Archive for June, 2013

Bad times bring us together

Inferno
Inferno
Sat Jun 22, 2013 8:17 pm by Inferno

I’m sure most people will have heard of the protests in Turkey. A friend of mine is Turkish so I always get updates, however reliable they might be, through her.

A recent message on her FB recently said the following:

Sehr geehrter Herr Ministerpräsident; heute hast du uns einen Gefallen getan, dessen du dir noch nicht bewusst bist.

Ich habe heute einen Fenerbahce Fan gesehen, der vor den Polizisten, denen du den Befehl zum Angriff gegeben hast, zu Boden gestürzt ist und dem – von einem Galatasaray Fan – auf die Beine geholfen wurde. Schüler, die ihr Brot und Wasser teilen, kurdisch- und türkischstämmige Menschen, die Hand in Hand laufen. Das habe ich heute gesehen.

Frauen, die Sie als Prostituierte bezeichnen sind mit Milch und Zitrone in der Hand, aus den Bordellen, den Verletzten zur Hilfe geeilt. Ich habe gesehen, dass Menschen, die Sie als Travestien bezeichnen, ihre Hotelzimmer für Menschen geöffnet haben, die Zuflucht suchen, Ärzte und Rechtanwälte haben ihre Telefonnummern mitgeteilt, Medizinstudenten haben Erste Hilfe geleistet.

Ich habe ältere Frauen gesehen, die Essigtücher verteilen. Händler, die ihre Netzwerksicherheitsschlüssel freigeben, Hotelbesitzer, die die Verletzten in ihre Lobby nehmen.
Das habe ich heute gesehen.

Ich habe gesehen, dass ein Fahrer der Gemeinde die Straße mit seinem Bus versperrt hat, damit ja kein Panzer eindringen kann. Apotheker, die ihre Apotheken in der Nacht öffnen habe ich gesehen.

Und sei dir sicher, heute Nacht waren nicht die Gasbomben der Grund für die Tränen in unseren Augen – es war unser Stolz !!

 

That’s quite the wall of text and in German too. Here’s a google-translated version with some corrections on my part:

Dear Mr. Prime Minister, today you have done us a favour, which you are not aware of yet.

Today I have seen a Fenerbahce fan who was thrown to the ground by the police, whom you have given the order to attack on the ground and said fan was raised to his feet by a Galatasaray fan. Students who share their bread and water, Kurdish and Turkish-born people who run hand in hand. I’ve seen it today.

Women who you call a prostitute with milk and lemon in hand, from the brothels, rushed to help the injured. I saw that the people you refer to as travesties, opened their hotel rooms for people seeking refuge, doctors and lawyers have posted their phone numbers, medical students have given first aid.

I have seen older women who spread vinegar cloths. Traders who share their network security key, hotel owners who take the injured in their lobby.
I’ve seen it today.

I have seen that a driver of the municipality has blocked the road with his bus, so it can not be penetrated by armour. Pharmacists who open their pharmacies in the night, I’ve seen it.

And rest assured, tonight it weren’t the gas bombs which were the reason for the tears in our eyes – it was our pride!

 

In itself, that’s a very nice letter sent to Mr Erdogan by Mr Akyut G.

What stands out though, at least to me, is the sharp contrast between “normal” times and “problematic” times. Generally, the football (and by that I mean soccer) fans would beat each other to a bloody pulp. The prostitutes would be shunned by large parts of the society, only to be required later on.

I don’t think this is at all unusual. For example, Germany was heavily shelled in WW2 (and in turned shelled others quite severely) but when a common enemy, the Soviet Union, was declared, other Western powers fairly quickly allied themselves with the Germans.

Yet as soon as this common enemy faded away, nationalist feelings would tend to grow and allies would once again become… well, not quite enemies, but relationships faded.

I’ll draw on one example to explain what I mean: In a recent blog post about right wing parties I introduced the Austrian party FPÖ. They’re probably the most right-wing party you can currently find in Austria. Looking at the results of national votes in Austria one can see a curious trend: With very few exceptions, the FPÖ had fewer than 10% in most counties, but in 1988, just as the fall of the Berlin Wall was imminent (as we now know in hindsight), the FPÖ suddenly made a tremendous jump in votes. (In some counties earlier, see Oberösterreich, in some a bit later)

Now there might be any number of reasons for that, but I’ll only focus on the two main reasons: In 1986, Jörg Haider took over the FPÖ, which may have caused votes to soar.
I don’t think so, however. If he were the reason for the jump, you’d have expected votes to go down after he split from the party in 2004 and after he died in 2008. The opposite is true: Though a slight dip can be seen in 2004 (after Haider created the BZÖ, the second right-wing party in Austria), the numbers rose again a few years later and the total right-wing voters consistently rose.

