Evolution for illiterates, deathmongers, and Elmer Fudd idolizers: First and last in a series

“Big Dog” read this post but chose to respond only in the relative haven of his own faeces-covered kennel, and with all the erudition one would expect. I’ll leave him a trackback and see if he bothers replying with anything intelligible.

“Science to support evolution, upon reflection, certainly just like there is science to support man made global warming.”

Translated into a complete sentence, this means that “Big Dog” admits that he was lying before and that he’s aware that there is science to support evolution. He believes, however, that he’s free to discard it because this science is, just like that underlying climate change, unreliable. Notice that he doesn’t mention a single supposedly debunked or questioned point.

“Both are theories so neither has been proved … There is no scientific consensus and obviously it is not settled or it would not be a theory.”

Hmm, that sounds familiar. Where have I…ah, I know! See comment #19:

No Kemibe the idiot… it is a theory. Definition of a theory is an unproven scientific hypothesis. Evolution is far from proven. Q: Where are the missing links you’ve been searching for for decades? Answer: They don’t exist. Ergo theory.

Of course, these guys are completely wrong:

“Biologists consider the existence of biological evolution to be a fact. It can be demonstrated today and the historical evidence for its occurrence in the past is overwhelming. However, biologists readily admit that they are less certain of the exact mechanism of evolution; there are several theories of the mechanism of evolution.”

As for “Big Dog’s” claim that there is “no consensus,” I wonder what his definition of “consensus” is. Must it be something that even a small scattering of nutjobs–people whose “work” has been demolished by their peers and who in some cases have been exposed in court as liars–do not disagree with?
Actually, I’d like to see “Big Dog” offer a single example of a controversy about the factuality of evolution within the scientific community. Just one will do. No recourse to creationist sites, please; we’re looking for evidence of scientific dissent here, not a “Big Dog”-style “I call bullshit!” I hope he chooses carefully; it is all but assured that his fervent Internet search will only yield a specious example of a counterclaim that everyone here is already familiar with. This is what happens when you stake out an untenable position and tell lies to support it.

“I know the arguments, we share DNA with chimps blah, blah. We also share about 90% with rats and look nothing like them (well meathead looks like one).”

No, “Big Dog” clearly doesn’t “know the arguments,” none of which include the words “blah, blah.” Indeed, he’s unaware that his statement about rats–which is, not surprisingly, incorrect, as rats and humans share “only” about 25% of their genes–only puts him further in a hole.
If affirming the common ancestry of all living things relied solely on phenotype (appearance) it would be easy to dismiss the majority of organisms as being unrelated to humans. However, scientists long ago began making predictions about the relative degree of “relatedness” between humans and different animals and groups of animals–apes, monkeys, other mammals, other vertebrates (including reptiles and birds), invertebrates (such as insects), even bacteria.
These predictions have been borne out by not only by gross examination of anatomical structures but by molecular genetics and other modern techniques. “Big Dog” thinks he can just throw out the fact that humans and rats and chimps share a lot of DNA because rats and humans do not, in his judgment, look anything alike–but he’s yet again wrong.

“We have not seen one animal evolve into another…”

Oh, really? Is that the royal “we” you’re using?

“…and if the fittest will survive then why worry about polar bears or others “victims” of so called global warming … Surely we will adapt to what ever happens or we will perish.”

If the fittest will survive then why insist that they be armed? How is protecting ourselves with weapons (i.e., through a change in the environmnent rather than in the organism) any different than protecting other species through mechanical, biological, or chemical means? Consistency isn’t the moron’s strong point, is it? And how does any of this relate to evolution–the real version, that is, not the wingnut’s “SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST=THOSE WHO CAN KILL THE MOST, QED” semi-private and canted definition?

“If evolution is what happens in nature and you guys believe in it then you can’t change what will happen so why worry about the world?”

Yeah, good point. Guns are perfectly natural, but what about other man-made stuff? Why build shelter for ourselves or mass-produce food? Or…hey, am I really arguing with someone who claims that evolution implies that people “can’t change what will happen so why worry”? Must be that kind of Friday.

