Sunday, February 10, 2008

This is what we need to see more of in the papers!

In today's Statesman there is a wonderful editorial by Steve Bratteng, a science teacher at Westwood High School, in which he takes on the IDiots and evo-deniers the right way: not by going into the usual routine of debunking creo canards and falsehoods (which is certainly necessary to do, but likely to fall on deaf ears), but by introducing a series of 13 examples of real-world situations having to do with health and biology that evolution explains (e.g.: Why does each of your eyes have a blind spot and a significant tendency for retinal detachment, but a squid's eyes, which provide equally sharp vision, do not have either problem? Why do people of European descent have a fairly high frequency of an allele, which, in the homozygous condition, confers resistance to HIV infection?). Then he challenges readers who might think these can be explained by recourse to intelligent design to do so. I can't wait to hear what answers the creos try to invent for these.

This is what I want to see more scientists and pro-science citizens getting into our media: positive presentations and understanding of science, not just the usual bashing of "creos as morons" that makes them all defensive and further resistant to education. A lot of creos are pig-headed and stupid, sure, but most, I think, simply accept ideas like ID because they haven't been taught science very well and ID "sounds pretty good" to them.

I know the answers to #5 and #11!

Lena, care to give the creationist answers to Steve's questions?

Here are the answers.


  1. Interesting post, Martin.

    By the way, do you know what the real-world examples he presented were? Also, do you have a link to the story?


  2. #11, in fact, is a great example not only of natural selection, but of the self-correcting nature of science. It was first thought that the bubonic plague was the selective event that raised the frequency of the HIV-resistance allele, but then scientists realized that wasn't very likely, since HIV and plague don't have much in common either in structure (virus, bacteria) or immune system response. Now it's thought that it might have been selection to resistance of the smallpox virus, which instead of a quick, severe bottleneck would have been a lower-level but constant pressure for hundreds of years. And, in fact, that kind of pressure is just as likely if not more to cause such results. Science is fun!

  3. Flora: The link to the article with the 13 examples is in the post, right at the top.

  4. This gives me hope, particularly since I'll have a daughter starting Westwood high is a couple of years. Really nice to see that there are people like Bratteng there.

  5. Haha I feel stupid that I didn't see that! I've been reading so much on economics, my head is spinning....

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  7. 1. God's infinite plan.
    2. God inspired him.
    3. God made them that way.
    4. God's punishment for our sins.
    5. God's protection.
    6. God's punishment for Eve's sins.
    7. God made us that way.
    8. God's infinite plan.
    9. God wants us to buy them.
    10. God's infinite plan.
    11. God's infinite plan.
    12. God's infinite plan.
    13. God's punishment for the sinners in Austin.

    You really don't understand Intelligent Design.

    PS. :)

  8. LOL, that was a good one xD

    In short, god is a laughing matter, of course ;)

  9. Trackback from Atheist Revolution:


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