Category: Intelligent Design

I recently skimmed a YouTube video with Kent Hovind entitled 100 Reasons Evolution is Stupid! If you don’t know who Hovind is, you should definitely check out some of his videos — they are case studies of hucksterism. I really can’t comprehend how people watching his speeches don’t see him for what he is. It’s not even the fact that he’s spreading a belief in so-called Intelligent Design (creationism) — something I think is ridiculous. It’s his mannerisms and speaking style. Regardless of what he was discussing, I wouldn’t trust him. He could tell me the sky is blue and I’d be highly suspicious of his claims, just because he sounds like a conman.

As I watched just a short clip, I quickly noticed one lie without really searching for it. He claimed that Stephen J. Gould — a renowned evolutionary biologist — stated the following:

“The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for … evolution.”

It seemed strange to me that an ellipsis was required right before the word evolution in this quotation. Usually ellipses are used to removed unnecessary information, but in this case, what would have fit in here except vital information. It almost seemed as if Hovind was trying to hide something. Well, perhaps I was mistaken, so I looked up the full quotation.

“The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualist accounts of evolution.” (Gould, Stephen J., ‘Is a new and general theory of evolution emerging?’ Paleobiology, vol 6(1), January 1980, p. 127)

If you don’t know, Gould was not in favor of the gradualist account of evolution; however, he was of course in favor of evolution itself. Gould supported “punctuated equilibrium” — a view of evolution as quick explosions of diversity in organisms and long periods of little change. Therefore, this quote does in no way demonstrate that Gould questioned the idea of evolution. It is a flat out lie to portray it as such — which is what Hovind did. At best, Hovind can claim that there are disagreements about how evolution functions — which is true.

Although it upset me to see that Hovind was spreading lies to children, I felt better knowing that he’s now rotting in jail. Not sure exactly what for, but if I cant quote mine from all the things he’s said in his life, Hovind said this about his incarceration:

“I went to … jail … because I … solicited … children with … the intention to … have sex with them … and then … murder them.”

Those are Kent’s words, so this isn’t a lie, right?

Often during an argument about the validity of evolution, one who doesn’t believe in evolution will assert something along the lines of: “If evolution is true, then how could something as perfect as the human eye be created? The answer, of course, is that were were created perfectly in God’s image; we did not evolve from animals.”

Here, I will admit, is a clever piece of rhetoric, though wrong nonetheless. The reason that it is clever is that it plays to our pride. Who would argue that we humans aren’t perfect? Well, I would.

Consider the human body carefully. Every individual part can not only break down, but can cause the death of the individual! If you can’t imagine how this is possible, let me remind you of the six-letter word “cancer.” Even the most unimportant parts of your body, let’s say a toe, can be stricken by cancer, and you can die. If you don’t believe this, look up the reason for Bob Marley’s death. If you don’t want to spend the time opening this, in short, his religious beliefs dictated that his body must be one, and amputation is not an option. Mr. Marley contracted cancer on a toe, and refused to amputate. The rest is biology.

So, any part of our body can have a problem — one of the manifold problems possible — and that problem can cause a termination of our whole life, not just a problem with that part in particular.

Let’s consider an unarguably intelligently designed device as a comparison: a car. If you were going to buy a car and the dealer told you that if you get a tiny bit of rust on any part of this car, the whole car would eventually be destroyed by this bit of rust, would you want to buy this car? On a car, if you get some rust on your bumper, and you don’t treat the rust, the worst that will happen is that the bumper will eventually rust off — the rest of the car will be fine.

So, a machine that is intelligently designed by a mere human is superior in this fundamental way to a human who was designed by an omnipotent being. Wow, we humans are smarter than God then. That’s nice to know.

Also, you should consider the frequency of problems or injuries among humans. Evolution explains that our ancestors have only been walking upright for a relatively short time, on the evolutionary scale. Accordingly, this drastic shift in positioning of the anatomy should, considering evolution’s short adaptation time, cause numerous problems, probably for at least a few million years. As we might expect, humans have notoriously problematic spines. Spines that had many, many, many millions of years to evolve for horizontal usage are known to cause aches, pain, and even excruciating pain due to disc herniation from normal wear and tear. I know from personal experience how terrible this can be, I’ve had an artificial disc placed in between two cervical vertebrae to solve a disc herniation. If you’re wondering about the pain, it can be almost immobilizing and the pain can occur anywhere the impacted nerve leads to (in my case, down my left arm). Many also lose sensation in their extremities and possibly power. I lost sensation however, I never lost arm strength.