“Ignorant? Hardly. I just disagree with what you believe which is not the definition of ignorant. Otherwise that would make us both ignorant, would it not.”

Ignorance is believing you can throw out what that element of the world that operates using facts understands because you dislike the implications. Ignorance is pretending that facts and opinions are interchangeable. Expressing violent rhetoric toward those with whom you disagree and especially toward those who actively put you in your place, while not itself ignorance, seems to accompany ignorance with uncanny frequency.
By a similar token, “Big Dog” is not an asshole for disagreeing with me, he is an asshole for a variety of other demonstrable reasons.

“I enjoy when tolerant folks stop by to call me names and be intolerant.”

I, of course, never said I was tolerant of liars and idiots in any meaningful sense, and would hate to be viewed as such.

“I don’t like meathead. If he died tomorrow I would throw a party.”

These are probably by far the truest statements in the entire comment.
The idea here isn’t to convince this guy of anything but to predict how he’ll respond. It’s unlikely that “Big Dog” can be bothered to click on the links I supplied, much less read what’s there; he often doesn’t bother reading much of what he thinks supports his positions, so the idea of him bother with material that exposes his lies and errors is far-fetched. I’m guessing he’ll dismiss the things I posted demolishing his ideas as liberal propaganda (a handy wingnut synonym for “things I can label lies no matter how well established they are) and consciously or unconsciously misconstrue something written here or in one of the linked articles in such a way as to pretend it agrees with things he’s said.
Actually, since he operates this way daily, it takes little prescience to let fly with such a forecast.

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  1. #1 by kas on February 13, 2009 - 2:51 pm

    You have an enviable platform for disseminating useful and interesting information to many, many (useful and interesting) people, yet you seem intent on having a pissing contest with an ignoramus. Please tell us something useful and/or interesting instead. And take some deep breaths.

  2. #2 by mgordon on February 13, 2009 - 3:52 pm

    I’ve learned quite a few things from these “pissing contests”. Debunking the crap these people spread through the internet is important. You are never going to change their minds but you might prevent them from convincing others of their bullshit.

  3. #3 by bybelknap, FCD on February 13, 2009 - 4:14 pm

    What mgordon said. And there ain’t exactly a contest. It’s fire hose vs garden hose, and the valve in the garage that supplies the garden hose is turned off.

  4. #4 by bybelknap, FCD on February 13, 2009 - 4:14 pm

    What mgordon said. And there ain’t exactly a contest. It’s fire hose vs garden hose, and the valve in the garage that supplies the garden hose is turned off.

  5. #5 by Kevin Beck on February 13, 2009 - 4:15 pm

    I admit to being surprised by the level of “don’t bother with this idiot!” reaction in recent days. Much if not most of the time I have spent blogging here over the years has focused on pointing out the stupidity and hypocrisy of others, and until now few people have suggested that this is a completely futile endeavor. Is “Big Dog” simply that much more of an ignoramus than Gribbit, Nathan Bradfield, various Stop the ACLU posters, the Granite Grokkers, and too many others to remember, or are people really sick of what they see as a wasteful expenditure of finite Internet resources?
    Many SBers with far more relevant knowledge and experience than I have (PZ, Orac, the Denialism Blog crew, etc.) post at least a high a fraction of the time as I do for the primary purpose of highlighting the claims and utterances of dumb people. Ed Brayton even admits to monitoring WorldNut Daily.
    I won’t say people do this primarily because it sells; those with a basic respect for facts and honest discourse bristle at, and are frequently compelled to respond to, the expulsions of fools even when it is clear that those fools are never going to wise up. Call it a psychological shortcoming. And when clever commenters chime in with barbs of their own, the process becomes self-sustaining, and in a way not unlike the means by which nutter blogs survive: Put enough shitheads in one place and even the most malignantly silly and destructive ideas can persist.
    As mgordon suggests, I usually try to accompany the scorn with what I hope is a decent amount of actual science or other pertinent evidence. Failing that, I blog to amuse myself, and unapologetically so. I’m not buying the idea that people come to this blog to become significantly smarter, at least when I’m the one doing most of the blathering.

