ScienceSkepticism

God has a tube!

Hi! Cassie again,

I know I’m teenie and supposed to behave myself… but I wrote my title and couldn’t help wondering… well… is the tube circumcised? As it turns out, it’s not that kind of tube. Anyway, while you godless blasphemers get your Internet video entertainment from YouTube, you could be getting your entertainment from the Magical Man in the Sky!

Believe me, I was “entertained.”  God’s tube is a website and here is how He describes His Mystical Video Source:

GodTube.com is a dynamic community of people who are looking to connect, share, and belong. In its simplest form, GodTube is a video-driven social network where users can explore their faith and the tenets of Christianity.

Well I couldn’t resist, the first word I searched for was evolution.  That’s when I met Charley.  And that’s when I learned that woodpeckers put holes in evolution.(Click Charley’s name to view video)

In the spirit of teen-iness, I’d like us to rip Charley here a new one! I invite you, the readers to help me out. The reason I am even bothering to write about this is because I feel that some of our younger or newer readers could always use a critical thinking exercise (that includes me), and Charley here was just too perfect.

Why is it important to pick apart all of Charley’s mistakes you might ask? Well I did a Google search and “Chatting with Charley” videos seem to be aimed at teens.  Whether he believes this stuff or is just being dishonest, his video is promoting lies to the general public.  This is wrong. Charley is promoting Intelligent Design or ID. Intelligent design, by definition, is “a theory that nature and complex biological structures were designed by an intelligent designer and were not created by chance.” This idea is of course contrary to the theory of evolution.

Let’s look at Charley’s and the scientific community’s definitions of sci-ence and ev-o-lu-tion. (Thanks to Charley, I can now pronounce these difficult terms.)

Charley says, “Science is not science because somebody that wears a lab coat and calls himself a scientist does it.  But it’s because it is sensible, meaning you can feel it with your five senses, it is repeatable and it is only in the present.”

I’m reading a great book by Donald R. Prothero.  It’s called “Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters.”  Don is a real scientist.  I’m pretty sure Charley is not.  Anyway, he says something about what scientists wear in the first chapter of his book:

Scientists are not characterized by who they are or what they wear, but what they do and how they do it. As Carl Sagan put it, “Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.”

It kind of sounds like Don and Charley agree… except for that part about “it is only in the present” and the rest of the video…

At the end of the video, Charley defines evolution.  He says, “It’s used in many ways, but this one is the concept that given enough time all things will happen.  That a rock ultimately will turn into a man. Non-living things turn into living things.  They’ll say it will only happen once, but it still happened.  That is what they’re saying.  That’s like saying this mousetrap could ultimately turn into a mouse.  Which doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

Well, Charley, you don’t make a lot of sense. Evolution is a change in the inherited traits of a population from one generation to the next through a process called natural selection.

The main idea of evolution is that every living thing comes from a common ancestor; it is a change in the traits of living organisms over generations, including the emergence of new species.  To demonstrate this, scientists have found and documented fossils that show how species have changed over time.  By studying inherited species’ characteristics and other evidence, scientists reconstructed evolutionary relationships and represent them on a “family tree” called a phylogeny (Tree of Life Project).  Many different scientific disciplines support the theory of evolution:  biology, geology, genetics and many others. 

Evolution is a scientific theory. For a theory to qualify as scientific it must be:  Consistent (internally and externally), simple (sparing in proposed entities or explanations), useful (describes and explains observed phenomena), empirically testable and falsifiable, based upon multiple observations, often in the form of controlled, repeated experiments, correctable and dynamic (changes are made as new data are discovered), progressive (achieves all that previous theories have and more), and provisional or tentative (admits that it might not be correct rather than asserting certainty). 

Intelligent Design lacks consistency, is not falsifiable, violates the principle of simplicity, is not empirically testable, and is not correctable, dynamic, tentative or progressive. ID is not science.

So help me count all of the reasons that Charley is full of excrement in this video.  I’ve just highlighted the problems with his definitions.  You can go here and learn the facts about woodpeckers.

These fallacies really represent Charley’s lack of understanding of evolution, or basic scientific principles for that matter. Yet many people all over America would agree with such a rancid argument. Why? Because, they don’t understand basic critical thinking skills and science. They don’t understand that investigation, science and skepticism can lead to true enlightenment. Nothing is more important to me then answering questions about the universe and helping people understand these answers. Science is by far the best way to do that.