I have heard different percentages, however, it seems that by the time people reach 80, almost everyone will have a mild to severe herniated disc. Considering how debilitating this common injury is, I have no idea how a Creationist would explain this fundamental design problem. Maybe God likes it when we are in intense pain.

So, unless our “Intelligent Designer” is far less intelligent than us humans, it seems that the concept of Intelligent Design should at least be rechristened “A Little Dumb Design”.

Take a look at this site showing textbooks in Louisiana. All I have to say is… my God.

If you don’t wanna click, here’s couple samples from the site (P.S. click the pictures for a deeper analysis of Creationism):



There seems to be a confusion among evolution skeptics that is overlooked by most people who accept evolution. Skeptics of evolution tend to think that evolution is a world-view that believers in evolution hold on to with all our might, unwilling to see the world otherwise. In other words, they view evolution as a religion.

This makes sense to evolution skeptics because they know that they cannot change certain beliefs that they have of their religion. They cannot stop believing in the basic tenets of their religion, or their life would be in shambles (or at least, that’s what they believe).

However, I hope I can speak for most people who believe in evolution when I say, if scientists suddenly found a serious problem that ran counter to evolutionary theory, and after a peer review, they declared that evolution was actually not the answer for how we arrived here, believers in evolution would be excited!  This concept is mind-blowing for evolution skeptics because it would seem to them like evolution believers’ lives would have been ruined because our concept of how the world works would have been ruined. Not at all. In fact, in order for evolutionary theory to be overturned, there would have to be an even more amazing, all-encompassing theory to replace it. So, would this be disappointing? No! This would be absolutely fascinating! There would be so many new interesting questions raised by this drastic discovery. There is nothing about evolutionary theory itself that we evolution believers cling to: we just accept the facts. We are not promised life after this life or punishment of our enemies. We simply accept what the scientific method demonstrates.

Of course, it is extremely improbable that the entire theory of evolution will be overturned considering the vast amounts of evidence in its favor and the absence of scientific evidence running counter to it at this moment. However, the vast amount of evidence for evolution does not make me happier. The fact is, people who believe in evolution tend to believe it because they care about science, not evolution specifically. They may have an interest in studying the mechanics or evidence of evolution, but caring for something is a little different.

We do care about the scientific method because humans have tried many methods for understanding the world in the past. Animal sacrifice, human sacrifice, palmistry, rain dances and so on, have all failed to produce repeatable results as the scientific method has. As a result of the repeatability of the scientific method, it has produced virtually all the inventions we see around us in modern society. I care to protect that concept because I care about preserving and advancing the benefits of modern society.

The theory of evolution has been arrived at via the scientific method. Therefore, I care about evolution only because I care about science. Whether or not evolution is true is not something I am emotional about; however, denying the accuracy of scientific analysis is an affront to our modern society and, as a defender of modern society, I feel a duty to defend the truthfulness of scientific analysis.

I recently stumbled across a blog that demonstrated that rationalists might finally be making some headway into the debate against believers 🙂 There has emerged a new strategy among believers (at least, new to me) that can be seen in this blog post. The blog post is called “Atheists ought to chill out” and it basically is trying to stop the barrage of logic that rationalists are continuously lobbing at irrationalists by saying, “Don’t you have anything better to do with your life? Don’t you feel embarrassed when you continuously disprove us?”

This is quite ironic coming from people who spend hours every Sunday in church. Don’t they have anything better to do?

This blog post in particular was useful because they set up this argument:

I don’t believe in the tooth fairy because I know she doesn’t exist. Therefore, I don’t spend time trying to disprove her. I don’t care if someone believes in her because it doesn’t harm anyone or anything.

I polished up their argument a little, but that’s essentially it.

So, I thought of a great game that we can play!

It’s called, “The Tooth Fairy Doesn’t…” and it goes like this: you state a reason why you feel disproving religion is more important than disproving the tooth fairy. That’s it. I’ll write a few of mine, but I’d love to hear other suggestions! 🙂

The tooth fairy doesn’t strap bombs to her chest and blow herself up in crowded civilian areas.

The tooth fairy doesn’t try to impose her legal system on other cultures (let’s call it Fairya Law) .

