Recap of June 1st CORR Meeting

June 2, 2006 at 6:12 am | Posted in Journal of Anti-Science meetings | 19 Comments

Unfortunately, Dr. Lucas did not join us via closed-circuit television (CCTV) as planned. Mr. Lehman, the unofficial leader of CORR and main presenter, said that they hadn’t worked out how Dr. Lucas could control his own slides. They were so far as to get it to where Dr. Lucas could hear and see the crowd and the crowd could see and hear him. Hopefully, Dr. Lucas will join us when the group meets again in two weeks.

As an important note, there is an overall plan for CORR to have many people, like Dr. David Menton and others like him, present to the group through this set up. Perhaps, this will provide an interesting future.

Now, a recap of the meeting:

The meeting was small. There were only 13 people at the meeting total, and the 2 who were new each left before the meeting was over.

CORR went with its back up plan, a Lehman presentation. He planned for more than what was done, but only ended up showing 2 videos. The first one was brief, only about 8 minutes. It was a journey through the universe, starting from Earth. It was well made, but it was presented as a an argument against “evolutionist” science at this meeting. However no argument was expressed in the part of the video shown. In the words of Zack, who accompanied Dr. Van Stipdonk, who did attend, the point of the video was, “The universe is big – wow.” The second video didn’t provide an argument that was any clearer. It was the Dr. David Menton video, “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.” In this video, which was shown for greater than 45 minutes, Dr. Menton focused on human reproduction.

All seemed well and good, except for Dr. Menton’s asides. For example, “Evolutionists can not explain amniotic fluid.” He said many things like this, including many statements like, “Evolutionists can not explain how this can happen by chance.”

A large focus of the video was made about the similarities between embryos of different organisms, including a misinterpretation of gill folds, and a misrepresentation of images found in many biology textbooks. Many resources were cited, but none more recent than 1963. Here it degraded into letting Dr. Spock speak as the sole authority on evolutionary biology. One of the quotes used is this, from Spock’s book Baby and Child Care (1946):

“Each child as he develops is retracing the whole history of mankind, physically and spiritually, step by step. A baby starts off in the womb as a single tiny cell, just the way the first living thing appeared in the ocean. Weeks later, as he lies in the amniotic fluid of the womb, he has gills like a fish…”

This Ernst Haeckel drawing (1874) was shown prevalently in the video, along with many others that can appear to have the same theme.

This is where a large portion of misrepresentation of textbook science was done in this video. Haeckel proposed a since discredited theory in 1866, called biogenetic law, which boils down to the idea that an organism’s evolutionary history repeats itself as it develops as an embryo. In very simple terms, birds evolved from reptiles that evolved from fish, so the embryo of a bird will transform from fish, to reptile, to, finally, a bird as it develops before birth.

The misrepresentation made by the video was that they used Spock’s quotes and drawings in textbooks like the one below to claim that Haeckel’s theory is accepted science today. It is not. Science is about progress and is composed of models, when Haeckel’s theory was falsified by observation of embryo development it no longer was accepted science.

Pictures like these do exist in current biology textbooks, and when these other pictures were shown in the Menton video another misrepresentation was delivered. These diagrams do not show the development of each organism left to right (as Menton showed), but the development of each organism is shown in its own column. These diagrams are not meant to support Haeckel’s theory. They are meant to show the similarities between embryos during the early stages of development and how they progress in different organisms.

Menton also said in the video that science says that in the womb, human babies use gills to breathe in amniotic fluid. This is also not accepted science. It is true that features in the neck of a human embryo are called gill folds, but simply because they resemble the gills of a fish, not that embryos use them to breathe in amniotic fluid.

After the video, one of the new people, a middle aged man who fell asleep twice during the video, left immediately when it was turned off. Mr. Lehman, apparently sensing the fatigue the video caused in those who remained, asked if he should present something else, and I said, “No.”

Then I said, “But I’m curious. Was a scientific argument presented in this video? It seems as though Menton just explained things and simply said, isn’t that amazing, too amazing for evolution to explain?”

Lehman said something about that he was making a point about the complexity being profound, and points were made in the video about the silly creationism/intelligent design mantra of “irreducible complexity.”

So then I said, “Well, he adds comments for things he thinks are weird or amazing and says evolutionists can’t explain this or that. And that evolutionists can’t explain how such a thing would happen by chance. Evolution does not claim things happen by chance, and nobody who understands evolution would claim otherwise. He shows complete ignorance about the theory of evolution by doing so. Why am I supposed to believe that he knows what he’s talking about evolution’s perspective on amniotic fluid when he doesn’t even understand the basics?”

He asked me to explain.

I said, “Well, random mutations are subject to physical forces, and since we focus on natural selection, the individual organism is then subject to the conditions of its local environments. It’s not chance, it’s the situation and many factors are involved.”