 

This leaves, in my opinion, only one conclusion, which incidentally is the second reason I said I’d mention above: Nationalism, at least in Austria, is on the rise. I think the same holds true for many other countries: The Front National (FN) in France has constantly gained votes in the presidential run since its inception in 1974. Both the Nieuw-Vlaamse Alantie (NV-A) and the Vlaams Belang (VB) have gained votes and would currently hold over 50% if they worked together. Even the British National Party (BNP), by the way the only party that Wikipedia claims is “right-wing extremist”, has gained votes, even though they currently barely reach 2%.

I think the trend is clear: Nationalism. right-wing tendencies and euro-scepticism is on the rise and with it a sort of “fight for yourself” attitude. I think that’s all fairly undeniable.

There are two questions I would like to pose:

1) What can be done to counter that movement? It seems a fair number of people who would have voted centre-right are now voting left, simply because they’re frightened by a right-wing takeover or a cooperation. (Lefties would never work with right-wingers… right?)

2) Seeing the post in the context of the above letter: Do you think it’s true that we will only fight side by side if there are common enemies, as opposed to common goals? I can’t shake the horrible feeling that there might be something to it.

“Germany and Austria started WWI seeking European domination, historian says”

theyounghistorian77
theyounghistorian77
Sun Jun 16, 2013 4:39 pm by theyounghistorian77

The above title was from a Daily Telegraph headline to one of its recent articles concerning the causes of the outbreak of WW1 and I thought I may take a break from blogging chronologically about leading up to WW1 in order to focus on what I have seen.

If one wishes to discuss the causes, arguably one could stretch this to the Treaty of Berlin in 1878, which was designed to settle the so-called eastern question, i.e., what belongs to what within the context of the end of the Russian-Ottoman war of 1877–1878. Initially that question between Russia and the Ottoman had been resolved through the treaty of San-Stefano signed March 3 1878. That treaty ceded effective Ottoman control of the Northern Balkans and likewise allowed the Russians to increase their political influence upon the region, much to the chagrin of the great powers of the West, namely the British, who felt that an expansionist Russia could put her far-eastern colonies at risk and the Austria-Hungarian Empire who wanted to maintain their own diplomatic influence in the Balkans.

Whilst this treaty was designed to mitigate the effects of San-Stefano and in effect allow the Ottoman Empire to retain control of the Southern Balkans, crucially to my perspective, this treaty also allowed the region of Bosnia and Herzegovina to be occupied and administered by the Austria-Hungarian Empire through international mandate. In 1908 however, without any legal justification, the Austria-Hungarian Empire decided to annex Bosnia and Herzegovina, triggering the Bosnian crisis and a subsequent amendment to the treaty of Berlin in 1909, recognising the Austria-Hungarian Empire’s governance of the region. This amendment denied nationalists within Serbia their ambitions to build a full “greater Serbia”, i.e., want of a restoration of the lands that once belonged to Serbia during the middle ages before the nation was subsumed by the Ottoman Empire.

Serbia for its part would go on to be a key player in the set of Balkan wars that played out just before the First World War. In the conclusion to the first Balkan War, Serbia practically doubled its territory, through expanding southwards into Kosovo and Macedonia. In the second Balkan War against Bulgaria, it consolidated these gains. This was perhaps enough for the govt but it certainly was not enough for the nationalists who were embedded within the army, such as the nationalist group “The Black hand” who had already possessed a track record for changes in Serb foreign policy through political terrorism, such as the changes in foreign policy caused by the assassination of King Alexander I for not being too belligerent enough with the Austria-Hungarian Empire, and also because he married to someone whom the Black Hand thought had a dangerous influence upon society.

But the Serbian govt wasn’t represented by terrorists and officially expressed little desire for war between itself and the Austria-Hungarian Empire in 1914. And this is what made the assassination of Archduke Franz-Ferdinand by the “Black hand” so tragic in retrospect. It wasn’t the first time that a major figure had been assassinated by nationalists either; In 1908 a Ruthenian nationalist murdered Andreas Potocki, the governor of Austria-Polish province of Galicia which was also contested for influence by both the Austria-Hungarian Empire and Russia. In this case however, the assassin was handed over and no war came about. Evidently the Galician and Sarajevo assassin events were clearly different. As of yet I have not seen anything to suggest that Austria-Hungary had suspicions that the event in Galacia was a state sponsored act of terrorism whereas with regards to Serbia they clearly did. On July 23 1914 Austria-Hungary presented to Serbia an extremely harsh ultimatum to Belgrade with the addition that a response should be delivered from Belgrade within 48 hours. And, although Serbia did say they would comply with most of the ultimatum, most wasn’t enough. On July 28 Serbia Austria-Hungary declared war and was invaded and so WW1 formally began.

