Chris Matthews to Mike Pence: Do you or don’t you believe in evolution?

posted at 8:50 pm on May 5, 2009 by Allahpundit

For your amusement or dismay, as the case may be, five minutes of increasingly awkward ducking o’ the question. “I think you believe in evolution,” says Matthews at one point, “but you’re afraid to say so because your conservative constituency might find that offensive.” Actually, my hunch is that he doesn’t believe in it but is afraid to say so lest he be deemed a total crank by the media. I thought the standard line for creationist Republican politicians when asked this question is to say yes, of course they accept Darwin, before quickly adding that that’s not strictly incompatible with belief in a Christian God. That way you get to have your cake and eat it too. Why would Pence decline to do so unless he couldn’t utter both parts of that rote answer in good faith?

Maybe Matthews is just grumpy because he knows that, despite the left’s best efforts, the public still doesn’t much care about global warming. Watch it all the way through, incidentally, or else you’ll miss his salute to the intellects of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and, of course, Sarah Palin. And to think, I thought he misspoke that time when he accused her of not knowing how to read.


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Evolution and Global Warming will go down as the biggest “scientific” hoaxes of the last two centuries. That is why neither “theory” will tolerate dissent or legitimate scientific iquiry. The Inquisition is currently in power on both fronts.

mankai on May 6, 2009 at 1:40 PM

From what we now know about cell chemistry and thermodynamics, the chances that a single cell, or even one functional enzyme or DNA molecule could form randomly from non-living matter even over billions of years are so ridiculously low (like winning the lottery 100 times in a row) that the most objective chemist would have to consider it a miracle.

Steve Z on May 6, 2009 at 11:25 AM


No miracle, just a simple statistical likelihood given the nature of the sample size…

elgeneralisimo on May 6, 2009 at 1:48 PM

The Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection
or, The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life

By Charles Darwin, M.A., F.R.S.,

HEY! I got a couple of questions;
-am I a member of a “favoured race”? (no peeking!)
-I know Mr. Darwin studied medicine. What were the M.A
and F.R.S. credentials ?
-has anyone here other than my self actually WATCHED “Expelled” from start to finish?
-if you have, what are your thoughts regarding the Polish intellectual who stated that political correctness is stopping scientific debate in the U.S.?
-BONUS QUESTION: how many posters/readers here have ever thought through WHAT you believe, WHY you believe it, HOW you arrived at those beliefs, and the potential ramifications? If you answer “yes” on the Bonus Question, are you willing to drop the bumper sticker slogans that masquerade as thought, speak civilly, and openly debate evidence?

oldleprechaun on May 6, 2009 at 1:48 PM

Sure, it bothers me to think you could be right. I don’t think you are, but I admit there’s a very tiny possibility I could be wrong. And if I am wrong it would really really suck to have right4life up in Heaven laughing at me. That would make hell unbearable…

DarkCurrent on May 6, 2009 at 1:38 PM

I may not be right, but Jesus IS.

I wouldn’t bet against Him.

in a way hell is merciful, to those in sin, God’s very presence is unbearable…look at the reaction of the demons to Jesus’ presence…

right4life on May 6, 2009 at 1:49 PM

You’re right mankai. Evolution is a hoax and Fred Flintstone really did drive a T.Rex frontloader and played with Dino in the front yard after work with a Brontosaurus burger on the grill.

I feel like I’m surrounded by lunatics on both sides. Global Warming will leave my house underwater in the next 30 days, and the world is only 6,000 years old. The next third party should be called “The Non Lunatic Party”…

adamsmith on May 6, 2009 at 1:50 PM

third party should be called “The Non Lunatic Party”…

Where do I sign up?

oldleprechaun on May 6, 2009 at 1:59 PM

The witch hunt continues. Do you believe in Glow-baal warming? No? Burn him! Do you believe in macro-evilution? No? Burn him!

Nobody expects the MSM Inquisition!

kirkill on May 6, 2009 at 1:59 PM

right4life on May 6, 2009 at 1:49 PM

Something for me to sleep on. Goodnight from Shanghai!

DarkCurrent on May 6, 2009 at 2:01 PM

No miracle, just a simple statistical likelihood given the nature of the sample size…

elgeneralisimo on May 6, 2009 at 1:48 PM

and that “no miracle” happened how many times over and over until we gained sight, smell, taste, and conscience? Please.

kirkill on May 6, 2009 at 2:03 PM

DarkCurrent on May 6, 2009 at 2:01 PM

goodnight my friend..

right4life on May 6, 2009 at 2:06 PM

and of course ‘my friend’ is not to be confused with mccain’s ‘my friends’…. ;-)

right4life on May 6, 2009 at 2:06 PM

kirkill on May 6, 2009 at 1:59 PM

Well, there you’ve gone and confused a pathetic old leprechaun. On that warming thing, was that Glo-Baal, or Glo-bull?

oldleprechaun on May 6, 2009 at 2:12 PM

The fact that he’s afraid to give a straight answer shows how politically important this issue is.

I thought the standard line for creationist Republican politicians when asked this question is to say yes, of course they accept Darwin, before quickly adding that that’s not strictly incompatible with belief in a Christian God. That way you get to have your cake and eat it too.

Not really. For creationists, it’s either 7 days, ID, or no cake, period. Which I always thought was strange, since theistic evolution is technically both intelligent design and creationism.

RightOFLeft on May 6, 2009 at 2:25 PM

HEY! I got a couple of questions;

Sure, why not?

am I a member of a “favoured race”? (no peeking!)

