Posts Tagged 'Darwin'

Happy Darwin Day!

An Incredibly Sexist Misrepresentation of Some Interesting Science

I was in Subway the other day and the local top 40 radio (HOT 103) station was playing. When the DJ came on he said something really awful. He said he had just read an article about how men differ from chimpanzees by 30%, but women are only 2% different than chimps genetically.

This statement is obviously wrong, because if men and women were sodifferent genetically then we wouldn’t be able to reproduce…we would be different species. But the DJ used this article to justify his next statement, which was essentially that the next time your girlfriend is pestering you, remind her that she’s pretty much a chimp.

I don’t mind being compared to chimps (in fact he was wrong, humans – men and women – differ from chimps in only 1% of our DNA), but the implication that women are somehow less evolved than men was incredibly sexist.

I was curious to see what the article he was talking about actually said, though, so I looked it up when I got back home and it’s really quite interesting. The title of the article is “Male Chromosome May Evolve Fastest”, and wasn’t talking about male evolution, but about the evolution of the Y chromosome:

A new look at the human Y chromosome has overturned longstanding ideas about its evolutionary history. Far from being in a state of decay, the Y chromosome is the fastest-changing part of the human genome and is constantly renewing itself.

The Y chromosome’s rapid rate of evolutionary change does not mean that men are evolving faster than women. But its furious innovation is likely to be having reverberations elsewhere in the human genome.

The chimpanzee and human lineages shared a common ancestor just six million years ago, a short slice of evolutionary time. Over all, the genomes of the two species are very similar and differ in less than 1 percent of their DNA. But the Y chromosomes differ in 30 percent of their DNA, meaning that these chromosomes are changing far faster in both species than the rest of the genome.

It’s unfortunate that such an interesting article would be misrepresented like that. I guess I can’t expect much from a pop radio DJ, he’s not a journalist, after all, but I don’t think it’s unfair to expect him to actually read the article that he was using to justify his sexism. I wasn’t in Subway for long after he said that, but I hope someone called in and put him in his place.

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Fashion Line Inspired by Origin of Species

It’s cool to see someone so mainstream giving props to a scientist in such a creative way:

Alexander McQueen showed a collection inspired by Charles Darwin’s The Origin of the Species at Paris Fashion Week:

Models with their hair teased into devil-like horns, strutted the catwalk in minidresses decorated with all manner of colourful, elaborate skins.

Ruffled hemlines were frilled to resemble feathers, and vibrant fabrics were printed to resemble amphibian-like breastplates.

The high-tech show set then morphed into a prehistoric underwater scene, lending something of an otherworldly feel.

Darwin Fashion

Wow…those shoes…

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Ray Comfort Compares Himself to Oskar Schindler

Bananaman Ray Comfort has cooked up his most recent scheme as an attempt to brainwash students into thinking that creationism is a legitimate alternative to evolution before they start their education. He is concerned that too many students lose their faith in the course of their university education…is that supposed to be a bad thing?

So Comfort has defecated on inserted his own introduction into Darwin’s On The Origin of Species containing all of his made up crap arguments about why evolution is wrong, and he’s giving away free copies on university campuses on November 24th.

Origin of Species Ray Comfort

He obviously thinks that this is some noble cause and that he’s going to be saving lives (or, I suppose, souls) by doing this as evidenced by his words in the September 22nd Way of the Master newsletter:

Recently, I watched a (clean) version of the movie, “Schindler’s List.” Schindler used his wealth to purchase 1500 Jews from Nazi death camps. At the end of the movie, he broke down in tears because he wasted much of his wealth on vanities, and said, “I could have saved more!”

I can’t help but think of this when it comes to what we are doing.

He then goes on to brag about how he’s giving $10,000 of his own money to the project and to ask people to donate their time and money to this deceitful venture.

Get over yourself Ray Comfort. Oskar Schindler was actually saving lives. What he did was dangerous and helped people, and it’s an insult to Schindler to pretend that Comfort’s mission is in any way comparable to someone who risked their life to help others. All the bananaman is doing is lying to students about science and hoping that some of them are gullible enough to believe him.

PS: I’m disturbed by the idea of a “clean” version of Schindler’s List. In my opinion if you’re going to watch a movie about the Holocaust it should disgust you, anger you, and freak you out.

