1 If Humans Came From Apes, Why Aren’t Apes Evolving Into Humans?
Humans, apes, and monkeys are only distant evolutionary “cousins.” We come not from apes but from a common ancestor that was neither ape nor human that lived millions of years in the past. In fact, during the last seven million years many human-like species have evolved; some examples include Homo habilis, Homo erectus, and Homo neanderthalensis. All of these went extinct at different times, leaving just us to share the planet with a handful of other primates.
2 There Are Too Many Gaps in the Fossil Record for Evolution to Be True
In fact, there are lots of intermediate fossils. Archaeopteryx, for example, is one of the earliest known fossil birds with a reptilian skeleton and feathers. There is now evidence that some dinosaurs had hair and feathers. Therapsids are the intermediates between reptiles and mammals, Tiktaalik is an extinct lobe-finned fish intermediate to amphibians, there are now at least six intermediate fossil stages in the evolution of whales, and in human evolution there are at least a dozen intermediate fossil stages since hominids branched off from the great apes six million years ago. Considering the exceptionally low probability that a dead plant or animal will fossilize it is remarkable we have as many fossils as we do. First the dead animal has to escape the jaws of scavengers. Then is has to be buried under the rare circumstances that will cause it to fossilize instead of decay. Then geological forces have to somehow bring the fossil back to the surface to be discovered millions of years later by the handful of paleontologists looking for them
3 If Evolution Happened Gradually Over Millions of Years Why Doesn’t the Fossil Record Show Gradual Change?
Sudden changes in the fossil record are not missing evidence of gradualism; they are extant evidence of punctuation. Species are stable over long periods of time and so they leave plenty of fossils in the strata while in their stable state. The change from one species to another, however, happens relatively quickly (on a geological time scale) in a process called punctuated equilibrium. One species can give rise to a new species when a small “founder” group breaks away and becomes isolated from the ancestral group. This new founder group, as long as it remains small and detached, may experience relatively rapid change (large populations are genetically stable). The speciational change happens so rapidly that few fossils are left to record it. But once changed into a new species, the individuals will retain their phenotype for a long time, leaving behind many well-preserved fossils. Millions of years later this process results in a fossil record that records mostly stability. The punctuation is there in between the equilibrium.
4 No One Has Ever Seen Evolution Happen
Evolution is a historical science confirmed by the fact that so many independent lines of evidence converge to this single conclusion. Independent sets of data from geology, paleontology, botany, zoology, biogeography, comparative anatomy and physiology, genetics, molecular biology, developmental biology, embryology, population genetics, genome sequencing, and many other sciences each point to the conclusion that life evolved. Creationists demand “just one fossil transitional form” that shows evolution. But evolution is not proved through a single fossil. It is proved through a convergence of fossils, along with a convergence of genetic comparisons between species, and a convergence of anatomical and physiological comparisons between species, and many other lines of inquiry. (In fact we can see evolution happen—especially among organisms with short reproductive cycles that are subject to extreme environmental pressures. Knowledge of the evolution of viruses and bacteria is vital to medical science.)
5 Science Claims That Evolution Happens by Random Chance
Natural selection is not “random” nor does it operate by “chance.” Natural selection preserves the gains and eradicates the mistakes. To illustrate this, imagine a monkey at a typewriter. In order for the monkey to type the first 13 letters of Hamlet’s soliloquy by chance, it would take 26 (to the 13th power) number of trials for success. This is 16 times as great as the total number of seconds that have elapsed in the lifetime of the solar system. But if each correct letter is preserved and each incorrect letter eradicated, the phrase “tobeornottobe” can be “selected for” in only 335 trials, or just seconds in a computer program. Richard Dawkins defines evolution as “random mutation plus nonrandom cumulative selection.” It is the cumulative selection that drives evolution. The eye evolved from a single, light sensitive spot in a cell into the complex eye of today not by chance, but through thousands of intermediate steps, each preserved because they made a better eye. any of these steps still exist in nature in simpler organisms.
6 Only an Intelligent Designer Could Have Made Something as Complex as an Eye
The anatomy of the human eye shows that it is anything but “intelligently designed.” It is built upside down and backwards, with photons of light having to travel through the cornea, lens, aqueous fluid, blood vessels, ganglion cells, amacrine cells, horizontal cells, and bipolar cells, before reaching the light sensitive rods and cones that convert the light signal into neural impulses, which are then sent to the visual cortex at the back of the brain for processing into meaningful patterns. For optimal vision, why would an intelligent designer have built an eye upside down and backwards? This “design” only makes sense if natural selection built eyes from available materials, and in the particular configuration of the ancestral organism’s pre-existing organic structures. The eye shows the pathways of evolutionary history, not intelligent design.
