibly survive) that individuals having any advantage, however slight, over others, would have the best chance of surviving and procreating their kind? On the other hand , we may feel sure that any variation in the least degree injurious would be rigidly destroyed (Origin of Species pg 87-88).” Later in the same chapter Darwin uses the concept of natural selection to make predictions about speciation and the fossil record (he also uses this idea in a latter chapter on the imperfection of the fossil record). I could pull quite a few other quotes from “The Origin of Species” to prove my point. I could also pull some from “The variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication” and The Descent of Man; and Selection in Relation to Sex” but I think the point is made.


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