He didn’t get it. Dr. Van Stipdonk backed me up on this point. Then Dr. Van Stipdonk and I then kept making statements about the misrepresentations of the video and everyone would be best served by understanding the theory before criticizing it. Eventually Mr. Lehman appeared angry and suggested we stop the meeting, although the crowd kept talking to each other and Mr. Lehman continued participating as he packed to leave.

From there Dr. Van Stipdonk explained the situation with Haeckl as another misrepresentation of the video. I didn’t know anything about Haeckl at the time, but I backed him up about how those diagrams are meant to be read and what they’re aiming at, because I did know that.

From there the discussion went to this concept of perfect design. Dr. Van Stipdonk argued that many of the designs concerning the reproductive system mentioned were poor designs. Mr. Lehman said, “Well, shouldn’t evolution have made it perfect?” And in a chorus, Dr. Van Stipdonk and I said, “It just has to work well enough.”

Then the discussion got philosophical and theological which I do not participate in, I’m there simply for the science.
Not much progress was made at this meeting, because there wasn’t room for any.


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  1. Oh well, at least you’ve got your foot in the door. Good luck in the future.

  2. Hey!

    I really like this blog. I wish these meetings happened more so there were more entries. I wanted to know if any people from these meetings ever talk to you about your points after the meetings, or if anyone ever brings these meetings and their topics up outside of the meetings themselves?

    P.S. And by the way, as a side note to you, the website I’ve linked to is where the refugees of the IDF destruction have moved, if you would still like to participate =)

  3. I’m sorry the meeting didn’t go strictly as expected, but you did a good job anyway. I like how you guys pretty much took control of the meetings… don’t let the Idiots get too many words in, I say.

  4. For your help next time. I noticed this quote from Dr. Spock:
    Spock's book Baby and Child Care (1946):

    "Each child as he develops is retracing the whole history of mankind, physically and spiritually, step by step. A baby starts off in the womb as a single tiny cell, just the way the first living thing appeared in the ocean. Weeks later, as he lies in the amniotic fluid of the womb, he has gills like a fish…"

    This is "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny". It was never part of Darwin's theory of evolution. This was a hypothesis advanced by Ernst Haeckel. Darwin's idea was the similar species had similar embryology and that embryology contained remnants of evolutionary history. Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny is that the embryo goes thru the [B]adult[/B] forms of all its evolutionary ancestors. This was shown false even as Haeckel proposed it since embryos do not go thru the adult forms of evolutionary ancestors. The theory is so wrong that Haeckel had to fabricate his drawings of embryos. You can get some more info here Haeckel's drawings More Haeckel

    ""Evolutionists can not explain how this can happen by chance.""

    You did well in not letting Menton get away with this. As you pointed out: EVOLUTION IS NOT CHANCE. Natural selection is not chance. The "selection" part of natural seleciton is the opposite of chance; it is pure determinism.

    Next time, you might want to say: Variations are random with regard to the needs of the individual or the population. In a climate growing colder, just as many deer with shorter fur will be born as those with longer fur. But ONLY the deer with longer fur will survive the colder weather. That's not chance, it's design. Natural selection is an algorithm to get design. That is, follow the steps and design is guaranteed.

  5. I notice you are posting over at that Kansas Citizens for science site, which has become a front for religion hating bigots.

    If you want to argue for atheism, do it, but dont pretend it is about science education like those fruits do.

    Every body knows that site is made up of liars who smear any opposing arguments with innuedo, profanity and banning.

    Don’t ruin your reputation.

  6. Emanuel Goldstein,

    Science and atheism have nothing to do with each other, you appear to know that as well. I don't know who "every body" is, and I'm not familiar with the forum yet, but they appear to have the same interests as I do. I will keep my eyes and my mind open, however, as I always do. So, in any event, thank you for the warning.

    I want you to know that you should feel free to post any comments or opposing arguments here. I only ask 2 things. 1. I ask that the comments pertain to something in my blog. 2. if you wish to make an argument, I ask that it is a scientific argument, that scientific terms be used, and textbook science not misrepresented.

    As long as you respect that, you have my respect and you will always be free to post here. This is how science operates, and you always have the right to test science with science.

    Do we have a deal?

  7. My roomate Emmanuel and I are part of the oppositon.

    You have already noted how they are all about banning over at KCFS…they are not about science, but more about science as a means of attacking religion.

    I am glad to see that your concern is with science

  8. Atheist Fighter,

    I’d like to welcome you and your roommate to my blog. As long as you respect my simple requests you will always be free to post here. Note also, if you put a URL in your post, I have to approve it before it publishes (it’s a wordpress rule, not mine). I promise that I will at the first opportunity. I also promise that if you have posted something that does not fit my requests, I will certainly qualify why it does not.