It is then that the systems of entangling alliances both sides of the War had kicked in. Russia mobilised against Austria-Hungary as a response to the former’s ominous treatment of Serbia, but there was no declaration of war. Germany responded by declaring War on Russia anyway on August 1, and then on Belgium and France. Britain had an entente with France and a guarantee to Belgium that had existed since 1839 which promised, in short, that the British would go to war with whoever shall attack Belgium. On August 4 1914 that country happening to attack Belgium was Germany, and subsequently the British declared war on the Germans.

The above presents the history of the beginnings of World War 1 that I am sure most would be familiar with, and in this summation, German blame for WW1 is implied. But is this the most explicit of finger-pointing? What I will present you now are two recent articles centered around Max Hastings who has a new book coming out, who seems very much in the explicit finger-pointing camp, stating that the central powers are mainly to blame for WW1.

(1) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/britain-at-war/10110657/Germany-and-Austria-started-WWI-seeking-European-domination-historian-says.html

(2) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2339189/MAX-HASTINGS-Sucking-Germans-way-remember-Great-War-heroes-Mr-Cameron.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

In addition to Germany’s foreign policy on its southern neighbour, whom she vowed to stand by like a knight “in shining armour”, and the subsequent reaction to this from Vienna as pointed out in these articles, another point I’ve seen is that the German rationale for aggression in the west was detached from Austria-Hungarian aggression against Serbia. Indeed, part of the reason Germany said on August 3 that it was going to war with France was that because the German city of Nuremberg had earlier been bombed by French aircraft, (this bombing raid seems a nonsensical story).

So, for all the above, how much relative blame should we point to Germany and Austria-Hungary? You tell me.

(PS: With regards to the Greater Serbia that the nationalists there wanted and their base being the medieval kingdom of Serbia, I am actually writing this on the anniversary of the Battle of Blackbird’s Field, which took place just 3 miles north of Prishtina in Kosovo in the year 1389. For the Serbs, it was at most a Pyrrhic Draw, in the long term it began a slow decay and splinter in Serbian Anti-Ottoman political elite, although that being said, it did take another 132 years for Belgrade itself to fall into Ottoman hands with that city finally being captured in 1521. However because of the losses on the Ottoman side this battle is often seen as delaying Ottoman advance into the rest of the Balkans, thus this battle forms part of the modern Serbian pride in that medieval kingdom. This is the Gazimestan monument, located on the modern day battle-site.

It commemorates those Serbs who fell in battle. It was also where the late dictator Slobodan Milošević made this notorious speech

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8QwHrRzpeo )

Politics – Part 2: Centre right

Inferno
Inferno
Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:45 pm by Inferno

Having talked about far-right parties in my first post, I wish to move slightly further toward the centre.

Centre-right parties are usually conservative parties, the examples being the Conservative Party (UK) and the Republican Party (US). I will take the specific example of the Austrian Peoples Party (ÖVP) and look at their program. Note that I can’t go through it all, it’s about 70 pages long.

A quick word about the colour system: In general, conservative parties will sport blue (UK) or black (Germany, Austria) colours. Socialist (left-wing) parties will usually have red colours. (UK, Germany, Austria) I only know of the US where these roles are reversed: The conservative party (Republicans) are red and the socialist party (Democrats) are blue.

 

The first point in the program of the ÖVP is:

Wir sind die christdemokratische Partei.

Basically: “We are a Christian democratic party.”

This is quite common in most any conservative party I know: State that you are a Christian party. The CDU and the Republicans alike emphasize this point.

Point three reads:

Wir sind die Partei der Ökosozialen Marktwirtschaft.

Basically: We stand for ökosocial markets.
This isn’t exactly what they’re doing though. Many centre-right parties, the ÖVP included, are straight capitalists, usually letting market regulate itself and only interfering if a crisis is imminent. This is also called “laissez-faire capitalism”.

It is generally true that centre-right parties focus on boosting the economy, while centre-left parties focus on using money to pay for social institutions.

Point four reads:

Wir sind die Österreichpartei in Europa.

Basically: “We are the Austria-party in Europe”

This might seem redundant, they are in Austria after all, but it’s actually a statement about two things:
1) European politics are quite difficult to understand, so I’ll refrain from that here. What you should know is that the European Parliament also contains a number of parties. The ÖVP is particularly concerned with representing Austrian interests.

2) Austrian interests are, in this case, national interests. This once again shows the strong nationalist tendencies of right-wing parties.

Point five reads:

Wir sind die Volkspartei

Basically: “We are the peoples party”

Again, this is not strictly true if you look at their voters. Generally, these voters are composed of wealthier people who don’t care too much about social infrastructure, that is to say free medicare, free public transport and so on. A newspaper article in the “kleine Zeitung” characterizes ÖVP-voters in the following way: Mostly voted for by farmers (huge lobby in Austria) and independent business people.

This is generally true of other centre-right parties. They mostly appeal to rich people (see GOP in the US) and independent business owners, while generally not appealing to the working-class. Note: This is prominently not true in the UK, where the working class seems to favour the conservative party.