Define “favoured race” in terms modern biologists would use?

-I know Mr. Darwin studied medicine. What were the M.A
and F.R.S. credentials ?

Given the state of medicine 150 years ago, it wouldn’t be that impressive if he did. What about the credentials of virtually every biologist alive today?

-has anyone here other than my self actually WATCHED “Expelled” from start to finish?

Have you read the Origin of Species from cover to cover?

-if you have, what are your thoughts regarding the Polish intellectual who stated that political correctness is stopping scientific debate in the U.S.?

I haven’t seen the film, but there are many difficult questions that political correctness gets in the way of answering.

-BONUS QUESTION: how many posters/readers here have ever thought through WHAT you believe, WHY you believe it, HOW you arrived at those beliefs, and the potential ramifications? If you answer “yes” on the Bonus Question, are you willing to drop the bumper sticker slogans that masquerade as thought, speak civilly, and openly debate evidence?

Of course I have, and right back at ya’.

RightOFLeft on May 6, 2009 at 2:48 PM

You are an especially hopeless case. You are a prime sophist. The burden of proof is on you, Mr Sophist, not on me. This is the same trick that the ancient Sophists tried to pull on Socrates. This rhetorical gamesmanship was sophistry then, irritating Socrates and wasting his time, and it remains so today.

I’ve already posted quite a few issues….your ducking and dodging is very typical and telling…..

YOU are the one making the arguments, YOU are the one who must show how resoundingly Intelligent Design absolutely DESTROYS the evolution argument. Since doing so is entirely not possible, you resort to casuistry and tricks of equivocation and try to foist your own burden of proof onto others. Not going to fly with me, Poindexter.

Edouard on May 6, 2009 at 1:26 PM

already have dumbass

right4life on May 6, 2009 at 1:27 PM

BZZT! WRONG! Your posts in this thread have not destroyed the theory of evolution. SORRY! NO POINTS! The burden of proof is on your back, not mine, if you are to demolish evolution and replace it with intelligent design as the prevailing theory. And indeed, Mr right4life, you are now, and will prove to be, entirely unable to do, same as all other ID Sophists.

To the others reading this thread: the poster above, “right4life” is a prime example of the argumentational disingenuousness and indeed, dishonesty, so commonly practiced by the creationist / ID crowd that is currently hellbent on dragging conservatism through the mud and making conservatives look like complete kooks publicly.

Just remember that the following logical fallacies are Standard Procedure for the Creationist / ID Sophist method — central to bamboozling you with their “argument” — and you won’t have to be waste hours of your life being dragged down to their parlour-game, gainsaying level:

Shifting the Burden of Proof, i.e. Argument from Ignorance

and

Equivocation

and

Begging the Question

and

The Loaded Question Fallacy

Edouard on May 6, 2009 at 2:56 PM

It is wholly incompatible with the core Christian doctrine of “sin=death, death=enemy, grave=no decay,

resurrection=conquering death”… but Christianity long ago dispensed with many of its core truths for temporal, political approval.
mankai

Uhm, is Christianity the ONLY religion that believes is a god?

DSchoen on May 6, 2009 at 3:03 PM

Evolution and Global Warming will go down as the biggest “scientific” hoaxes of the last two centuries. That is why neither “theory” will tolerate dissent or legitimate scientific iquiry. The Inquisition is currently in power on both fronts.

mankai on May 6, 2009 at 1:40 PM

I agree there is an inquisition on both sides…

“Scientific theories” do not go away they evolve away… and all evidence that they were ever mistaken is erased from human memory. That is how scientist save face.

So don’t look for that great opportunity to say “I told you so.” Well until the next life anyway.

petunia on May 6, 2009 at 3:04 PM

Edouard on May 6, 2009 at 2:56 PM

in other words, you cannot answer my points, and instead have to try to baffle em with bullshit!!

typical darwiniac.

loser.

right4life on May 6, 2009 at 3:04 PM

Scientific theories explain an observed pattern in nature.
They can be derived by experimentation OR repeated observation.
The word ‘theory’ is so often misused & construed to always be scientific when many times it is NOT.
Beliefs are often touted as theories.
If people better understood the scientific method, we would probably have less people arguing about the belief of Creationism AKA I.D. vs various scientific theories about the origins of life or evolution (modern definition being a change in the genetic pool).
I absolutely hate the word theory as it is bandied about today by people with no scientific training.

Badger40 on May 6, 2009 at 3:04 PM

Don’t understand how those who are concerned about the global warming hoax censorship, or the MSM silencing anything that reflects poorly on Obama or the gay activists shouting down people in their own churches, or students and leftist professors shouting down conservative speakers at Universities, or the targeting of Palin or Prejean for denunciation because they hold conservative beliefs still want to censor a theory in favor of another theory that socialists use to their advantage. Hey folks, the socialists NEED to have you believe there is no God. They need you to reject the other alternative. Like they tried to do with global warming (but have not YET succeeded), they want you to believe that those who don’t hold to evolution are flat-earthers. Why side with people like that? Those who are convinced that it would be so bad to teach kids that evolution is a THEORY and not fact should really look at the presumptions of the naturalist to say that a Creator could not possibly exist, so they throw out all possibilities that involve a Creator and call it science. What are people afraid of? As right4life and Maxx (where is Maxx anyway?)have shown in previous posts, there are plenty of areas where the evolution theory does not fit the data as well as ID theory. But even conservatives put their fingers in their ears and refuse to consider it. Folks, that’s the leftist tactic. Since when are conservatives afraid of ideas?