  6. #6 by mgordon on February 13, 2009 - 4:25 pm

    “I’m not buying the idea that people come to this blog to become significantly smarter, at least when I’m the one doing most of the blathering.”
    Considering that I have been reading here and riling up Big Dog and friends on the thread you provided for the last 3 hours instead of listening in my Data Structures class, I have actual become dumber today. Oh well, its Friday.

  7. #7 by bybelknap, FCD on February 13, 2009 - 4:56 pm

    Hammering on dolts like Gribbit and Big Dog are pretty much why I read this.
    There’s enough science to justify it being called a science blog, and the Thompson-esque thrashings are priceless.
    PZ and Orac are too kind by half. They are the Sierra Club and Kevin is the Monkey Wrench Gang. The offal that he shreds go into a pot of Slumgullion Stew. Yummy!

  8. #8 by Jim Fiore on February 13, 2009 - 5:09 pm

    Data Structures? Data Structures? Geez Louise, I teach this stuff (when I’m not talking about transistors and whatnot). There’s only one thing you gotta remember about data structures: An ordered list of pointers to objects is nearly as fast as an array of those objects but without the contiguous memory penalty, and thus often better than a linked list of those objects because it’s so much faster to access any given object.
    Well OK, that’s not the only thing, but it’s a good place to start.

  9. #9 by mgordon on February 13, 2009 - 6:06 pm

    I’ll remember that. We started in on link lists today. The previous few weeks were a refresher in Java (yes, we use Java).

  10. #10 by Kevin Beck on February 13, 2009 - 9:27 pm

    mgordon:
    “I have been reading here and riling up Big Dog and friends on the thread you provided for the last 3 hours”
    I read through that and responded to this comment from another known mindless quantity, Ogre (another fight-the-establishment type hiding behind a “bad-ass” name; in this case he apparently didn’t bother distinguishing between me and meatbrain). Amazingly, it again wound up in the spam filter. (Big Dog” is probably telling the truth about this since he does allow my trackbacks.)
    Here’s what I wrote:

    As you have probably noticed, Ogre, I do not rely on anything meatbrain says when pointing out that “Big Dog” is lying and wrong when it comes to evolution. I’ve seen these things for myself. “Big Dog” knows this, and I suspect you do too. The facts of evolution have nothing to do with meatbrain’s accuracy or lack thereof, or his existence, period. They stand on their own merits.
    I couldn’t care less what “Big Dog” writes about gun control, but he stuck an irrelevant little item in this post about evolution being unsupported by science and mentioned me in the course of doing so. Because I knew it would too easy to make him look foolish, I bit.
    He has the opportunity to refute what I wrote, but he won’t, because he can’t. Instead, he dismisses me as a troll and merely as someone with an opinion that differs from his, as if science is a collection of opinions and whims. He’s out of his league when it comes to biology (and a lot of other things), and if I were him I’d be annoyed at being hit over the head with my own lies and misconceptions on a regular basis.
    Shorter version: “Big Dog” talked crap about evolution and now he can’t back it up, so he’s got his tail between his legs. I went to the trouble to post some trivially accurate things about evolutionary science simply to watch this happen. It’s done with, and “Big Dog” will continue to spout lies and ignorant things to his heart’s content. That’s fine; people like him don’t change, and this is his blogpile.

    To these guys, evolution is as malleable and debatable as gun-control laws and taxation policy–everyone simply has an opinion and no one is any more right than anyone else (except for the science ignoramuses; they’re right because they “know” that all of science is just a theory, unproven, etc.). I knew he wouldn’t address anything in my point-by-point assessment of his comment; as I said, I was only interested in the exact form his dodge would take.

  11. #11 by Badger3k on February 14, 2009 - 2:48 am

    Please, keep it up. I like seeing idiots like this brought out from under the rocks and into the light of day. Of course, I may have to send you a bill for my medical expenses as my palms and desk somehow routinely crash into my head when reading these guys.

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