Another point states: We want to boost the family as the core of society. (Fun fact: They misspelled the word “Kernzelle”, meaning core. It reads “Keimzelle”, meaning gamete. “Keim” also means pathogen, so I’m not sure what they’re telling us…)

This is similar to the more extreme-right parties: Focusing on the family (defined as man + woman + kids) and exclude same-sex couples. Opposition to same-sex marriage usually stems from the more right-wing parties such as the Republican Party, the ÖVP and FPÖ, the German CDU and, in most cases, the conservative party in the UK. (Note for the last one: There seems to be some movement going on.)

 

I think that’s enough attention devoted to the centre-right. Next up: The Green party, after which I will follow with the left wing parties.

Politics – Part 1: Right wing

Inferno
Inferno
Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:44 pm by Inferno

I wanted to write about education, but I’m so bummed out with Uni that I’m not in the mood. With the elections in Austria coming up, I thought I’d share my thoughts on politics.

Most countries have around five parties, of which two usually dominate parliament. I’ll start with the right-wing parties. Let’s first remind ourselves where “right” and “left” came from. During the French revolution, the politicians on the right side of parliament were largely in favour of monarchy and the “Ancien Régime”. On the left side were those who favoured the working class.

The big clash between left and right emerged during the first and second World Wars. Russia had fallen to communist Bolsheviks and after the first World War more nationalist thought began to emerge in Germany and Austria. These ideologies were directly opposed: One was based on hierarchy and structure, the other on working together. One favoured an approach that would guarantee equity to all, the other one was proud of its achievements, even if those were only done by a select few.

Now those attitudes have hardly changed. I’ll single out the “Freedom Party of Austria” (FPÖ), look at their program and make some rather sweeping generalizations about other right-wing parties in Europe. One thing that must be pointed out right at the beginning is the incongruence between what is written and what is done.

 

Right at the beginning of the program, you can find the following: (point 2)

Wir sind dem Schutz unserer Heimat Österreich, unserer nationalen Identität und
Eigenständigkeit sowie unserer natürlichen Lebensgrundlagen verpflichtet.

Basically: We have to uphold our national identity and protect Austria.
This is a very nationalist (Note: NOT national-socialist!) view. Generally, the more right-wing the party is the more obsessed it is with security, defence and defence-budgets.

Rather unusually for right-wing rhetoric, the FPÖ then lists the minority groups in Austria and states that they’re an enrichment. Notice that that’s not the way they present themselves on the outside.
Rather more characteristic for them is the following:

“Austria is no country for immigration.” Therefore family.

What the FPÖ, and also other right-wing parties, have missed is the steady decline of births. Immigration is an essential part of our economy, without which we would collapse in mere decades.

A last point addressed is a strong favouring of Christianity and, even though they state otherwise in their manifesto, siding with Churches to oppose other religions.

A common red thread through almost all right-wing parties is the non-acceptance of other religions, especially Islam. If you want to find people opposing Islam, you’ll usually have some luck with the more right-wing parties instead of the left-wingers.

 

Point four reads:

Die Familie als Gemeinschaft von Mann und Frau mit gemeinsamen Kindern ist die
natürliche Keimzelle und Klammer für eine funktionierende Gesellschaft und
garantiert zusammen mit der Solidarität der Generationen unsere Zukunftsfähigkeit.

Basically: A Family consists of a man and a wife along with children.
Right-wing parties tend to be against same-sex marriage.

Point five:

Wir fördern Leistung in einer Marktwirtschaft mit sozialer Verantwortung, schützen
das Privateigentum und stehen für eine gerechte Aufteilung von Beiträgen und
Leistungen für die Allgemeinheit.

Basically: The protection of property and pushing markets.
Right-wing parties are usually fairly obsessed with the economy, protecting it, making it grow. This usually means a purely capitalistic market.

Point ten, incidentally the last one:

Ein Verbund freier Völker und selbstbestimmter Vaterländer ist Grundlage unserer
Europapolitik und unserer internationalen Kontakte.

Basically: Free countries and self-governing fatherlands are important.
Leaving aside the non-gender-conformist writing, this once again reinforces the nationalist concept. Where you come from is important.

These are the main headings, of which I’ve picked out the most characteristic ones. Each point is then elaborated on, as I’ve pointed out above.

I think that many of these examples will be true for other right-wing parties as well. The next four posts will be about centre-right parties (including the republicans), centre-left parties (including democrats), far-left parties and finally the greens. I will then either talk about upcoming parties, about politics in general or about anything you’re curious about. Heck, I might even put up some tools to make quick fact-checks of politicians.

Equity now?

Inferno
Inferno
Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:44 pm by Inferno

Whoever you are, we are not equals.