I wonder if Comfort reads a “clean” version of the Bible…

Creation or Evolution…the Logical Fallacies

Some interesting advertisements have been showing up on scienceblogs lately:

 Pharyngula Creation Evolution

Is evolution true? The mounds of evidence show that yes, it is. But The Good News Magazine (“A Magazine of Understanding”…claiming understanding and actual understanding are not the same thing) is taking advantage of the economic downturn:

 “There are a couple of things to know about this. One is that the economy sucks, and the media, in particular are struggling. Science media especially are suffering, so everyone is scrambling to scrape up whatever revenues they can. The other thing to notice is that in a down economy, faith-based lies and wishful thinking are cheap to produce and continue to sell, so that’s what’s happening.” – PZ Myers, Pharyngula

Rather than pouting about it, PZ Myers has called for bloggers everywhere to order their free creationist literature (they’ll ship to any country), and critically dissect them on their blogs. This way, when someone googles the organization, they’ll get a long list of reasons not to buy into the bullshit they’re peddling.

So like the good little minion that I am, I’ve put in an order for their “Creation or Evolution” booklet. While I’m waiting to get it in the mail, I’ve downloaded the free copy of that they have on their website and written up my own dissection (below the fold). I’m not an evolutionary biologist so I’ll leave it to people more educated than myself to deal with the nitty-gritty of the booklet. Rather, I’ll be picking out the logical fallacies to point out how intellectually dishonest these people have to be to get people to think they actually have a valid position.

Continue reading ‘Creation or Evolution…the Logical Fallacies’

Grand Canyon Pereidolia

When we were in Vegas for The Amazing Meeting 7, we went on a day trip to the Grand Canyon. At one point I noticed a rock formation that looked like a statue:

God...or James Randi...or Moses...or Charles Darwin...or rocks...

God...or James Randi...or Moses...or Charles Darwin...or rocks...

Ray Comfort Unconvinced that Evolution is True…Surprise!

I subscribe to the Way of the Master newsletter because it gives me some good laughs. Today I got a great laugh but I was also saddened because people are probably patting Ray Comfort on the back for spewing this crap.

Comfort is a well-known creationist, and along with his sidekick Kirk Cameron, he uses things like the banana and the coke can to “prove” there is a god and that evolution is a LIE AND YOU’RE GOING TO HELL!!!

Moving along…Comfort decided to go and visit the Smithsonian to lookRay Comfort Smithsonian at their display on evolution. So far so good, it’s great that he’s taking the time to consider the evidence for evolution. The mounds and mounds of good evidence. But I guess considering the evidence wasn’t on his agenda because this his summary of the visit:

I spent a few days in Washington D.C. and took the time to visit the Smithsonian Museum, particularly to see their exhibit on evolution. After some searching we found it …the crowning glory of the Smithsonian Institute’s evolution display–a family of hairy dummies looking like a cheap window display at a Halloween store. It was underwhelming. I had a similar experience in Paris’s “Museum National D’Histoire Naturelle Grand Galerie De L’Evolution.” The French also had exhibits of thousands of God’s creatures, and tried to justify the name of the museum by displaying one copy of Origin of Species and a stuffed monkey with a “Lucy” sign on it.

God bless,

Seriously? The Smithsonian’s display didn’t look real enough, therefore God.

I can’t wait to read about PZ Myers’s visit to the Creation Museum.

New Rainforest Discovered using Google Earth

How cool is this…I had no idea there were still undiscovered places on Earth. Dr. Julian Bayliss, a part of the Darwin Initiative, was looking for “similarities between different patches of medium altitude rainforest,” when they saw “a large patch of dark green of which there was no official record.”

This patch of forest, located in Mozambique, could be the largest rainforest in Southern Africa. Because this forest is so isolated, essentially an island, there are species that evolved in isolation. They have found a possible 10 new species in this rainforest.

These scientists are hoping to get this forest official protection.

I’m looking forward to learning more about this forest and the species within it. How amazing to find such an isolated forest, undisturbed by humans.


Creation, the Movie Trailer is Here!

Here’s something for science enthusiasts to get excited about, they finally made a movie about Charles Darwin!

For some reason it’s called Creation, but it looks good…click here to see the trailer. IMDB has a release date of September 29, 2009 for a few European countries, but no dates listed for Canada or the US yet. Hopefully we’ll get to see it in September as well.


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