Christian Conservative on May 6, 2009 at 3:07 PM

Also don’t understand how conservatives who hate the leftist indoctrination taught in our public schools, roll over and say, well it’s Ok that they teach evolution as fact. (And you KNOW they do.)
You who hate for your tax dollars to go toward creating environmentalist wackos out of your kids, or socialists, why do you want Christians to have to pay twice to get their kids to a school that does not indoctrinate them in the leftist mold?

Christian Conservative on May 6, 2009 at 3:13 PM

Christian Conservative on May 6, 2009 at 3:07 PM

Not all of us science teachers teach evolution as fact.
It is only a theory, but a well supported one (I’m talking evidence).
But to define evolution as monkey=man is disingenuous.
Evolution is really only the change of a genetic pool through time. And sometimes that leads to speciation-a new species.
I understand there is experimentation & research being done in proteins & DNA etc to see if man-monkey etc all have genetic connections or not.
It will be interesting to see how that kind of work pans out.

Badger40 on May 6, 2009 at 3:16 PM

It is only a theory, but a well supported one (I’m talking evidence).

but its not. the fossil record doesn’t show it, and you sure can’t observe macro evolution in a lab…

all you can do is theorize that micro adds up to macro…but the tuatara says differently…

right4life on May 6, 2009 at 3:19 PM

Finally, I didn’t want to listen to Matthews’s junk, but Rush is playing it and I understand that folks like Matthews just want to use the MSM mighty weight to discredit those who believe in ID or that global warming is a hoax. And guess what evolutionary conservatives? If they are successful in doing so, you will be tarred and feathered with the rest of us conservatives. Seems to me that we’d all be better off to fight this kind of censorship together.

Christian Conservative on May 6, 2009 at 3:20 PM

Badger40 on May 6, 2009 at 3:16 PM

Perhaps YOU don’t, but even when I was in high school many years ago, they taught Piltdown man as truth, early fetus had gills and other extraneous organs, and other lies. Never said it was theory. Rather these things proved the fact.
Also told me that quoting Scripture was inappropriate (contrary to our Founding Fathers who quoted Scripture more than any other source.) Oh and of course, I never learned that most of our Founding Fathers were Christians, for they taught us they were Deists! Hogwash all! I don’t believe that public schools have become LESS leftist since my years in high school.

Christian Conservative on May 6, 2009 at 3:32 PM

Getting back to the post, Pence needs to go to the Ann Coulter School of MSM Defeat. She is so good at it and Pence obviously needs a lesson. Either they need to learn how to handle leftist questions and how to turn them around on their interviewers or they need to stay away from flaming MSM types like Matthews.

Christian Conservative on May 6, 2009 at 3:39 PM

Louise: “How did you get here?”

Johnny: “Well, basically, there was this little dot, right? And the dot went bang and the bang expanded.

Energy formed into matter, matter cooled, matter lived, the amoeba to fish, to fish to fowl, to fowl to frog, to frog to mammal, the mammal to monkey, to monkey to man, amo amas amat, quid pro quo, memento mori, ad infinitum, sprinkle on a little bit of grated cheese and leave under the grill till Doomsday.”

~From the movie Naked

DSchoen on May 6, 2009 at 3:56 PM

uh oh
Should be fun listening to evo’s explaing this away
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.5d35a082f9b541434fdfee1c21668d97.4b1&show_article=1

kangjie on May 6, 2009 at 4:01 PM

Mike Huckabee.
And many creationists and ID’ers.
Pretty much anyone who takes the Bible literally.
guitarguy

And the other some 200 or so religions that believe there is a god that created the world?

BTW , you said

I’m pretty sure evolution IS a science…

It Is ?

To be “science” it has to be repeatable.

In order for a theory to become fact it has to be repeatable, that IS Science.

When, exactly, did we “recreate” the “primordial stew” “spark it off” and create “life”?

Are you still “pretty sure evolution IS a science”?

Evolution AND ID are both theories and both, so far, Un-provable.

Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.
~Wernher Von Braun

The NAZI responsible for America putting a man on the moon in a decade!

As Obama says, minus that whole NAZI thing cuz that wouldn’t sound good.

DSchoen on May 6, 2009 at 4:32 PM

anyone notice that the new trump card is “follow the science”

Swine Flu
Global Warming
Evolution
Healthcare

How dare anyone argue with a (pro-abortion, evolutionist, environmentalist) scientist!

Dpet on May 6, 2009 at 4:43 PM

I’m late to the game, so this may be repetitious but: I’m awaiting the first question of a Democrat on whether he or she believes in evolution.

After all, it’s not surprising for a self-professed Christian to believe in creation. But if a self-professed America-hating Christian like Obama believes in evolution, why, let’s have him explain his reconciliation of the two. (I’m not saying they can’t be reconciled–just that his answer would require more explanation than someone saying “Well, it’s in Genesis chapter 1.”)

cackcon on May 6, 2009 at 4:49 PM

I’m late to the game, so this may be repetitious but: I’m awaiting the first question of a Democrat on whether he or she believes in evolution.

Yes, it is funny how that works. Matthews tosses the firecracker into the crowd of Conservatives here, and the start to brawling against each other, instead of accusing Matthews of trying attempting to sow discord in one political party when he’d never do it to the other party.

Why not ask our VP what he thinks about evolution? I’m sure we’d get some great fun from that.

hawksruleva on May 6, 2009 at 5:10 PM

I think that conservatives in the limelight today need to shut up.