7 Evolution is Only A Theory
All branches of science are based on theories, which are grounded in testable hypothesis and explain a large and diverse body of facts about the world. A theory is considered robust if it consistently predicts new phenomena that are subsequently observed. Facts are the world’s data. Theories are explanatory ideas about those data. Constructs and other non-testable statements are not a part of science. The theory of evolution meets all the criteria of good science, as determined by Judge William Overton in the Arkansas creationism trial: • It is guided by natural law. • It has to be explanatory by reference to natural law. • It is testable against the empirical world. • Its conclusions are tentative. • It is testable and falsifiable. If you can find fossil mammals in the same geological strata as trilobites then evolution would be falsified. No one has ever found such contradictory data.
8 Evidence for Human Evolution Has Turned Out to Be Fake, Frauds, or Fanciful
Eager to discredit evolution, creationists ignore hominid fossil discoveries and cherry pick examples of hoaxes and mistakes in the belief that mistakes in science are a sign of weakness. This is a gross misunderstanding of the nature of science, which constantly advances by using both its mistakes and the successes. Its ability to build cumulatively on the past is how science progresses. The self-correcting feature of the scientific method is one of its most powerful assets. Hoaxes like Piltdown Man, and honest mistakes like Nebraska Man, Calaveras Man, and Hespero-pithecus, are, in time, corrected. In fact, it wasn’t creationists who exposed these errors, it was scientists who did so. Creationists simply read about the scientific exposé of these errors, and then duplicitously claimed them as their own.
9 The Second Law of Thermodynamics Proves That Evolution is Impossible
The Second Law of Thermodynamics applies to closed, isolated systems. Since the Earth receives a constant input of energy from the sun—it is an open-dissipative system—entropy may decrease and order increase (though the sun itself is running down in the process). Thus, the Earth is not strictly a closed system and life may evolve without violating natural law. As long as the sun is burning, life may continue thriving and evolving, just like automobiles may be prevented from rusting, burgers can be heated in ovens, and all manner of things in apparent violation of Second Law entropy may continue. But as soon as the sun burns out, entropy will take its course and life on Earth will cease.
10 Evolution Can’t Account For Morality
As a social primate species we evolved a deep sense of right and wrong in order to accentuate and reward reciprocity and cooperation, and to attenuate and punish excessive selfishness and free riding. As well, evolution created the moral emotions that tell us that lying, adultery, and stealing are wrong because they destroy trust in human relationships that depend on truth-telling, fidelity, and respect for property. It would not be possible for a social primate species to survive without some moral sense. On the constitution of human nature is built the constitutions of human societies.
“One of the things I’m always looking at as I travel around the world is “where the cooks come from”. And if there’s a regular feature, a common thread wherever you go in this world, it’s that the best cooks and often the best chefs come from the poorest or most challenging regions. And it is without doubt that the greatest , most beloved and iconic dishes in the pantheon of gastronomy—in any of the world’s mother cuisines—French, Italian or Chinese–originated with poor, hard-pressed, hard working farmers and laborers with no time, little money and no refrigeration.
Pot au Feu , Coq au Vin, Sup Tulang, Cassoulet, pasta, polenta, confit, —all of them began with the urgent need to make something good and reasonably sustaining out of very little. So many of the French classics began with the need to throw a bunch of stuff into a single pot over the coals, leave it simmering unattended all day while the family worked the fields, hopefully to return to something tasty and filling that would get them through the next day. French cooking, we tend to forget now, was rarely (for the majority of Frenchmen) about the best or the priciest or even the freshest ingredients. It was about taking what little you had or could afford and turning it into something delicious without interfering with the grim necessities of work and survival. The people I’m talking about here didn’t have money—or time to cook. And yet along with similarly pressed Italians, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Indians and other hungry innovators around the world, they created many of the enduring great dishes of history.