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge:  it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” ~ Charles Darwin 
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10 Comments

  1. July 12, 2008 at 2:14 am —

    Oh boy, there is so much. I will pick and choose… argument from probability. Firstly, the difference with livning things and mouse traps is that organisms reproduce and mutate. Then, natural selection keep those bad traits in check. Sometimes, a good characteristic arrives by mutation, but it is not necessary yet. Then, another mutation makes another characteristic in a way that makes the first one necessary.

    Not only that, if one argues like that, it would make the probability of getting any combination of 4 cards in a deck impossible, but they happen. Why? Probability does not say something is impossible, just unlikely. The same four cards, then, might not happen again for a long time, but they still happened. People, of course, when looking at probability, only focuses on how unlikely royal flushes are, when other combinations of cards are just as unlikely.

    Evolution is not like throwing all 10 dices at the same time and getting sixes at the same time. It is more akin to rolling them at the same time over and over again. If one gets six, that die stays that way, since six is the desireable “trait.” The dices left over keep rolling and rolling until all of them become sixes. See? Getting all sixes that way is not improbable as long as enough time is given, and evolution was given millions of years.

  2. July 12, 2008 at 2:25 am —

    Note, the die example was just a crude analogy and that is not how genes work.

  3. July 12, 2008 at 8:13 am —

    Nicely done, Carrie.

    Did he really do the sound-it-out thing with the words “science” and “evolution”? In a video aimed at teens? I may be an old fart now (relatively), but I remember learning phonics well before my teens… Or are schools these days just that bad?

    Anyway, while your explanation of why evolution is science and ID isn’t is spot on, I just want to point out that good ol’ Charley isn’t even talking about evolution. His complaint up there that you quote is all about abiogenesis. Now, abiogenesis is important to study, and odds are that the process followed evolutionary principles in some sense or other, but abiogenesis and evolution aren’t the same thing.

    Charley should have read the definitions in his dictionary while he was looking up the pronunciations. =(

  4. MaggieMoo
    July 12, 2008 at 4:26 pm —

    I’m sorry Cassie. I really have no input. I got as far as “Science is in the present” before i had to turn it off for fear of death by laughter. But this guy does sound like he needs to read some more about sci-ence and e-vo-lu-tion. By the way, spelling things phonetically makes it a lot less appealing to teenagers…no one likes to be talked down to.

  5. Joy Wang
    July 12, 2008 at 5:01 pm —

    I’m kinda afraid to click the link, especially if it’s like some of the eyeball-scarring crap that PZ occasionally posts. And considering that it’s GodTube, why am I not surprised. Anyway, if you’re looking for more of His Stuff, you could try the blog Stuff God Hates @ http://stuffgodhates.wordpress.com/
    btw, can someone tell me how to do html stuff, like links, underline, etc?

  6. Joy Wang
    July 12, 2008 at 5:11 pm —

    I’ve noticed that I have a weird tendency to post twice in a row…oh well.
    I got to the bit about the woodpeckers “wanting” to get the bug and I started to feel my brain atrophy and my ears shrivel up. Our friend Charley seems to believe in Lamarckian evolution, which was suceeded by Darwinian evolution in…1858, 150 years, a week and five days ago (if you count the Darwin/Wallace presentation to the Linnaen Society of London to be the birthday of Darwinian evolution). Y’know, this might actually be humorous fiction in a perverse sort of way, except, well, it’s not fiction.

    Cheers!
    Joy

  7. Pato2747
    July 12, 2008 at 5:51 pm —

    I’m on it. I’m tired of doing 9/11 debunkings, something “lighter” like this will be a great skepticism exercise.

  8. July 12, 2008 at 7:12 pm —

    Ack! I just realised that I said “Carrie” instead of “Cassie”. My bad!

  9. July 13, 2008 at 11:58 am —

    “God has a Tube!”

    Well, yeah. But it’s usually referred to as His Noodly Appendage.

  10. July 14, 2008 at 4:05 pm —

    Gah! Stupid GodTube… Hurting my brain…

    Well, it’s still better than that letter from hell crap. Barely.

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