They really aren’t ready for prime time.

AnninCA on May 6, 2009 at 5:14 PM

We are 100% sure that the Earth is round. The evidence around it doesn’t contain words/phrases like “possibly”, “might be”, “there’s a change”, etc.
DethMetalCookieMonst

Who is the “we” in your statement?

According to NASA you are WRONG!

Did ya ever notice there are things called mountains, valleys, oceans and flat spots?

If the EARTH were in fact 100% round all points on the planet would be equal in reference to the center.

According to NASA the Earth is relatively round, not 100% absolutely ROUND.

BTW do you know where the North pole and South pole are located?

DSchoen on May 6, 2009 at 5:52 PM

No miracle, just a simple statistical likelihood given the nature of the sample size…

Please show me the numbers backing this up, and you’ve made your point.

Matteo on May 6, 2009 at 5:59 PM

Gee whiz.

The stuopid thing here is that Matthews is going after him for evolution, but one with little economic impact. Evolution is, of course, a really good scientific idea. Anthropogenic global warming is a much less good idea, but it hass a huge impact.

HiHo on May 6, 2009 at 6:37 PM

My first post in a million years and I muff it. Sorry. PIMF.

The stupid thing here is that Matthews is going after him for evolution. Evolution is, of course, a really good scientific idea, but one with little economic impact. Anthropogenic global warming is a much less good idea, but it has a huge impact.

HiHo on May 6, 2009 at 6:38 PM

To be “science” it has to be repeatable.

In order for a theory to become fact it has to be repeatable, that IS Science….
DSchoen on May 6, 2009 at 4:32 PM

That sounds like that should be true, but it really isn’t, when you start to think about it. Consider the orbit of the planet Pluto: is that a repeatable observation? Well, not really, in fact, although it is in theory. The fact is that in historical sciences, important events are often not replicable. Anthroplogy is full of such things: has anyone ever repeated the discovery of writing? The domestication of corn? etc. These things have happened, and are factual events and within the purview of science, have not been repeated.

I grant you, the fact that no one has generated life from non-life is a big whacking hole in our scientific knowlege, but that isn’t a big deal: we don’t understand a lot more mundane things either.

HiHo on May 6, 2009 at 6:57 PM

The problem with your comments and with the debate of evolution vs creationism or intelligent design is the following:

1. you seem to think that it must be either/or; I blame this on the fundamentalist Christians who take an either/or approach to the Bible.

2. You do not distinguish between Darwinism which is the origin of the species and the creation of the heavens and the earth. Darwinism is not strictly evolution.

As a practising Christian I am here to tell you that I believe in what is told in Genesis, BUT I see it as a story that explains how the earth came into existence yet it is not meant to be taken literally. In other words, the seven days and nights works fine with me, with and EXCEPTION – it is not a literal 24 hour period. Those days and nights are best explained as ages or eons.

This is where there is a real disparity between the extreme fundamentalists that insist that no one can belong to their church unless they embrace the literal interpretation of Genesis, that the earth was created in a literal week, and those of us who accept what is written in Genesis by acknowledging the work of God, yet we are able to accept that this creation evolved over time.

What I have not accepted is Darwin’s origin of the species, and that man evolved from monkeys. I have not seen any evidence that supports this Darwinian theory. I do see plenty of evidence for evolution of the earth e.g. the creation of fossil fuels, of diamonds being created from carbon, and carbon coming from trees that existed millenia ago.

I believe that Creationists are wrong to put so much emphasis on the Bible and on Genesis to the point that they have a pink fit if anyone disagrees with their point of view.

Being a Creationist is not the same thing as being a Christian.

The either/or scenario set up by Matthews is equally false. He was trying to use it to laugh at the person he was interviewing, to discredit him by trying to pin on him a false idea of Christianity which has nothing to do with the jigoisit false science that is global warming and climate change.

maggieo on May 6, 2009 at 6:59 PM

What I have not accepted is Darwin’s origin of the species, and that man evolved from monkeys. I have not seen any evidence that supports this Darwinian theory.

maggieo on May 6, 2009 at 6:59 PM

OK. What would you accept as evidence, and why?
I’ll tell you though, the structural and genetic evidence for the descent of humans from great apes is pretty good. Once you accept that one species can evolve via descent by modification from another, ape to human evolution is pretty well supported. We can go over the evidence if you want, but again, what sort of evidence would you need to convince you?

HiHo on May 6, 2009 at 7:12 PM

Interesting
I didn’t know this and I know some fundamentalist christians.
I would like to read more about this because I have never heard it.

kangjie on May 6, 2009 at 11:05 AM

The pastor at the church which (until recently) I attended is one of these folks. His doctrinal position is precisely that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old.

He went so far as to bring in speakers from a seminar called “Thousands, not Billions”, based in large part on the book of the same name.

I decided to part company when, from the pulpit, he decided to announce that henceforth, the following point from the “Answers In Genesis” Statement Of Faith would also be the doctrine of that church:

“By definition, no apparent, perceived, or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.”

That told me, flat out, that he is no longer engaging in reason… and I’m not interested in having anyone else impute agreement with such a position to me by my attendance.

Yes, kangjie, they are out there. They’re not even rare, apparently.

VekTor on May 6, 2009 at 7:36 PM

Oh, and here‘s a commentary takedown of the “Thousands, not Billions” book that was posted on Amazon.