So the notion that hard working, hard pressed families with little time and slim budgets have to eat crappy, processed food –or that unspeakably, proudly unhealthy “novelty dishes” that come from nowhere but the fevered imaginations of marketing departments are—or should be—the lot of the working poor is nonsense.”—
I agree with Bourdain on this because I’ve also experienced it in traveling and living in different parts of the world. That isn’t to say that poor folks in the US are individually responsible for the societal conditions which have created the US food system and its gastronomical and nutritional degradation. But I know from my time in China that being poor doesn’t mean eating poorly. And when I say “poor”, I’m talking no plumbing or electricity.
When I was a child I spent time living with relatives in China, in a house made of stamped earth, with no plumbing or electricity, next to fields fertilized with night soil, in a village where folks had never ridden in a car or seen a TV and could not possibly imagine a supermarket. And I discovered that poor rural Chinese probably eat better food than many middle-class US Americans. I loved that food. Later on, as a student in rural China as well as Hong Kong, I was able to eat amazing, delicious, nutritious food for nickels and dimes.
Obviously, China has the advantage of thousands of years of accumulated food knowledge; and don’t get me wrong, life is tough in those conditions and I’m not nostalgic for Third World poverty. But the point is that poor people around the world demonstrate ingenious ways of making food work for them, and the US could probably use a few lessons from those food cultures.
Yeah I think “working poor” is a bit too simplistic a nomenclature. The difference with poor people in America and Europe is that, well, there are officially no poor people in America and Europe, there are people who have failed to get rich. The diet reflects this. We’re very alienated from our food culture. I can imagine in the US it should be extremely rich because of all the various traditions over there. In France it’s certainly still very present, but in the UK it’s been totally annihilated by WWII and rationing and appropriated by the aristocracy. Also a lot of luxury dishes are basically what poor people would have eaten back in the day. I mean, at Christmas, in France, we eat snails and chestnuts, which would definitely have been poor people foods in autumn and winter, it’s like that food that came from the ingenuity of having to do a lot with very little has become a luxury for people who need to atone for their riches, and the working classes are left eating pasta and frozen stuff.
Good points from strontiumchienne. In the US, it was also pretty much after WWII that food culture was traded in for industrialized mass processing which had been set up for war rations (e.g. SPAM!). In the 1950s, the popular family ideal was consciously shifted through propaganda from growing Victory Gardens to popping open canned, frozen, irradiated, chemically preserved food products from corrupt subsidized agribusiness. Then came the chain franchises piggybacking on subsidized agribusiness, and pretty soon the corporations had squeezed original food cultures out of the picture. So it’s true, it’s too simplistic to equate the working poor in these various contexts around the world. In other words, the fundamental problem with food culture in the US is embedded in its political economy, so reviving or reforming food culture can’t really be addressed in isolation from some sort of political-economic upheaval.
I want to throw in that there were some good things about the advent of “canned, frozen, irradiated, chemically preserved food products.” This essentially meant that many families were no longer dependent upon subsistence farming—which didn’t always produce enough food, and often required extensive amounts of labor, which prevented things like children obtaining an education or gaining access to a different level of social mobility. The mass-produced foods were also less expensive, which at the time helped people buy more of it. If you could buy an 88-cent loaf (in today’s money) of bread that you didn’t have to worry about going bad for 2-3 weeks, or longer, then that was money saved and food in your belly. Some food is better than no food, and bad food is also better than no food.
Not that I’m typically one to defend mass-produced food or the fact that today, the poor rely disproportionately on bad food that causes them to suffer disproportionately from a variety of problems that stem from bad food. At the same time, I have to compare the post-war situation to the pre-war situation, and the fact is, even before the Depression, many people in the US regularly went without getting enough to eat. So, while understanding all of the problems with the current food system, we also have to understand where it benefits people. I can’t condemn it as 100% evil, because the truth is, it has helped prevent hunger from being a huge problem here—and that is something, even if it’s not enough.
The question is: how do we create a system/culture that makes sure that people are getting both enough food and good food?
I think I’ve been courteous, relatively speaking, regarding the recent push on Tumblr to appropriate the word “queer” and render it meaningless via relentless whining from “heteromantics” and pukeworthy sunshine-sphinctered essays about how anybody can be queer! anybody! Straight white boys, your dog, you, even if you recoil inwardly at the thought of same-sex physical relations, because really it’s all about acceptance! There are kids with their heads up their damn ass telling us about how “queer” isn’t a slur anymore, because a bunch of academics have decreed it otherwise, and God knows there’s no group of people more trustworthy and in touch with the plight of the common people than tenured academics. I read shit like this:
“My hope in providing a definition of queer is that people gain awareness of the reclaiming movement for ‘queer’ and recognize that the word ‘queer’ is not always intended as a slur by those who say it. Once people understand that intention, then we can discuss whether or not ‘queer’ should be used as a reclaimed word or if it will always be a hateful slur.”
