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;

Friday, April 26, 2013

“Kinds” of evolution 1,2,3 a summary and extension

We have seen that the origin of the elements following the Big Bang origin of the universe is neither a great mystery nor unsupported by direct scientific observation. There is still much to be learned, but we can dispense with the lie that they are without clear and obvious evidence. The energy released in the Big Bang, regardless of source, cooled and this resulted in the formation of neutrons from a quark, and gluon storm under tremendous heat and pressure. The continued cooling due to cosmic expansion provided conditions where neutrons decayed to protons, electrons, and neutrinos. Protons found electrons becoming hydrogen. Accelerated protons found each other becoming helium. Neutrons continued to add themselves forming the isotopes of deuterium, and helium 3, and 4. Traces of lithium were made, but the Big Bang nucleosynthesis process was blocked at beryllium-8 due to its nearly instant self destruction back into helium.

Gravity came to be the most important force in the next step, the formation of stars. The earliest stars were mostly huge things, millions of times larger than our sun. They quickly (in universal time scales) generated the elemental nuclei up to iron’s 26 protons via the “slow” process . Again the process was blocked, but this time by the stability of the iron nucleus. That very stability, ironically, lead to the greatest explosions observed in the universe today, the super nova. Those events generated the rest of the heavy elements to uranium (and maybe higher). Once there were ample amounts of heavy elements, other more interesting things do start to appear - planets.

2007 NASA’s Spitzer space telescope detected silica (sand) in the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. The cyan dot just off center is the star's remnant.

This is, step by step, observed and verified scientific fact. Naturally creationists have denied it could ever be true. Any gap is clutched like a drowning man grabs at straws. One gap in our observations of ordinary r-process nucleosynthesis at atomic number 79, Gold, has just been filled. The collision of neutron stars, which are the remnants of massive star novas, provides the exact energy conditions for Gold synthesis. This has just been directly observed, and reported in, "Smoking Gun or Smoldering Embers? A Possible r-process Kilonova Associated with the Short-Hard GRB 130603B."

In the creationist’s freakish version of reality, planets just spring into existence by magic. For many decades, all leading creationist “thinkers” insisted that there were no planets other than those around the Earth. Henry Morris, founder of the Institute for Creation Research, was still trying to deny that science could discover extra-solar planets, or even the origin of the moon in the late 1990s. See for example his nonsense published as “The Stardust Trail.”

"As far as distant stars and galaxies are concerned, there is no evidence either in science or Scripture, that any of them have planets." Henry Morris, The Biblical Basis for Modern Science (Grand Rapids: Bier Book House, 1984) p. 244.

The late Duane Gish claimed that the non-existence of extra-solar planets was important to Christian faith. He wrote, “Our faith is based on the certainty of eyewitness accounts, not the uncertainty of the wobble of stars.”

Science knows, and every American should know that extra-solar planets are common. Science knows, and every American should know that the nebular hypothesis as proposed by Immanuel Kant in 1755 has been obsolete for over a century. Its modern replacement owes a great deal to Kant, but has the major advantage of making predictive statements regarding the physical structures we can directly observe in our solar system, and around distant stars. ( The Wikipedia article on this is excellent, and I'll just refer readers there).

This does not slow down the creationists who continue to deny reality, for example: as recently as 2011, "NASA Data Derail Nebular Hypothesis" by Brian Thomas of the ICR, "The nebular hypothesis is dead, and no other naturalistic origins scenario has fared any better. Clearly, the solar system is not a product of natural forces but of supernatural."

Two features of the modern nebular hypothesis are that there will be a circumstellar disk which will have remnants following the formation of inner planets. This is called the Kuiper Belt. It was recently determined by astronomers that Pluto was better classified as a Kuiper Belt object. There should also be an even more distant, spherical distribution of matter around a star called the Oort Cloud. These two concentrations of matter also have the interesting feature of explaining the origin, and persistence of comets. And this is why creationists hate and deny their very existence. Young Earth Creationists insist that the rather short cometary lives (hundreds to thousands to millions of years) somehow "proves" that the Earth is merely 6,000 years old. This is why we can read such stupidity from creationists as, “This imaginary cloud is called the "Oort Cloud," named after the astronomer who proposed it. The problem is that there is no observational evidence such a cloud exists at all.” “The Stardust Trail” Henry Morris.

Unfortunately for creationists, we have all the data we need. Even better, every feature of the modern Nebular Hypothesis: circumstellar disks, Kuiper Belts, and Oort Clouds, have been directly observed around other stars. And, how do we know that our solar system was built from earlier generations of stars? The most obvious way is the analysis of extra-solar dust grains still found today. There have been hundreds of scientific publications on these observations in just the last few years. Just use the Google; "extrasolar dust" is a good one. Then, "extrasolar disks" will reveal space telescope images of planet formation recorded for over a decade.