VekTor on May 6, 2009 at 7:45 PM

Being a Creationist is not the same thing as being a Christian.

maggieo on May 6, 2009 at 6:59 PM

very true, there are quite a few muslim creationists…I’m waiting for Dawkins to go to Riyadh and debate them…..

right4life on May 6, 2009 at 8:01 PM

And then we could resume learning real science.

guitarguy on May 6, 2009 at 1:23 PM

guitarguy – The man who knows science. Doesn’t really add up, does it?

I have more respect for students in K-12 than to keep them in ignorance simply to appease a bunch of fundamentalist bigots.

starfleet_dude on May 6, 2009 at 1:02 PM

I’m pretty sure YOU are in K-12. And just for your info, “dude” – starfleet isn’t real. It’s science fiction. If you really want to appear intelligent, I’d suggest choosing a handle that doesn’t immediately make people think you’re living in your parents basement.

Squiggy on May 6, 2009 at 8:21 PM

Take it to Big Purple Baseballs.

corona on May 6, 2009 at 8:31 PM

I’ll tell you though, the structural and genetic evidence for the descent of humans from great apes is pretty good.

Ice cream is pretty good. Parity in genomes would be good evidence for a designer or for ‘random mutations that lead to speciation over gazillions of years’.

daesleeper on May 6, 2009 at 9:40 PM

/meh that first sentence was a quote from another poster…

daesleeper on May 6, 2009 at 9:40 PM

Give me a break, evolution was discredited about a year after Darwin promulgated his theory. That means macro-evolutionists are believing a theory that’s been discredited for about 150 years.
150 years and still called a “theory.” Um, if it were true, wouldn’t it be called a “fact” by now?

The Cambrian Explosion & the pre-Cambrian fossil beds in China: Darwin’s worst nightmare.

persuader on May 6, 2009 at 9:58 PM

I would have asked Matthews what believing has to do with Science. I would have asked him whether it is better to understand various arguments surrounding Evolution or to believe in it.

I would also ask him why the Dems have been so “anti-science”. Why many advanced countries have for years and years used nuclear power, but over here the libs were staging die-ins at sites where a nuclear plant was proposed. The world had the technology to make nuclear plants, but they didn’t want them. Also the Dems have called NASA “throwing money into space” back in the 70s before Reagan vowed to get the program moving again. They were also “anti-science” on SDI, and would have rather relied on a 20+ year treaty.

If he has a problem with “belief” why does he rely more on believing in Evolution than what can specifically be said about the phenomenon formerly known as “Global Warming”. I would have also brought out the idea that Science findings equates to world views the way Darwinism equates to Social Darwinism. We now reject all the eugenics that went on in the name of being with the times, but how can they ask the same thing now?

No, Matthews has got it boiled down to “agin’ Science”, while he’s fer it.

Axeman on May 6, 2009 at 10:44 PM

And then we could resume learning real science.

guitarguy on May 6, 2009 at 1:23 PM
guitarguy – The man who knows science. Doesn’t really add up, does it?

?????

guitarguy on May 6, 2009 at 11:03 PM

For crying out loud. Evolution can’t be proven scientifically until it can be replicated — reproduced — scientifically. Current theories of evolution suggest that would require millennia. Good luck on settling the question scientifically in less than 500 thousand years.

The day we start saying the opposite of what we know to be true is the day we deserve to lose. And it’s certainly the day that science dies.

If you demand a knee-jerk assent to an unproven — of necessity — theory, then don’t pretend that you have a love of science.

ThereGoesTheNeighborhood on May 6, 2009 at 1:36 AM

Go right ahead, then. LET liberals paint conservatives as kooks. Give liberals all the ammo they want on the subject of “Intelligent Design” to mock us all as a bunch of wackjobs.

This is a sure way to turn off countless people that conservatism could be intellectually attracting, by the deplorable “strategy” of making anti-evolution some kind of major league public battle.

By the way I have another post in this thread in which I make mention of the specious, equivocating relationship that ID-boosters have with the concept of “proof.” You seem to be doing it too. No scientific theory can ever be “proven,” by definition — but that doesn’t stop the ID-bots from turning “no proof of the theory of evolution” into their idiotic mantra.

Edouard on May 6, 2009 at 4:34 AM

Sorry, but your embarrassment is not an argument. It simply shows that you don’t understand the limitations of science in general, and the limits of evolutionary theory in particular.

As for “proof,” that depends on context. Historical/legal proof is based on witnesses and evidence. Scientific proof is based on being able to demonstrate a theory is correct through experimentation. It’s not proof in the classical sense, but rigorous application of the scientific method, emphasis on actual experimentation, and peer review combine to make it work very, very well. To the extent that “scientific proof” is often assumed to be a higher level of proof than historical proof.

But evolution does not rise to the level of scientific proof. It’s an attempt to explain what may have happened millions of years ago. Properly speaking, science is the wrong tool to try to answer such historical questions. All you can try to do is to find forces in operation today that could conceivably explain the development of all life on earth. And if you manage to accomplish that, you still have not demonstrated that it DID happen that way, just that it COULD HAVE happened that way.

Also note that the science of evolution does not include the possibility of God intervening. God is excluded from the theory of evolution NOT because it is proven that God had nothing to do with it, but because science is based on the operation of natural forces, and God by definition is supernatural.

In other words, God is excluded from the theory of evolution because science is not really able to deal with “God did it” as part of a scientific theory.

Evolutionists will assert that ID is not a science, because it assumes the intervention of God. By that standard, evolution is not science, because it assumes the non-intervention of God.