The tooth fairy doesn’t issue fatwas calling for the death of cartoonists or writers.

The tooth fairy doesn’t blow up abortion clinics.

The tooth fairy doesn’t knock on my door and try to tell me to believe in her.

The tooth fairy doesn’t influence politics.

The tooth fairy doesn’t try to stop the teaching of evolution in schools.


Gather ’round ye wearied souls,

rich and poor,

young and old,

I shall tell you a story of yore.

When a question arises,

which ye dost not comprehend,

just say it is God,

and all shall amend.

Yes, I have discovered the solution, everyone. I have discovered the unifying theory that explains all questions of physics, biology, chemistry, math, history, archaeology, and any field with unknowns: God!

Yes, it may seem difficult to comprehend now, but take a look at some examples, and see how well it works!

“How did the universe begin?”

Answer: God did it!

“How did man appear on Earth?”

Answer: God did it!

“Why are men attracted to women and vice versa?”

Answer: God did it!

“Why is there no grand unifying theory in physics yet?”

Answer: (a little more difficult) God did it, and we can never understand the mind of God!

See? It’s so easy once you understand the Theory of God. There’s no need to think deeply about things anymore. Just accept God into your heart and all will make sense!

Ok, the facetiousness ends here. So, I’ve had this issue with believers when I try to discuss anything involving the sciences or the social sciences. The answer of God seems to satisfy them. Never do they notice that this is both a conversation killer and a non-answer.

It’s a conversation killer because any discussion beyond this becomes vitriolic since the believer views it as an attack on their God. Needless to say, it both is an attack on their God and is not at the same time. The “attacker” merely wants to get at the truth, and the believer is putting up the barricade of God between the conversation and the truth.

It’s a non-answer because it raises the question: what is God, exactly? As an example, if you say that God created the universe, then many questions are raised. Who or what created God? What is God? Is there only one God? Can God be unmade? What is God made of? The believer will tend to say, “God is outside time and space.” This is also a conversation killer. The believer cannot know this because humans are unable to conceive of things outside time or space. The believer is hoping the incomprehensibility of their argument will allow them to win. What a lame way to win an argument.

Why is the use of “God did it” so effective? It is effective because it places consensus over logic — the tyranny of the majority. You will rarely hear a believer say “My Baptist God did it, and all other Gods are meaningless.” They just say, “God did it.” What’s the difference? If you shout, “My Baptist God did it and all other Gods are meaningless” into a crowd, you’re likely to get more booing than cheers. If you say, “God did it” all Christian, Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, Hindus and all other believers will probably cheer. So, this is a false representation of your point. Of course most believers believes that it is their God specifically that is the correct God.

Moreover, even if you allow for this false representation, science is not a democracy, sorry. Just because most people believe something to be true, does not make it any more true.

So, let’s do a vote (Irony intended)! Who says we should make the phrase, “God did it” illegal in common discourse? (by illegal, I don’t mean go to jail, I just mean, you can’t use it without feeling stupid).

P.S. I know that my poem at the beginning kinda sucks, I made it up while typing, so forgive me if it isn’t a Shakespearean sonnet 😛

P.P.S. Found this funny video, thought it fit in nicely with my article.



The picture above represents a relatively old concept that in no way represents evolution. In case you don’t know it, it goes like this: given an infinite amount of time, a monkey randomly plunking away at a typewriter, will eventually write the entire works of Shakespeare from cover to cover. This, in my opinion, is an example of where probability and reality diverge. I have no idea what the odds of this happening is, but I have read that the required time for this to happen probabilistically is much more time than has ever existed. Further, if you consider the fact that every failure of the monkey to achieve the entire works brings the probability back to its original percentage (thinking that more failures means that the success is “due” is known as the gambler’s fallacy), it seems impossible that this unbelievable rare event would ever happen.

This is not how evolution works.

It seems that many people do not actually understand the basics of evolution – even those who claim that they believe in evolution.