You might be a person living in a less economically developed country. In that case, we might be equally happy, but chances are I’m more educated (not intelligent, mind), healthy and have a better standard of living than you. We are not equal.

You might live in a more economically developed country, but you might be a woman. Although you are more likely to live a longer and healthier life and be more educated, I have better chances of getting a better-paid job, I am less likely of having to quit my job for the kids and I am less likely to work part-time. We are not equal.

You might be male, with the same education and chances of getting a job as I do. But you might be shorter than me, which increases my chances of me getting a better-paid job than you. You might be less fit, bald, etc. We are not equal.

But let us suppose that we are, in all the above mentioned respects, identical. We are both men, 22 years old, with an almost complete tertiary education degree. We are both 187cm tall, reasonably fit and with full hair. We are still not equal.

At this point, you might either understand what I’m getting at or you might be in utter despair. How are you not equal?

Well, you might be better at Basketball, while I’m better at the Trumpet. I might be better at cycling, you’re better at running. I might be a better kisser, you might be better in the sack. (Purely for the sake of comparison, of course! I excel at both.) You might be better in law, I’m better in educational studies. We are NOT equal.

We are, however, of equal value. It’s harder to make this distinction in English than it is in, for example, German. In German, we use the word “Gleich” to describe “equal”, “Gleichberechtigt” to say “of the same right” and “Gleichwertig” to say “of the same value”. In English, “equality” means all of these. I will get to one last thing it means in a second.

Everybody has a different set of talents. Whether you are a woman, chinese, a man, black, short, bald, hispanic, or anything else… there are some things you are good at and some things you are less good at. These things make you you, perhaps unique, but they do not make us equal.

Now, I talked of equality one paragraph up and mentioned a further word. Equality can also be understood as “sameness”. That’s the real danger with “equal” and “equality” I see. We miss the larger point: We are individuals and we need to be treated accordingly.

 

Joss Whedon’s speech “Equality now” is a beautiful speech about the equality of women. He explains why he writes “such strong female characters” and why he thinks we should have equality now rather than later.

However, equality doesn’t cut it.

So I suggest the much underused “equity” and I will even suggest that equality, at least in the way described above, is not what we want in many cases.

We want equality in racial matters, when it comes to LGBT-rights and so on. But ideally, we want equity when it comes to economic matters, to matters of handicaps (in whichever way they might come) and also in schooling. (Giving resources especially to kids who don’t meet the minimum requirements.) Equality can be applied wherever there is no inherent (dis)advantage on one side, while equity applies in exactly those cases.

After all this, you might ask for my justification. “Why do you want either equality or equity?”, you might ask. “Every person is the architect of his/her fortune.”

This would be the case if ours were a Darwinian society. Luckily, in my opinion, it’s not. We take care of others because we have some sense of moral duty. We take care of them because we want to be taken care of when we’re in trouble. We also do it because we ourselves profit from equity.

There’s lots and lots I could talk about on this subject, but I want to get some discussion going. Do you think this is purely semantic? If there are changes, what will they be?

Rebuttal to Ian Juby’s “’In 7 Days’ Crash Course in Creation” Day 7

he_who_is_nobody
he_who_is_nobody
Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:19 pm by he_who_is_nobody

Read part onepart twopart threepart fourpart five, and part six.

Day 7:  What would Jesus believe?

 

In this lesson, Juby spends the majority of his time proselytizing for Jesus. I frankly do not care about the claims of Christianity (or any religion for that matter). I was not sure if it was worth my time to make a post for this lesson because there is so little creationist content in it. However, I pressed forward to have a complete rebuttal to all his creationist nonsense.

The whole crux of the creation/evolution debate boils down to consequences: If there is no God, then there is no such thing as sin, there is no eternity, and no judgment.  The core of the origins debate is not so much science, but rather free will and a deep-seated, natural rebellion and resentment towards our creator God.  I freely admit that until I got to know this Creator personally, I too struggled with resentment towards this God.

After this very brief tour of some of the evidence pertaining to the debate, we now reach this crux of the matter head-on.

 

First off, Juby is wrong to claim that the crux of the Origins Debate boils down to consequences, it boils down to having accurate science taught in schools. Juby is essentially making a version of the First Foundational Falsehood of Creationism. However, the difference is that Juby is claiming that one cannot be a Christian and still accept evolution. Juby does not come out and say that evolution is inherently atheistic. Second, Juby can speak for himself. As an atheist, I know that I do not have any resentment towards any of the deities that have been created by humans over the eons. Furthermore, if there were such a thing as a god(s), it would do nothing to disprove evolution, as we know it.

Juby than spends a lot of time discussing C. S. Lewis and explaining what his thought about Jesus and the bible. What point does this have to do with creation?

Death before sin?