ThereGoesTheNeighborhood on May 6, 2009 at 11:20 PM

RightOFLeft on May 6, 2009 at 2:48 PM

Well, I couldn’t determine what the M.A and F.R.S. credentials indicated, but I found this entry interesting, “Darwin did not particularly take a liking to medical studies – the fear of the sight of blood being a major hindrance, but the primary reason for his aversion appears to be that he found the study of medicine incredibly boring.” That from http://www.aboutdarwin.com/timeline/time_03.html, an extensive bio on Mr. Darwin that you may wish to check. (He appeared to have been no where near as rabid as his followers.)

Sadly, you evaded most questions I posed.

“Given the state of medicine 150 years ago, it wouldn’t be that impressive if he did. What about the credentials of virtually every biologist alive today?” Odd that you’d write off his titles, being that you seem to be an admirer.

Okay, what about the credentials of virtually every biologist alive today? If your question is to imply that all contemporary biologists agree with Darwin, you’re mistaken. (Sorry my response is fuzzy, but you weren’t too clear on that.)

“-has anyone here other than my self actually WATCHED “Expelled” from start to finish?”

Well, you did get around to answering that one, but again, you respond to a question with a question.

“Have you read the Origin of Species from cover to cover?”

And yes, I read “Origin” as recommended reading in college over 45 years ago.

I asked, “-if you have, what are your thoughts regarding the Polish intellectual who stated that political correctness is stopping scientific debate in the U.S.?”

You answered, “I haven’t seen the film, but there are many difficult questions that political correctness gets in the way of answering.”

I agree that political correctness gets in the way of answering some difficult questions. But in this case, the “difficult question” is, is political correctness stopping, or worse yet steering, scientific debate in the U.S.? What do YOU think is more important, addressing difficult questions or silencing debate?

I think you’d enjoy the humor in the film, especially scenes where several fervent Darwinists refer to anyone refusing to accept Darwinism as “stupid”, and then stating that life on earth may well have been “seeded” by aliens from outer space. That had me laughing out loud.

“speak civilly” I guess you missed that one, but the mild contempt of “right back at ya’” reminds me that an insult is like alcohol, if refused, it has no effect.

Rest well.

oldleprechaun on May 6, 2009 at 11:27 PM

Let’s put it this way. There either is a scientific worldview, or there is not. It either coincides with the vogue of other people regarded as scientific, or it does not.

Add to that, that for every error Science has made, the rejoinder is that Science is “self-correcting”.

However, the Science-bandwagon (or paddywagon) crowd believes that Social Darwinism cannot be pinned on Science because it wasn’t strictly Science. So it was wrong. But it was a worldview that was embraced by those who most stringently held to Darwin. And many, many scientists were pro-eugenics. Plus, if Science can be wrong for a period, but self-correct, then all that matters is that Social Darwinism is corrected in the future. However, that would make it Scientificy as a worldview. But thus, the argument that “it’s always better” or “you can’t go wrong” is a little bit in question. Because Holmes wrote an opinion an 8-1 victory in Buck vs. Bell, which argued that the State’s interest in a pure gene pool outweighed the individual right to procreate.

However flawed that decision is, if Science can advance, then it has that same characteristic–however, it doesn’t make some of want to wait until it has a better idea.

Often not understood is that Scopes wasn’t just forbidden to teach Evolution, but it was more that he was forbidden to teach from the book that he did. The state of Kentucky especially had a problem with this book because of it racist and eugenic nature. William Jennings Bryan was not a strict creationist and allowed for some eventual form of creation by God, but was again motivated by the eugenics in this book to take up the case. Bryant offered to pay Scopes’ meager fine. And Clarence Darrow later defended brutal, remorseful killers by stating that it was just their nature. But this is made to be a case against Science.

So again, either nihilistic, mechanical eugenics was part of a “scientific” worldview, or it wasn’t. The case of Scopes, the pure science martyr, never existed. It’s hardly scientific to believe in a non-event.

Axeman on May 6, 2009 at 11:27 PM

I strongly second
ThereGoesTheNeighborhood on May 6, 2009 at 11:20 PM

He make the very important distinction between historical proof and scientific proof.

Science is limited to what can be observed, measured, repeated, and empirically verified. It cannot prove anything about the past. Science only gets us as far as proving facts about the present. Those observed processes must then be extrapolated into the past to try to explain how past events occurred, with varying levels of validity or certainty. Assumptions about the past must be made, such as the rate things decay today is the rate they have always decayed, and no catastrophic events (like say a worldwide flood) occurred.

A creationist and an evolutionist will almost always agree on the hard facts of what can be observed, like current rate of decay, what material fossil bones are made of, deviation within a species, etc. Where they vary is once they take the hard data and try to interpet it and develop an overarching theory or framework to explain the past and predict the future.

The theory of evolution is not science any more than ID or creationism is. It is a pretty poor theory chocked full of holes. I have heard 3 hour lectures describing instance after instance of known scientific knowledge that the theory of evolution can not explain.

There is, at best, VERY LITTLE support in the fossil record for a slow evolution from one species to another. On the contrary, the fossil record shows an overwhelming abundance of specific current or extinct species with basically no intermediate species to speak of. It became such a problem for evolutionists that they had to evolve their own theory by saying that ALL of the change from one species to another came in quick short bursts that would have left no trace in the fossil record.

To be sure, Creationism assumes there is a God who created all living things, and this is FAR outside the reach of science. But that does not mean that science disproves God, only that science has nothing to say about the existence of God. Remember science is only the observation and empirical verification of the natural world as it operates today. It does not attempt to explain the supernatural.