I have a very pathetic example of this. I was visiting a friend’s house with a couple other friends. When I entered the house, I saw that the owner’s cat was enormous. I’ve never seen such an obese cat since then. The owner then said, “Yah, I known, and even stranger are his toes!” I looked, and I saw a somewhat grotesque sight. The cat had a serious case of polydactylism – too many toes on each paw. I’ve seen cats with six toes, but this cat had basically two paws on each leg. So, I said, “Ah, I guess that’s why he’s so fat, it must be a little painful to walk,” which I thought was a good guess. But then, another friend chimed in and said, “No, no , no. That’s evolution!” I stood there confused for a moment, trying to think of why this was an example of evolution. Not able to come up with an answer, I asked why it was evolution. “Because he has DNA to be fat, so his DNA developed extra fingers to compensate.” Actually, this friend was pretty dumb, so I doubt he said the word “compensate,” but you get the picture.

I recently had discussion with another blogger, DesertWarrior, on his blog post, The Chicken or the Egg, which triggered my desire to write a straightforward explanation of evolution.

I feel obliged to explain the basics of evolution so that ignorant believers of evolution and skeptics of evolution alike can at least know what they’re talking about.

Note: I will just say “mutation” for any beneficial change in DNA because there are a few ways the DNA can change across generations, but it will be too annoying to reiterate all of them each time. (The main way, by the way, is recombination of the genes in a novel way).

1) Probability

Very simply, evolution works by the concept of probability. If you take a game of Texas Hold’em Poker, for example, there are different probabilities for getting different hands preflop (this means, the first two card you get – don’t worry, you don’t need to know all the details of Hold’em if you aren’t familiar with this). The odds of getting the best hand (pocket aces) is 220 to 1, or 0.45%. It is very improbable to get this hand; however, if you play 220 hands, probability says that you should get this hand once. Of course, sometimes you will get this hand 10 times in 220 hands, and sometimes you won’t get this hand in 500 hands. But the average is 220 to 1.

Now, apply this same logic to the probability of a specific gene mutating in a way that is beneficial to the organism. Let’s say the chances are the same as pocket aces, 220 to 1. Then, if there are 220 offspring born in one year, this mutation is expected to happen once. Suddenly, something that is improbable, because expected. In this way, there is no luck or chance involved in evolution.

Add to this the fact that every part of your body can be modified in a beneficial way by a mutation. This means that each organism is not just taking a gamble once with one particular mutation, but with every single part of their DNA that can mutate.

Now, you must realize that most mutations are bad or neutral, so good mutations are not common. However, as we can already see, each organism has many chances to have one good mutation, and these chances are compounded by the number of offspring within the species. As a result, the probability will always be in favor of adaptation.

2) Environmental Adaptation

Next, is the concept that determines which mutations will survive. The one fact that confuses most people about evolution is that there is no such thing as a good gene or a good mutation. It’s all relative to the environment. Being a tall person may be beneficial in our current society, and the trend is that humans are getting taller; however, this is only because we enjoy an abundance of food. In an environment lacking food, being smaller is a benefit because you need fewer calories to survive. It all depends on the environment surrounding the organism.

Of course, mutations have no consciousness. Unlike as my stupid friend noted above thinks, evolution has no ability to compensate or consider the environment. It is all due to the fact that many probabilities are occurring simultaneously. Some organisms are born with serious deficiencies, and die. These organisms never procreate and never pass on their DNA. Some organisms appear more sexually attractive and they will procreate more and pass on their DNA more successfully. Some organisms will have a better ability to survive, and they too will have a greater ability to pass on their DNA.

Over deep time, these beneficial mutations add up in the descendants of a particular organism, and the descendants look very different than their ancestors. This is a slow process. It is not a sudden jump from a fish to a dinosaur – that would be the equivalent of the monkey writing the works of Shakespeare on a typewriter scenario (in a word, impossible).

That’s it. That’s the basics. There is no need for a guiding hand in this process. If you think it’s too unlikely to be successful, then you can simply check out the various computer simulations that have been done with these simple parameters. Every time, the computer organisms rather quickly (on an evolutionary scale) adapt to their environment. It works mathematically, and it works in the real world.

Now, there are people who will raise questions about specific aspects of evolution (such as speciation, or “why are there homosexuals?”, and so on); but what I have said above is what anyone who wants to talk about evolution MUST know without sounding ignorant.

Your comments are welcome. I have studied evolution quite a bit more than the average person; however, I am not an expert. I will try to answer your questions if I can; however, I will not go into extremely precise examples (these are generally the kind of gotcha questions. For example, I heard once, “If the Earth is so old, why is there so little dust on the moon?”) These kind of questions just try to obfuscate the discussion. If you stay on topic, I’ll be happy to answer your questions. 🙂

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