Another significant point in trying to cram evolution into the scriptures is that death, disease and survival of the fittest are crucial to the evolutionary process.  Mutations (disease, sickness) are the driving force behind the supposed changes needed by evolution.  Death is supposed to have happened for hundreds of millions of years before people evolved, according to evolutionary theory.  Yet in Genesis, we read that death, diseases, thorns, etc., are the result of Adam and Eve’s sin.

 

Once again, Juby is wrong, mutations are not the driving force of evolution; natural and sexual selection are. However, I would like Juby to explain how our fellow animals and we were able to survive in Eden if we were not able to eat from this garden. Juby never says it in his crash course, but he believes that all animals on earth were vegetarians before the expulsion from Eden (and perhaps up until the flood). When one eats and digests food, one is killing the plant matter.

Furthermore, it would also be nice for Juby to explain where he thinks diseases and thorns came from? Did they just spontaneously generate after the expulsion from Eden or does he think they evolved (he would not call it that) from preexisting creatures into what they are now.

If evolution was happening for millions of years leading up to Adam and Eve, then you have death before the sin of Adam and Eve, and the Genesis account is null and void.  Furthermore, Christ died to redeem man from the sin of Adam and Eve.  If death was going on before Adam and Eve, and it was a tool God used to produce the diversity of life on earth, then how could God say it was all “good” throughout the days of Creation, (Gen 1:4,10,12,18,21,25, & 31) while simultaneously referring to death as wicked, evil, and an enemy?  (Deut 31:15,Ezek 33:1,1 Cor 15:26)

 

I am including this section because I want to know what everyone thinks about it. Has Ian Juby created a great argument against Christianity from a modern scientific standpoint? Has Juby just destroyed his own faith?

Juby goes on to echo this point throughout the rest of this lesson, but I do not think it is worth quoting here. It appears to me that Juby has set up a huge failure for himself. We know that evolution and deep time are facts and that universal common descent is abundantly obvious. Once any creationist that has actually read this crash course is exposed to real science, it appears to me, that they might have a higher chance of losing their faith.

I point this out because I am an atheist, but my understanding of evolutionary theory and deep time had no bearing on that. For most of my youth, I was a Christian, but never a creationist (I was in the sense that I thought god was behind everything). Juby has made it abundantly clear in this lesson that either the bible is literally true or there is no Christian god (the Second Foundational Falsehood of Creationism). Thus, once a student of Juby enters college and is actually exposed to real science, they have a much higher chance of leaving Christianity behind, because Juby has stapled creationism to that faith.

Fine by me.

That’s all folks!
Thank you for subscribing to the “In 7 Days crash course in creation.” I hope that you have enjoyed it.

 

I have enjoyed this. I actually thought it was going to be much harder to debunk most of Juby’s tripe, but it was surprisingly easy. That makes sense because creationists very rarely get any new arguments. Juby’s lesson three is a great example of a creationist hoarding debunked arguments.

Unless you want to receive an occasional update about these lessons (which will be almost never), use the link down below to UNSUBSCRIBE from the course.

 

I wonder how much updating Juby will be performing after he reads these blogs. I am going to stay subscribed, because I would love to read his updates and if they are more of the tripe he has put forth thus far, I will make more posts about it.

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed reading this. I know I enjoyed writing it.

Have a nice day. :)

 

Rebuttal to Ian Juby’s “’In 7 Days’ Crash Course in Creation” Day 6

he_who_is_nobody
he_who_is_nobody
Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:01 am by he_who_is_nobody

Read part one, part two, part three, part four, and part five.

Day 6:  Nothing changes…

Often I have had skeptics say “You keep arguing against evolution – what are your arguments for creation?”

 

This is a very fair and open question; because creationists seem to believe (as Juby goes on to demonstrate); there is a dichotomy when it comes to the Origins Debate. It appears that all creationists believe that they simply have to disprove evolution in order to prove creationism. However, this is not the case, creationism (young earth creationism especially) has been disproved for the last 200 years. Thus, proving evolution wrong will not make creationism true.

While this is a fair question, something does need to be clarified before proceeding:
The scientific method is one based upon falsification.  In other words, you cannot really “prove” anything – you can only “disprove” something.  Furthermore, creation and evolution really do rule out all other possible models.  For example, suggesting that aliens transplanted us here on earth (and thus answering the question “where did we come from?”) does not answer the question “From whence did we come?” It is actually intellectual cop-out – it only brings up the question “Where did the aliens come from?”

 

Juby makes this statement without realizing the irony of what he has just done. One only needs to change a few words and Juby has virtually made a great case against his position.

For example, suggesting that a god(s) magically created us here on earth (and thus answering the question “where did we come from?”) does not answer the question “From whence did we come?” It is actually intellectual cop-out – it only brings up the question “Where did this god(s) come from?”

Tada, Juby has just explained why creationism fails.

It all boils down to creation, or evolution.  Either we were created by supernatural processes, or we evolved by supernatural processes.