    I haven’t seen how ban happy they are over at KCFS because I haven’t been there long enough to experience it myself.

    I am entirely about science. Any use of religion or science to attack each other is inappropriate, as each is entirely different. Ironically, Richard Dawkins, who makes it a point to note his atheism, is as responsible for this as David Menton.

    Can I ask a quick question? What exactly are you opposing?

    Welcome again, and thank you for coming.

  9. Silkworm, I might sound like an airhead with what I am about to say. Anyways, I can see how a person like myself who has low knowledge of natural science can end up believing false misrepresentations. For example, Dr Mentons comment of "Evolutionists cannot explain amniotic fluid." I think you can, right? Plus, to prove a point doesn't one need to back it up with the most current scientific articles, I mean that it what I have been taught and you have been taught. Much has changed in 30 plus years. I still think Dr Menton is a tool. That sounds harsh, but I mean this misrepresentation stuff is getting ridiculous. I can accept misrepresentation on one or two areas, but it seems every corr meeting as perfectly detailed play by play in your blogs and the one I went to in April, there are more than a few handful of misrepresentations and then are explained by, "It was a misinterpretation that you are misinterpreting." What? It makes me upset to the point I decided never to go to another corr meeting as long as I live b/c I feel the ID arugement is a waste of time and frankly does not have an effen point! However, I do believe in Christianity and that "Jesus Recoded" special on NBC this morning was quite good. Back on track, I have grown-up just fine having Darwin and Evolution taught to me b/c it is science and ID/creationism…. well it's not. I think it is frankly a belief and you can never prove a belief. Right? I really admire you to sticking it to them every two weeks and going around different places and sticking it there. Just keep it up the rest of your life. signed, N.Nista

  10. Dr. Menton saying "Evolutionists cannot explain amniotic fluid," is bizarre and incorrect. He said this as he commented about how the amniotic fluid keeps the umbilical cord from kinking, and claimed that evolution would not account for that. This is horribly wrong and insulting, especially coming from a PhD from Brown and anatomy teacher at the nation's #4 med school. A correct statement would be, "Science HAS NOT explained the evolution of amniotic fluid." I am not aware of an explanation for the evolution of this relationship, but an explanation is not outside the limits of science and the necessity for this relationship is based on very basic scientific principles.

    Science can explain the evolution of amniotic fluid and its relationship to the umbilical chord. It just has not yet, to my knowledge, and I'm also not aware of work being done to do so. Evolution would definitely account for it, because a kinked umbilical chord would likely result in miscarriage, so children who would develop under these circumstances would most likely not be born at the rate of those who didn't have to worry about kinked umbilical chords. That's a very basic principle with evolution, something must be born before it reproduces. So what Menton says can only be a product of design, must be a product of evolution.

    To show something scientifically you have to have scientific support for it. You can't just equivocate it, as Dr. Menton has. Evolution has overwhelming scientific support, and just because scientists have not yet explained the evolution of every single biological system does not mean it has been disproved – it just means it has not been done yet. The only way Menton could use this relationship to disprove evolution is to prove that it did not evolve, which he needs to find scientific support for, not to simply say "Wow" and misrepresent basic scientific principles.

    Neither creationism or ID is scientific because neither has any scientific support, and both consider the presence of a supernatural being, which can not be controlled for in scientific experimentation, or proven to exist by science – the existence of God is simply outside of its limits.
    What really bothers me about Menton is that he should know better, and I have no choice but to believe that he is intentionally misleading his audience. That's dishonest, and he's making other people, who don't know any different, mislead other people as well.

    NOTE: I mistakenly referred to amniotic fluid as embryonic fluid. All references have been corrected. 

  11. […] On the schedule are Ken Ham videos: Genesis, Key to Reclaiming the Culture, The Bible Explains Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs, Genesis and the Gospel Part 1 & Part 2, and Six Days. I've never seen any of those, but I expect them to be full of lies much like another video to be shown at the conference, Dr. David Menton's Fearfully and Wonderfully Made . I watched this video as it was presented at a CORR (Christians for Origins and Religious Research) meeting and I reviewed that meeting here. […]

  12. Trust me..your efforts in making this site didnot go in to vain!

  13. […] On the schedule are Ken Ham videos: Genesis, Key to Reclaiming the Culture, The Bible Explains Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs, Genesis and the Gospel Part 1 & Part 2, and Six Days. I’ve never seen any of those particular videos, but I expect them to be full of lies much like another video to be shown at the conference, Dr. David Menton’s Fearfully and Wonderfully Made . I watched this video as it was presented at a CORR (Christians for Origins and Religious Research) meeting and I reviewed that meeting here. […]

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