Similarly, Intelligent Design assumes there is a designer. From my perspective though, ID is quite different from Creationism and assumes much less. The basic crux of the theory is that the more and more we learn about how complex our natural world is, the more and more ludicrous it becomes to try to assert, as evolution does, that it all happened by chance. When you drive through a city and take note of all the building and roads, it is obvious that there was intelligent design behind the city. The city, even if you gave it billions of billions of years, would never have sprung up there by itself with no intelligent direction. To believe that it would have is the definition of crazy. And yet that it was those who believe in evolution would have us believe, that even at the cellular level, where a cell itself is thousands of times more complex than a major city, all of that just happened to align itself by chance, and take every step of the evolutionary ladder by chance without ever failing and snuffing life back out. It is scientific evidence itself that inspires belief in ID. Creationism is an extension on ID in that it asserts much more about who the Designer was, and how He designed it.

It is evolutionists, though who are most closed minded. They immediately rule out the supernatural, and dogmatically mandate that everything must be explained in the natural. They venture far beyond the limits of science into the realm of whacky theory, and hide behind the badge of science all the while. And worst of all, they militantly try to snuff out any opposing view, keeping a fascist grip outlawing opposing theories in the universities, and refusing to debate ID proponents or Creationists.

What are they afraid of? If their theory is so foolproof, why not debate the Creationists and expose their silly theories for the fraud that they think they are. Oh, that’s right, because when they tried that 30 years ago, they got their clocks cleaned by the Creationists.

Exit question: When was the last time you actually heard ANY scientific debate at all on the actual evidence itself?

willamettevalley on May 7, 2009 at 1:31 AM

And then we could resume learning real science.

guitarguy on May 6, 2009 at 1:23 PM
guitarguy – The man who knows science. Doesn’t really add up, does it?

?????

guitarguy on May 6, 2009 at 11:03 PM

Some people go out of their way to prove your point.

Does your mom know you stay up that late?

Squiggy on May 7, 2009 at 5:41 AM

You’re right mankai. Evolution is a hoax and Fred Flintstone really did drive a T.Rex frontloader and played with Dino in the front yard after work with a Brontosaurus burger on the grill.

I feel like I’m surrounded by lunatics on both sides. Global Warming will leave my house underwater in the next 30 days, and the world is only 6,000 years old. The next third party should be called “The Non Lunatic Party”…

adamsmith on May 6, 2009 at 1:50 PM

Wow. A Fred Flintstone joke. How can one possibly argue with that? Scientific inquiry is not dead!

Are you going to make a “carbon dating” comment next?

mankai on May 7, 2009 at 8:11 AM

Some people go out of their way to prove your point. Does your mom know you stay up that late?
Squiggy on May 7, 2009 at 5:41 AM

One more time: ???????

ps. Mom passed away 2 years ago.

guitarguy on May 7, 2009 at 8:47 AM

To tie a couple of threads together…the great, brilliant, highly-educated scientist Michael Savage stated on his radio program that we know evolution is true because of carbon dating… this is the kind of ignorant statement (accepted as legitimate by likes of CBS News) that passes as “evidence” these days.

In covering the story of an Ohio science teacher who lost his job for allowing students to question the THEORY (shocking!), the CBS radio reporter used as her example of some of the “controversial” material taught by the teacher the notion that (and I paraphrase) “he taught that carbon dating cannot be used to date dinosaur fossils or that it proves the earth is billions of years old.”

Well, that is hardly “controversial,” in fact, the teacher’s statement is scientifically and horribly accurate. CBS should be embarrassed to have questioned his clear, scientific statement of fact… but they were only reflecting the gross ignorance foisted on America by a dumbed-down public school system.

Now, had she’d made a clever “Fred Flintstone” comment, well, there would then be no question as to her scientific bona fides!

mankai on May 7, 2009 at 9:03 AM

Darwin is not compatible with Christian theology.

It also is a garbage theory that explains nothing, appropriates other disciplines achievements as its own and generally makes a mockery of science.

Darwin is to biology what astrology is to astronomy.

spmat on May 7, 2009 at 10:26 AM

And what exactly does evolution have to do with governning?

notagool on May 7, 2009 at 10:30 AM

oldleprechaun on May 6, 2009 at 1:48 PM

I think F.R.S. is short for “Fellow of the Royal Society,” which is the UK’s big catchall scientific community – for a few hundred years (roughly from the days of Newton until the late 1800s) they were the top of the pyramid in all branches of science. How far they’ve fallen in the last few years on the AGW scare, and the salt scare, and secondhand smoke, and immunization (and many others), is downright depressing. These days, a printed paper from the Royal Society is worth almost as much as the blank sheets on which it’s been printed.

Blacksmith on May 7, 2009 at 12:00 PM

How about this answer:

I accept empirical evidence. Facts are facts. Conclusions to be drawn from those facts are theories or postulations. Belief in a theory requires faith. Faith implies a spiritual investment.

So, no, I do not “believe” in Evolution. Produce the facts, and I’ll accept them. But don’t try to shove your opinion and “accepted opinions” at me as scientific, empirical fact.

Tennman on May 7, 2009 at 12:45 PM

Just an observation, but every pix I see of Matthewson-his mouth is always open.

jeanie on May 7, 2009 at 1:33 PM

Chris Matthews: Do you or don’t you believe that you drink the actual blood and eat the actual flesh of Jesus Christ at every Sunday communion?

