This is just a small selection of some recent comments that didn’t make it below the fold, but are being displayed in prime time here. I can either ban the writers (creationists and science-dissers usually get automatic bans), or can moderate them and let you do battle. Remember, though, that the chances they’ll change their minds is exactly ZERO, and I don’t really like the “chew toy” approach to comments.
All comment are reproduced exactly as submitted.
First, we have a comment from reader “Bill” In reply to jaxkayaker on the post “Evolution denialism by Pence“. I put this one first because the comment about bacteria, bananas, and horses is hilarious (my emphasis):
when you say evolution is true what are talking about? You mean all of what some scientists claim is true without a doubt? Yes, bacteria mutates but it is still bacteria. It is not a horse or a banana. You don’t see it changing all you can do is assume or guess but certainly you cannot fault somebody for questioning it or doubting it. I do understand that the fossils we have show from primitive to more recent depending on how far you dig but I do not see how that proves or even implies common ancestry. So some evolution that we observe is obviously true but going back from the beginning of life is a stretch.
Here we have the usual “we have microevolution but not macroevolution”. The response to that, or to the Ray Comfort claim that we need to see macroevolution happening in real time, is that such a claim is fatuous. First, we do see macroevolution in the fossil record and “Bill” admits it (“I do understand that the fossils we have show from primitive to more recent depending on how far you dig”). This is the slam-dunk refutation of the “microevolution happens but not macroevolution” claim. As for seeing a bacteria evolve into a banana in real time, well, that’s just idiotic.
The claim that we can see change from primitive to more recent forms in the fossil record is true: we have such progressions showing early mammal-like reptiles evolving into reptiles, theropod reptiles evolving into birds, and land-dwelling artiodactyls evolving into whales. (There are many more, as you can see in WEIT.) What Bill doesn’t realize is that this progression does gives evidence for common ancestry, for the earlier versions of these transitional forms resemble more strongly the proposed common ancestor. Early feathered dinosaurs evolved into more-feathered, flying dinosaurs (aka birds), and that gives evidence that modern reptiles and birds share a common ancestry. Early hominins are more like arboreal, small-brained primate ancestors than are later hominins. It’s not rocket science to see that the nature of transitional forms over time gives evidence for common ancestry, but I guess Bill isn’t close to being a rocket scientist.
Reader “John” tried to leave this comment on my post “Reflections on the tenth anniversary of The God Delusion“:
Why do you try so hard to disprove God with this far fetched lunacy. We can not have evolved the odds of winning the lottery every week for you life time are more likely.
If you really were as well educated as some of you think you are, you would question the lodgic of this theory.
You are too amazing to have evolved.
Come up with something better.
“You are too amazing to have evolved” would make a nice creationist tee shirt. I can’t resist adding that although this comment needs no refutation, were the reader educated, he or she would be able to write and spell properly.
Reader “Blackstone” tried to leave this comment on my post “Second most popular TED talk of all time, on power posing, disavowed by senior author“:
Enlightenment methodology applied to human psychology, society and spirituality is farcical and worse than useless — it is a weapon of mass destruction.
The universe revealed by science is a bleak wasteland of atoms in a void that offers humanity no hope, no meaning and no guidance. Scientism applied to human beings is leading to mass depression, drug addiction, obesity, techno-idolatry and other symptoms of the massive spiritual void created by the Enlightenment cult. This cult has terrorized mankind long enough; it’s time to reign [sic] them in and end their reign of terror!
Indeed, “Blackstone” is right in one way: the universe itself, as revealed by science, offers humanity no hope, meaning, or guidance—for that kind of guidance can come only from humans themselves, not from the laws of physics. (I’d add, though, that the Universe offers meaning by revealing the working of physical law and its consistency over time and space.) As for scientism causing mass depression, drug addiction, obesity (really??), techno-idolatry and other horrors of secularism, well, that’s just wrong. Scientism is a canard anyway, as even secular countries like Denmark and Sweden aren’t grossly dysfunctional.
But let’s check one claim: that atheistic countries (I take “scientism” as being correlated with “atheism”) tend to be countries with more obese inhabitants. Here are maps from a 2014 survey by the World Health Organization showing the degree of obesity in different countries (first men and then women. The lighter yellow countries are those with few obese people, and obesity increases as one goes from yellow to orange to red:
Not much data here to show a correlation between scientism and obesity, except insofar as sub-Saharan countries are religious, as we know, and also less obese. But that’s because they don’t have enough food! And look at atheistic China—inhabitants skinny as rails. In contrast, look at the U.S.—the most religious of First World countries—compared to Northern Europe—far more atheistic. Except for the UK (too many chips and beer!), the U.S. and Canada (too much poutine!) are fatter than the inhabitants of nearly every European country! Mexicans, religious as they are, should surely be skinnier than Americans and Canadians, but the women aren’t. And the biggest exception is the Middle East and North Africa. especially for women: deeply religious Muslims and yet still prone to obesity. I had no idea that Saudi, Iraqui, Egyptian, Tunisian, Algerian, Iranian, and Turkish women were that overweight. Remember, too, that women tend to be more religious than men in the same country, and so should be skinnier.
Now I haven’t plotted a correlation between obesity and unbelief among countries, but if one exists, and I doubt it, then it would surely be mediated through poverty: poor countries tend to be more religious, and poor countries tend to have fewer obese people. It’s not the secularism that causes obesity, it’s the higher well-being, which, by and large, is correlated with nonbelief. The U.S. would be a glaring exception to the “secularism causes obesity rule”, for we’re religious and overweight.
But let’s leave aside the stupid claims about the perfidies of scientism. The US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Russia, and the Middle East need to slim down. 25% of the population being obese is surely a serious public health problem; but it’s one that “scientism” can help solve!