 

Again, here we have Juby admitting that creationism is nothing more than magic while at the same time projecting that fault onto evolution and science in general. There is nothing supernatural about evolution and evolutionary theory. We have evidence in the way of genetics, fossils, etc… Juby’s shameless projection will do nothing to diminish these facts. Furthermore, it does not boil down to creation or evolution, no matter how much Juby wants to set up that false dichotomy. Evolution is the only explanation for the diversity of life on earth, while creationism has never been anything more than belief in magic, as Juby so readily points out.

One example of evidence for creation comes from my good friend, John Mackay (http://creationresearch.net).  As he points out, ten times in the first chapter of Genesis it says God created things to reproduce after their kind.  Evolution requires things to change over time, and so we thus have another scientific test to apply to the creation/evolution debate.

 

Before Juby could move on from this, he would have to define kind in a scientific context. I have blogged about this idea earlier and pointed out that as soon as a creationist defines kind they have lost; because it is effortless to show evidence that all species of animals share a common ancestor. Thus, Juby (and Mackay) have given us away to falsify creationism in their own words.

Stasis in the fossil record:
“Stasis” is a huge problem for evolution.  “Stasis” simply means that things stay the same – for example, on the right is a cast (in the collection of the Creation Science Museum of Canada) of a fossil garfish.  How do we know it’s a garfish?  Because they are still around today, and they have stayed the same.

This fossil fish is supposedly 100 million years old by evolutionary standards.  Fossil garfish have evolved into….. garfish.

Instead of being evidence for evolution, this is evidence that garfish have faithfully reproduced after their kind.

 

Stasis is not a huge problem for modern evolution. It might have been a problem for early ideas of universal gradualism, but we now know that stasis is a normal part of life on earth. Think about this, evolution only happens when there is need for change (e.g. changes in climate). If the climate an organism lives in changes very little over geologic time, the organisms found in said environment would also change very little.

However, even with that said, there are still build-ups of neutral mutations that will change an organism ever so slightly over the eons. Thus, the fossil garfish Juby shows a picture of (and this is true for all the examples Juby gives) is not the same species as the modern version. So, depending on how Juby would define kind this example (and all others provided) could be examples of kinds changing over time.

On the right you see another excellent example of a fossil horseshoe crab.  Beside it is a modern one.  Again, 100 million years of supposed evolution has turned horseshoe crabs into…. horseshoe crabs.

In fact in early 2008, a fossil horseshoe crab was found in Manitoba, Canada, dated at over 400 million years old.  How did they know it was a horseshoe crab?  Cause it looks like one.  400 million years of evolution has changed nothing.

 

Juby throws out the term “horseshoe crab” as if it were a species level designation; it is not. Horseshoe crab (Limulidea) is a family level classification that holds three living genera and one extinct genus.

Furthermore, Juby exposes how little he knows about taxonomy by acting as if Limulidea were a species level designation. In fact, this whole lesson is an example of how little Juby knows about taxonomy, cladistics, and basic biology. To make an analogy, Juby is saying they found a species of cat (Felidae) that dates back to 16 million years ago. How did they know it was a cat? Because, it looks like one. The traits that make a Limulidea a Limulidea (or a cat a cat) are the traits used by scientists in order to classify them in relation to other organisms. This includes species as diverse and different as house cats, lions, and extinct species such as Smilodons.

This fossil fish (part of the CSMC collection) is from the Green River formation – supposedly 50 million years old.  This is a fossil herring.  Commonly called “Knightia,” wikipedia claims it has become extinct.  Compare the photos yourself – the one on the right, to the wikipedia photo of a herring:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Herringadultkils.jpg

Unfortunately, it is confusion in the latin names that has caused some evolutionists to become convinced that evolution has happened.  Knightia is not even the same genus as the herring (Genus Clupea).  In fact, as Vance Nelson has pointed out, often the only evolution in an organism is in its latin name!  In other words, the modern, living version of a fossil organism is often classed in a completely different genera than the fossil, giving the appearance of having major differences when there isn’t any.

 

Juby is asking his non-scientific audience to compare a fossil skeleton to a living fleshed out fish. You have to be kidding me.

Juby has already exposed that he knows nothing about human anatomy (let alone any other animal’s anatomy), so what makes anyone think he is qualified to question the classification of any organism. Furthermore, based on the they look the same argument I am sure Juby would argue that mammoths, mastodons, and modern elephants were the same animal.

Usually I don’t need to tell people what the fossil on the right is (courtesy of the Big Valley Creation Science Museum).  It’s a dragonfly – and there is a photograph of a modern counterpart.  Dragonflies have evolved into dragonflies.

This example falls under all the arguments I have made thus far (Juby’s ignorance of anatomy, cladistics, misunderstanding of stasis, and thinking dragonfly is a species level designation). The only main difference is that dragonfly (Anisoptera) is considered a suborder classification, even worse than his Limulidea example.