Is that science? Why don’t you believe in the scientific method?

fred5678 on May 7, 2009 at 1:34 PM

Ostensibly, Chris Matthews is a Catholic. How does he incorporate his belief in Darwinian evolution with his Catholic faith? That would be an interesting subject for this hack to expound upon.
I am a Catholic and I believe in evolution as a basic principle but I don’t feel that it repudiates my Faith in any way.

thegreatbeast on May 7, 2009 at 4:52 PM

Evolutionists will assert that ID is not a science, because it assumes the intervention of God. By that standard, evolution is not science, because it assumes the non-intervention of God.

????

Evolution doesn’t assume the non-intervention of God any more than it assumes the non-intervention of Smurfs. Neither Smurfs nor God have any discernible effect, so they are ignored.

maleman on May 7, 2009 at 5:14 PM

Christian Conservative on May 6, 2009 at 3:32 PM

Well quoting scripture in science class is inappropriate, no matter who does it.
I realize most science teachers are stuck on stupid.
For instance, PTC paper testing for genetics has been found to be inaccurate, but current science texts, labs, etc still use it as a viable test.
I do not.
I research & continually update my education as frequently as possible about the subjects I teach (all of them).
I cannot possibly know everything & so we discuss all the possibilities we can.
It is a challenge to keep up to date on all this stuff-but I do not come off to my students as a know it all & I certainly give them all the sides of an argument I can & let them decide for themselves.
It’s too bad you had such a crappy experience. I’ve had them myself.

Badger40 on May 7, 2009 at 5:30 PM

The fundamental problem I see it is with the terms ‘theory’ and ‘fact’…the latter does not belong in science…only in propaganda, hack MSM news shows and online discussion boards.

The principles behind the operation of your vehicle, your electric lights, your TV, telephone, etc. are all ‘theories’. The theory of natural selection/evolution gets stronger all the time-not weaker. In biological sciences it is practically an assumption along with cell theory. Actually, cell theory is the most suspect but we won’t know for sure until life is discovered elsewhere.

As for the above poster’s supposition that the ‘first cell’ spontaneously appeared, the hypotheses don’t suppose that happened. Increasingly larger molecular complexes formed based on chemical interactions, the energy sources and the conditions on earth billions of years ago. Actually, it is more likely that untold billions of primitive cell-like structures were forming at any given time.

It is not an easy task to differentiate the living from the nonliving as it is…compare a living thing to an automobile or a burning candle…then throw in viruses, prions, and viroids and it’s an even more daunting task. For good measure, consider the formation of amino acids out of a mixture of water and simple chemicals in the Miller-Urey experiment. That result reversed the idea that a biomolecule (protein) could be formed only from living cells.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 7, 2009 at 7:43 PM

Showing up late at the table here, and I haven’t had time to read all the posts. So someone else has probably covered this.

But here goes: One does not “believe in” a scientific theory — not if one wants to take a scientific approach. One subjects it to empirical proof. The theory of evolution has passed some empirical proof wickets, but to insist that it has passed enough of them to “prove” the thesis that less-complex organisms evolve through an unguided process into more-complex organisms, is to go beyond science and into the realm of philosophy or religion.

Regardless of what we demonstrate about evolution, it will never “prove” that mankind or the universe came to be in the absence of a creative intelligence. Any honest scientist will tell you that cannot be proven at all. We can postulate it, and test events to see if they seem to conform with that theory. We may find some results convincing, and others less so. But to say that we have “proven” the theory is to go beyond what the scientific method can do for us.

Evolution is another of those things on which the politically-motivated demand litmus-test consensus. That’s all Matthews is doing here. None of us should have any trouble saying “No, I don’t ‘believe in’ evolution.” Particularly those who claim to base their worldview on empiricism.

J.E. Dyer on May 7, 2009 at 9:48 PM

Evolution doesn’t assume the non-intervention of God any more than it assumes the non-intervention of Smurfs. Neither Smurfs nor God have any discernible effect, so they are ignored.

maleman on May 7, 2009 at 5:14 PM

Actually, Evolution DOES assume the non-intervention of Smurfs. It asserts that all life evolved by random chance, and that would rule out Smurfs intervening.

willamettevalley on May 7, 2009 at 11:33 PM

J.E. Dyer on May 7, 2009 at 9:48 PM

You are spot on in your description of the limitations of science.

I might make a minor quibble on whether you “believe” in scientific theories. They are theories precisely because they cannot be empirically verified, and therefore they require some belief. You can believe in a theory. But you are quite right to say they must be tested against what CAN be empirically proved.

The problem I see with evolution is that it requires a lengthy chain of events to all be true, where if any one of them is not true, the entire theory fails. Whenever I have dug into or heard discussion and summaries of the ACTUAL SCIENCE, and especially the points put forth by Creationists or other skeptics, my take is that the theory of evolution is so full of holes and specific pieces wholly unsupported — and close to disproved — by the evidence, that I think it takes far more faith to believe in the theory of evolution than it does to believe that God created the universe.

Evolution’s answer always seems to be that if you allow enough time, anything is possible. If you try to point out how unique life is, and how improbable it is that random chance is responsible for what we scientifically observe today, the evolutionist just ups the ante and says, “See how amazing this process of evolution is!

Many a evolutionist is so convinced that their theory is correct that it seems impossible to find any way to falsify it. I think a revealing question to put to an evolutionist is what would it take to convince them that their theory is false.

willamettevalley on May 8, 2009 at 12:41 AM

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