Monday, February 2, 2015

The Professor says ...

Frame 9.A, the "professor" says "Lucy, the oldest known ancestor of humans is 2.9 million years old." In Frame 9.B, Chick managed to make 3 more lies about "Lucy," AL 288-1, and slip in several more about KMN-ER 1470 that I'll deal with in a later post.

The "Lucy" skeleton (‎Australopithecus afarensis) was discovered in 1974, and is much more famous than the 1857 Neanderthal calavera in Frame 8. Popularity of the "Lucy" fossil makes it a great threat to creationist dogmas by providing an obvious example of an so-called "Apeman" they are always demanding. This is why Chick, Hovind, and the rest of the YEC gang like to attack this single specimen. The remains from all sites with Au. afarensis fossils are dated to between 3.9 and 3.0 million years. About 400 specimens of Au. afarensis have been recovered so far.

"Lucy," AL 288-1, was not the oldest human ancestor by millions of years. "Lucy" isn't even the oldest known member of her own species. The "Lucy" skeleton was from sediments dated in 1992 by the Argon/Argon method as between 3.22 and 3.18 million years old, and the species is known from over 400 specimens ranging from 3.9 to 2.9 million years ago. The oldest examples are almost 700,000 years older than "Lucy," and the most recent (about the age that Chick falsely attributed to "Lucy") is 300,000 years younger.

Again, we see that the readers are directed to a 4 hour lie fest by Kent Hovind. More on that to follow.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Frame 8, First and most famous?

This is actually a fairly boring frame. It makes some dubious claims, but sets up some really wild creatocrap to come. The subtle comparison between the Neanderthal skull-cap (calvaria) and Charles Darwin's dome is almost clever.

Then there is the "diabolical Beard of Evil" worn by the "professor." Compare with this bit of sillyness:

This is such a well known piece of iconography that it has it's own webpage, The Beard of Evil! OOOH Scarrrrry!!! And, like a lot of Jack Chick, it is terribly passé witnessed by this entry in the The Evil Overlord List,
I will not grow a goatee. Yes, it is true that in the old days they made you look sinister. Unfortunately, these days they only make you look like a disaffected member of Generation X.

My beard shows that I have a rugged and yet well preserved phiz. Oh, and totally trustworthy.

As I said, mostly boring. Is the 1857 Neanderthal skull cap really "The first and most famous clue to early man?" The original drawing by anatomist Hermann Schaafhausen's is below.

Chick's drawing compares well with recent photos such as this:

I personally doubt that most people would think of this as the "The first and most famous clue to early man?" But, I don't think it really matters.

So long, Frame 7

I think we have exhausted the possibilities of Frame 7 for either amusement, or edification. The Chick/Hovind claim repeated here is that basically no science, from physics to biology, has empirical support other than "micro-evolution." And in creationism's distorted reality, "micro-evolution" isn't evolution at all.

But at long last, we can leave Frame 7, and contemplate the glory of Jack and Kent's adventure in human evolution.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Micros Macros, Deny the Factos

The last but not least, the end of Frame 7-A.

The original mistaken idea of macroevolution was that a "super" mutation, or "saltation" could produce huge viable alterations in a species in one generation. Hugo de Vries’s (1848-1935) was an early proponent of "mutation theory," which supposed that macro mutations, not Darwinian gradualism, led to the appearance of new species. This has been long rejected. The last scientist to promote such a notion was probably Richard Goldshmidt in the 1940s.

Current paleontologists, particularly Douglas Erwin and Robert Carroll, use the term but radically redefined. Their use is to indicate a shift in focus from the individual's expression of a new inherited mutation which they call "microevolution" to the evolutionary arc over hundreds, or thousands of generations and the accumulation of hundreds or thousands of mutations. The evolutionary change they are considering are between the taxonomic categories of "family" or even "phyla." Erwin and Valentine (2013) expanded their usage of "macroevoltution" even further to incorporate ideas of how geological, and ecological factors act independently and together to shape the adaptive landscape. In this application, "macroevolution" added natural events totally unrelated to genetics, or development. Valentine offered this definition in his 2004 book "On the Origin of Phyla," "Used here for evolutionary processes that do not involve changes in the frequency of structural genes, and includes gene regulatory evolution and patterns and rates of speciation and extinction." That is freaking incoherent. Robert Carroll hardly bothers with a definition, merely saying that "Macroevolution: evolution above the level of species," and "Microevolution: evolution at the level of populations and species." Obviously none of these scientists are suggesting a rejection of evolutionary theory. Why their distinctions of various sorts of evolution are pointless deserves an extended discussion elsewhere.

The notion that we have some sort of problem demonstrating 'macro' evolution is a joke. How can creationists deny the fact that we have directly observed the "Emergence of New Species." This is as "MACRO" as macro gets.

For a selection of books directly related to this area, see;

Carroll, Robert L.
1998 'Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution' New York: Cambridge University Press,


Valentine, James W.
2005 On the Origin of Phyla University of Chicago Press (Professor Valentine's book is probably the best study of the pre-Cambrian, and Cambrian eras available in English).

