The stupid....it hurts (ICR article about Dmanisi)
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11-11-2013, 07:23 PM
The stupid....it hurts (ICR article about Dmanisi)
One of my students, a self-proclaimed young earth creationist, sent me this article in e-mail just a bit ago:

http://www.icr.org/article/7843/

So much stupidity. The article even cites itself, a common tactic for creationist b.s. sites like ICR. I responded to the student explaining why the article was off base, but I doubt he'll even read my response. Still, the teacher in me just can't let that go by without addressing it.
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12-11-2013, 01:51 AM
RE: The stupid....it hurts (ICR article about Dmanisi)
This makes me want to punch my computer in the face.

...
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12-11-2013, 02:07 AM
RE: The stupid....it hurts (ICR article about Dmanisi)
I almost replied on here making arguments about Neanderthals, but I'm sure you got it covered. I'd be preaching to the choir most likely. But I would really love to read your response to the student. Can you copy/paste?
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12-11-2013, 06:28 AM
RE: The stupid....it hurts (ICR article about Dmanisi)
Sure. Take it easy on me and keep in mind that I'm his public school biology teacher, so it isn't my job to convince him about anything theologically, only defend our understanding of biology.
________________________
That is indeed interesting. Unfortunately, as with probably many articles at ICR, the author totally misses the point of the discovery and then completely mischaracterizes what the new information tells us. Oh, and also completely missed the point about the fossils being 1.85 million years old, which more than kind of fails to fit within a 6000 year old planet. But I digress.

Something creationists love to try to use against science is actually the biggest strength of science: when we find new evidence, we modify existing viewpoints. Creationists start with the answer, and that answer must be unchanging. Scientists start with a question based on some observed evidence, and then postulate a potential answer to the question, then test test test test test it, and try to come up with the best explanation possible. We have indeed learned some very interesting new information from the Dmanisi discovery. One of our ancestors (H. erectus) migrated out of Africa far earlier than we thought. We thought humans only left Africa maybe 500-800,000 years ago. Dmanisi was at least twice that age. This is making us have to rethink some of the other skulls and skull fragments, but again, that's a STRENGTH of science. New discoveries mean better and better explanations. It was only recently that we discovered the H. floriensis ("Hobbit-like" hominids) in Indonesia. They appear to not share a very recent evolutionary branch with our own line, and instead may be descended from a side chain. They went extinct (probably thanks to us) maybe as recently as 15-30,000 years ago.

By the way, one criticism I have with ICR is their tendency to cite their own articles as backup for their current articles. Notice how in this one, source number 4, which is an older ICR article, supposedly supports the idea that Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon should be discredited. One of the ways to know whether a source is reliable or not is whether it cites itself. ICR seems to do that in abundance, and to me that just illustrates that the authors have no real scientific basis for their ponderings. They are working from their agenda of trying their best to discredit evolutionary biology. Unfortunately for them, they fail. Time, and time again. But good on them for trying! If the science of evolution couldn't stand up to that kind of scrutiny, it would surely be doomed.
________________________

I welcome any critiques of my reply to him. He's only 15 so I'm not sure how much of an impact any response would have to him, but I keep clinging to the notion that since he isn't completely ignorant of science, he'll eventually realize the folly of his views.
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12-11-2013, 07:31 AM
RE: The stupid....it hurts (ICR article about Dmanisi)
Notice the lack of denial that missing link fossils exist now.
They just avoid the topic, like a gay uncle.

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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12-11-2013, 08:03 AM
RE: The stupid....it hurts (ICR article about Dmanisi)
Nice response, Chance.

If this is one of your keenest students, it might be an idea to set an assignment covering what the new discoveries might lead to e.g....
Assignment: Write a testable hypothesis that explains... etc.

Even if you get a YEC hypothesis, it's still a good lesson.

Also...
biology ... evolution ... Chance!
There's a punchline in there somewhere.

Smile

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12-11-2013, 08:33 AM
RE: The stupid....it hurts (ICR article about Dmanisi)
(11-11-2013 07:23 PM)Chance Wrote:  One of my students, a self-proclaimed young earth creationist, sent me this article in e-mail just a bit ago:

http://www.icr.org/article/7843/

So much stupidity. The article even cites itself, a common tactic for creationist b.s. sites like ICR. I responded to the student explaining why the article was off base, but I doubt he'll even read my response. Still, the teacher in me just can't let that go by without addressing it.

I know the feeling! I am a public school Biology teacher also, and run into these things from time to time.

One of the biggest 'face-palm' moments was when the class was looking at a timeline of Kingdom ages, and I asked "how long ago did Amphibians come into the fossil record."

A student strongly blurts out "on the sixth day!" Weeping

Before I could reply, another student said "well that's a stupid answer. We're in science class." Smartass
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12-11-2013, 08:43 AM
RE: The stupid....it hurts (ICR article about Dmanisi)
Thanks for posting, Chance.
I really hope the kid took some time to read and think about what you said.

One of my biggest hang ups on this article was this:
"Among those species would be Neandertal and Cro-Magnon, which deserve no recognition as separate forms that supposedly evolved into Homo sapiens"
Pretty sure scientists have concluded that Neanderthals coexisted for a period with Homo sapiens, NOT that they evolved INTO Homo sapiens, which just makes me question the validity of any of their "research" in the whole article. (Not that it wasn't questionable already)


Also, DLJ, I lol'd. Smile
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12-11-2013, 08:48 AM
RE: The stupid....it hurts (ICR article about Dmanisi)
(12-11-2013 08:03 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Nice response, Chance.

If this is one of your keenest students, it might be an idea to set an assignment covering what the new discoveries might lead to e.g....
Assignment: Write a testable hypothesis that explains... etc.

Even if you get a YEC hypothesis, it's still a good lesson.

Also...
biology ... evolution ... Chance!
There's a punchline in there somewhere.

Smile

Thinkers to evidence to Chance. Consider

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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12-11-2013, 10:00 AM (This post was last modified: 14-11-2013 10:00 AM by DLJ.)
RE: The stupid....it hurts (ICR article about Dmanisi)
(12-11-2013 08:48 AM)Chas Wrote:  Thinkers to evidence to Chance. Consider

Moreover...

I now haz a mental image of a biology class somewhere in Arkansas where a caped and spandex-wearing crusader for truth and justice leaps to the rescue of any student in dire need with the cry of ...

"Leave it to Chance"

... and then walks away.

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