 

Nothing has changed – this is powerful evidence for creation, and thoroughly refutes evolution which requires changes over time en par with a frog turning into a prince – only evolution requires a second frog turning into a princess at precisely the same time and place.

 

First off, this is not evidence of creationism at all. It is only evidence of Juby’s basic ignorance (or blatant misrepresentation) of taxonomy. In addition, Juby goes on to straw man evolution by comparing it to a fairy tale, which again is an example of him projecting the faults of creationism onto evolution. He further goes on to expose just how little he actually knows about evolution (or another blatant misrepresentation) by stating “evolution requires a second frog turning into a princess at precisely the same time and place.” Obviously, Juby does not know that evolution happens to populations and not individuals, thus stating something this ignorant is inexcusable for someone who claims to have studied the Origins Debate for as long as Juby claims.

One of the classic examples of a “living fossil” is the Coelacanth (pronounced See-la-canth).  Once thought to be a precursor to the fish that walked onto land (in the evolutionary belief system), it was also believed to have been extinct for some 70 million years (i.e., went extinct the same time as the dinosaurs).

Then one was caught alive in the 1930’s.  Schools of them have been found since.  This was akin to finding a Stegosaurus in your back yard!
The coelacanth first appears in the fossil record some 450 million years ago, and has remained essentially unchanged.
(Photo courtesy of Max Planck institute, click here to see the Chicago field museum’s page on the coelacanth.)

 

First off, the photo he used was too large to be included in this blog and I will not be bothered to look for another one (everyone already knows what the fish looks like). Second, since this is, as Juby points out, the classic example of a living fossil for creationists, I will repeat myself and explain the mistakes Juby is making when it comes to the Coelacanth.

The first mistake is that Juby acts as if Coelacanth (Coelacanthiforme) is a species level designation. Coelacanthiforme is an order classification with several species found within it. Coelacanthiformes were never thought to be a precursor for tetrapods, but a very close relative of the first tetrapod lineage.

Juby is correct that finding a living Coelacanthiforme was akin to finding living Stegosaurs, but not for the reasons he thinks. Essentially, this animal was only known from fossils and because of that, we thought it went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous. Finding a living version was a surprise, but did nothing to shake up our ideas of evolution; it only shook up our ideas of the fossil record, just like finding a living non-avian dinosaur would not shake up our ideas of evolution, only our ideas of the fossil record.

Furthermore, the species of Coelacanthiforme alive today (Latimeria) is not found in the fossil record. The last example of Coelacanthiforme found in the fossil record was Macropoma, a shallow sea version of Coelacanthiforme. Latimeria are deep-water fish and could be the reason why their fossils have never been found.

Now some anti-creationists will contend that there are changes in these organisms.  When one examines the claims closely, one finds the claim is primarily speculation, i.e., the internal organs of the coelacanth are assumed to have changed over time (see my commentary on the NOVA Coelacanth program and why the coelacanth is not evidence for evolution).  The few minor variations we do see are still well within variation within the species.

 

We can see evidence of evolution from the first Coelacanthiforme, Litoptychius, found in the Devonian all the way through Macropoma the last Coelacanthiforme found in the fossil record. Second, as I pointed out Macropoma was a shallow sea fish and there are many species of Coelacanthiforme that were fresh water fish as well. That alone would be a major change in their anatomy; something Juby probably would not understand because he thinks all fish would have survived the flood. Juby would not understand that salt-water fish and fresh water fish have different ways of coping with their environment. Furthermore, Litoptychius is a deep-water fish, and in order for it to survive at the water pressure it does, means major anatomical differences from any of the fossil versions we have. Again, I doubt Juby would understand this. He believes animals can move well being incased in mud.

Yet many anti-creationists try and focus on differences that are minute compared to the variations within dogs – and claim that this is somehow evidence for evolution.  No, coelacanths have “evolved” into coelacanths.  This is powerful evidence for creation, and powerful evidence against evolution.

 

Living in fresh water, shallow sea, and deep sea are not tiny differences. Furthermore, stating that the variation between breeds of dogs is greater than the variation it would take to live in three completely different environments is just asinine and once again exposes how little Juby understand biology.

So many living fossils, so little time…
There are far, far more examples of living fossils around today.  See part 10 of “The Complete Creation” video encyclopedia, still viewable for free on my website:
http://ianjuby.org/videos.html

 

That simply means there are far, far more examples for Juby to misrepresent and display his utter lack of knowledge about taxonomy, cladistics, and basic biology. Stasis is very well understood in evolutionary theory. Punctuated equilibrium explains the stasis we see in the fossil record. Nevertheless, for every example of stasis Juby could find, I could find an even more dramatic example of transition. From horses to whales, and even in our lineage, we have great examples of transitional life forms.

Coming up in the next lesson:
What would Jesus believe?

 

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