…and lose all hope that people understand what the problem actually is, what reclamation actually means, and that intent means damn little when we are talking about oppressive language.
So here’s an example:
A young man was recently beaten to death by people shouting gay slurs.Just days ago! We don’t know for sure what was going through the minds of his assailants, but one can bet it didn’t have a goddamned thing to do with heteromantic demisexuals. Here’s another point: how many of these self-assigned heterosexual/asexual “queers” would want to be called a faggot? or a bulldyke, or a cocksucker, a carpetmuncher, a he-she, an it? They seem to get damned upset about someone mistaking them for gay, and are pretty grossed out about gay sex* , so I’m guessing not very many. Why is queer different? Why is queer, out of all the possible words of violence that could have been chose, being forcibly torn from the communities who are actually targeted by it, washed and repainted and made to stand in for any ambiguous concept its captors desire?
It’s a damn long answer, going back decades. I’m not going to go through all of it when there are dozens of books out there that lay it out in great detail. But it does bring me to the second point; these would-be queers have no concept of history. All those riots, those forcible stripdowns, those police raids, those police beatings, gay cancer, murder acquittals, the fear and the need which led to the development of close-knit and intensely secretive queer communities - all of these things I have never seen one of the wannabes mention, or even try to articulate how the hell they think their experiences relate. Because they can’t. Because they don’t know. Because they don’t care.
People die everyday because of homophobia and transphobia. People go homeless everyday because of them, they are raped every day because of them, they are denied basic human kindness because of them. They are diseases of the present. When people say “queer is a slur”, it is not because they don’t understand what reclamation means, it’s because they understand that reclamation means confronting the words that oppress you personally and threaten you personally. It is walking in the lion’s den and spitting in the eye of the lion. Attempting to “reclaim” a word that was never directed at you and the demographics you belong to demonstrates only that you understand even less than the bigots who use those words pejoratively. You were never in danger; you have no right to to pretend you ever were.Attempting to sever a slur from its past and its present is an act of violence. It is an act of erasure. It tells the targets of the slur that you intend to interfere in their attempts to confront their oppression and render their work meaningless. The slur becomes a bland, tame plaything for those it never was meant to harm. It still kills out in the real world, but we queers are not permitted to recenter the focus there. We are called cunts and bigots for trying to do so. We are accused of using power we do not possess. Meanwhile, actual queers, the “queer” people mean when they rape a lesbian or murder a trans woman or beat a young man to death, they go on suffering.
I do not give a shit about academic blathering about the evolution of words when what I see is appropriation. Words cannot be divorced from their contexts, especially when the context is ongoing suffering. Trying to unfaggotdykequeen “queer” is homophobia; those who attempt it, homophobes who prop up a system or marginalization and erasure for their own self-gratification, to “win” a fight they were never on the losing end of. This is becoming more and more apparent every day this ludicrous argument goes on. Who benefits from an environment where screaming about how awful the world is for not validating every aspect of your mundane life is more important than respect for victims of oppression?
(*If you’re thinking “but I get grossed out by straight sex too!”, here’s my answer: you live in a homophobic society. That sea of homophobia you swim in is coloring the way you feel about gay sex, whether you think you’re beyond it or not. No declaration of disgust about gay intimacy can be disentangled from it. I am not interested in your personal touches.)
Actually, I think they intellectually know about the entrapment arrests, the riots, the murders, the plague that got ignored for a decade, etc. They just don’t care. And why should they? It’s not about them, so it’s just an abstraction.
So, is “Traneto” offensive? Michael was the one who invented this name… *is confused*
“Traneto” is indeed offensive. I haven’t seen the interview where Fassy said that—though I don’t doubt that he did—but regardless of the name’s origin, it’s not cool! Celebrities are people too, and sometimes they say and do fucked up things without thinking about it. I doubt Fassy intended to say something that could be offensive and triggering to the trans* community, but, as has been established many times and in many ways, intent doesn’t prevent people from being harmed! We obviously can’t go back and make Fassy unsay what he said, but we can avoid using these phrases ourselves. “Dragneto” is a less offensive—and much more accurate!—alternative.