For non-scientists I recommend;

Carroll, Sean B.
2005 'Endless Forms Most Beautiful' New York: Norton


Shubin, Neal
2008 Your Inner Fish New York: Pantheon Books

But, none of these notions bare any resemblance to the creationist's warped presentations of these ideas. One popular definition is that a creationist calls "micro-evolution" all the evolution they cannot deny without appearing stupid, and "macro-evolution" is all the evolution that they are afraid is true. Most creationists these days will admit that "there is limited change within kinds," but still deny the origin of new species from older ones. Betraying the creationist anxiety about human evolution, they all deny that "a non-human gave birth to a human being."

The failures of the creationist attempt to reconcile their magical thinking with science are easy to point out. First, they cannot define their idea of "Kind." What is a "Kind?" Second, what is the creationist's argument that normal evolutionary processes which they admit normally occur are somehow blocked from their only logical result? What does a creationist taxonomy look like? What is the genetic barrier to speciation?
They can try by faking a sloppy, and inconsistent version of "kinds" substituted for species. This is the so-called creation science of "baraminology."

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Up dates

I have a lot of work ahead for this definitive debunking of "Big Daddy." So it happens that science advances faster than I can expose the lies of Jack Chick, and his felon partner Kent Hovind.

In this case, I have added a citation
"From Gas to Stars Over Cosmic Time"
Mac Low Mordecai-Mark
Science 28 June 2013:
Vol. 340 no. 6140
DOI: 10.1126/science.1229229

This has added to the debunking written months ago of "Big Daddy" lies in Frame 7.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

All things Big Daddy

I recently saw a few items that all Big Daddy fans will enjoy.

The shortest was this blog post with a link to a Christian Rock video that hits all the low notes of Big Daddy.

The second is a student's video version of "Big Daddy." It is nearly a frame by frame perfect reproduction with live actors. It is so good that I don't know if they are Chick supporters, or rational humans.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Frame 7, Kinds of Evolution: Origin of Life

4. Organic evolution, "Life from rocks."

We do no know exactly how life originated on Earth. We do know that it happened at least once at the end of the Hadean era, or about 3.9 billion years ago.* But, recall that the creationists like Jack Chick insist that there is no evidence that this could have occurred at all. There is just a glimpse at the available evidence in my A Short Outline of the Origin of Life. The appropriate goal for a critique of "Big Daddy" is merely to show that there are no apparently insurmountable barriers to a natural origin of life as Jack Chick, and his pal Kent Hovind have set out that there is no observable evidence for any "kind of evolution," other than their mischaracterized "micro evolution."

There are bacteria which "spring from inanimate matter" all the time. At least in the sense that they require absolutely no organic form of nutrition. And we know that "organic" molecules have no particular magic. There was once the thought that the organic "stuff" of life was completely different from "inorganic" or mineral matter. This seems still to be the thought of the ignorant. Known as vitalism, this concept was shown to be false by F. Wöhler, in his 1828 synthesis of urea, a "live" compound, from inorganic stock chemicals ("ON THE ARTIFICIAL PRODUCTION OF UREA" Annalen der Physik und Chemie, 88, Leipzig).

Charles R. Darwin in a letter to the botanist Joseph Hooker wrote, "It is mere rubbish thinking at present of the origin of life; one might as well think of the origin of matter." A few years later in 1871, he had observed, "It is often said that all the conditions for the first production of a living organism are present, which could ever have been present. But if (and Oh! what a big if!) we could conceive in some warm little pond, with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, light, heat, electricity, etc., present, that a protein compound was chemically formed ready to undergo still more complex changes, at the present day such matter would be instantly devoured or absorbed, which would not have been the case before living creatures were formed. "

The study of the origin of life is properly called abiogenesis. As Darwin noted, it was nothing but speculation until the 1950s. Then, in 1953 a short paper by Stanley Miller published in Science magazine brought origin of life studies into actual experimental research (“A Production of Amino Acids Under Possible Primitive Earth Conditions” Science vol. 117:528-529). What Miller had shown was that a very simple set of starting conditions, common gasses, hot water, and an electric spark would produce many of the chemicals essential to the origin of life. There were many critics, especially creationists. Miller and others repeated his experiment with different gasses, and energy sources. It was so simple to set up even high school chemistry labs could manage. Miller's last paper was published posthumously 55 years later, "A Reassessment of Prebiotic Organic Synthesis in Neutral Planetary Atmospheres" (H. James Cleaves & John H. Chalmers & Antonio Lazcano & Stanley L. Miller & Jeffrey L. Bada 2008 Orig Life Evol Biosph 38:105-115). This group at the University of California's Scripp's Institute demonstrated that under a neutral atmosphere, or even with a trace of free oxygen, ample amino acids could form in the presence of common minerals such as borax, or calcite.

A recent book reviewing the last 58 years of abiogenesis research, and pointing out several still large gaps in our knowledge is;
Deamer, David W.
2011 “First Life: Discovering the Connections between Stars, Cells, and How Life Began” University of California Press

A bit more technical is;
Schopf, William (editor)
2002 "Life's Origin: The Beginnings of Biological Evolution" University of California Press

For some really up-to-the-minute research see;
NASA's Astrobiology Institute website

* Rosing, Minik T. and Robert Frei 2004 U-rich Archaean sea-floor sediments from Greenland – indications of >3700 Ma oxygenic photosynthesis" Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 217 237-244 (online 6 December 03), Oleg Abramov, Stephen J. Mojzsis 2009 “Microbial habitability of the Hadean Earth during the late heavy bombardment” Nature 459, 419-422 (21 May) | doi:10.1038/nature08015;