The Lower Quote, As If You Didn't Know, Is By Richard Dawkins, Son.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Rick Gerhardt - Floundering

Yes, I'm back for a second. Don't get used to it. This video just annoyed me on a day when I'm already in a bad mood and I couldn't find any good rebuttals on the internets. I had the time. Here we go.

Well, this was painful to watch. Check it out if you can get through it below:

This, if you didn't figure, is biologist and Christian apologist Rick Gerhardt trying his hardest to wiggle around evidence for evolution in the form of the absurd length and route of the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) in a giraffe. It's hard to watch, and remember that I just struggled through the season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead.

I don't like seeing "scientists" like Gerhardt do stuff like this. It's disheartening. The blathering nonsensical ramblings about a, "...problematic mixing of tenses..." is just dumb. It's as though he and an aviation technologist were watching a plane fly overhead and the tech says, "Isn't it cool to just watch it fly by like that?" and Gerhardt responding, "Well, 'cool' is normally reserved for temperature and it's a bit informal for our usage today, so planes can't fly." For fuck's sake.

His larger point is that the tense bit alludes to evolution making predictions, which he claims is not true. He doesn't seem to have known about the moth called <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/science/lost-worlds/2013/oct/02/moth-tongues-orchids-darwin-evolution">X. morganii praedicta</a> that Darwin himself made the prediction regarding the co-evolution of orchid and moth. Hm, odd. Actually, here is <a href="http://answersinscience.org/evo_science.html">an article</a> that outlines many of the predictions made by the Theory of Evolution. Check 'em out. They're pretty great.

Gerhardt then explains that evolutionary scientists don't make predictions, they "glom onto" things and then "ad hoc - after the fact", jam them into their theory to make it make sense. If he could hold up a mirror to his argument, he'd see the bible leering back at him with sketchy eyes and furrowed brow.

He says that it's disingenuous on Dawkins' part to claim predictive power that is not there. He nicely does not talk about the rest of the giraffe video where Dawkins and the others explain that, when you look at earlier ancestors like fish, you see the more direct path of the RLN from the brain (branching off the vagus nerve or cranial nerve X) and heading to the larynx. When you go to mammals who have more of a pronounced neck, the nerve retains its pathway around the heart vessels and back to the larynx in a somewhat elongated and unnecessary route. Once you get that to giraffes, the route becomes comically extended to the point of being just dumb. The way the nerve runs really only makes sense in the light of evolution via mutation and natural selection.

Gerhardt gets out his shovel and digs though, saying that, "...no matter how contrary the evidence proves to be, evolutionary theory has a way of morphing no not only explain away that contrary evidence, but to claim it as support of the evidence (sic)." He then gives no examples of extraordinary (or just banal) "contrary evidence".

He claims that the giraffe video is not a scientific argument, but that it is a philosophical or theological argument (coming from the guy who makes exclusively philosophical or theological arguments in this video). Again, he does not reference any of the anatomical points from the giraffe or the anatomist discussing it. He points out that Dawkins' expertise is in neither of those arenas - obviously, neither are Gerhardt's, but let's not talk about that. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/GodAwfulMovies/">Jingly keys</a>! (By the way, if you're not listening to God Awful Movies, you must begin immediately. It's fantastic and one of my weekly joys)

This next one is amazing. He says that the claim of evolution routing the nerve, "...kind of assumes a God-like understanding of the situation." Excuse me for a second....

There we go. Ok. Sorry, I had to do a shot of whisky there. Alrighty, where were we? Right, "god-like" understanding. Hilarious. He's explaining the mind of God to us and why God is correct, yet *WE* are the ones acting "god-like". Amazing.

He also made the "it's unfalsifiable" jingly noise when, as a biologist himself, he should know that just finding an animal that *should* have - as predicted by evolutionary theory - anatomy that follows the established norms but doesn't would throw a wrench into the evolution machine. As J.B.S. Haldane can be paraphrased, "finding a rabbit fossil in the Precambrian would fuck our shit up immensely."

His...I hesitate to call it an "argument"...about Dawkins saying that he sees no purpose for the extra length of the RLN and therefore that's a wrap, but maybe - juuuuussssst maaayyyyybbeeeeeee - God knows what's up with that thing and there iiiiiiissssss a plan and design there after all...man, I can't even. Is this an argument? Didn't he just say Dawkins was acting "god-like"? Here Gerhardt is simply saying that God might have a plan after all and we don't know it, so stop acting all know-it-all-ish and accept my Lord and Savior, will ya? Geez.

Next up is "dysteleology" or bad design. Gerhardt mentions that every time evolutionists make the bad design claim (like in the inverted retina of the eye), "further research has shown eloquent design." Really? I mean, "good" or "bad" design is subjective at best anyway, but you can say quite definitively that making a nerve go 14 feet out of its way seems like crap design. The inverted retina of the human/mammalian eye might be good or bad design, but the underlying point is that it seems fairly obviously to be constructed via a process of evolution, from previous materials and fumblings.

He actually uses the panda's thumb. As an example of design. Seriously. Take a quick look:

See how there's 8 bones in the human wrist and 8 bones in the panda's? Sure, they're differently shaped, but they're all there. Mutation would take care of the small changes and natural selection would take care of the "more food to the better adapted/more mates for the healthier/pass along mutation and enhance over many generations" bit. Not design, evolution. Get with the program.

Lastly (and thankfully), Gerhardt says Dawkins' argument that the RLN is crap design, therefore there is no design, is a non-sequitur. Just because it's bad design doesn't necessarily mean that *no* design was involved. He then talks about the Ford Pinto. You know, because the gas tank blew up and killed the car's occupants doesn't mean that the designers weren't there! The car was clearly designed, Richard!

So, to recap, God is there and is totally real but sometimes he just makes bullshit designs that are stupid. (Soooo...why do we listen to him with respect to morality and...SHUT UP! He's real! Lalalalalalalalalala!)

This entire video boils down to Jim Carrey in Liar Liar:


I can't do more than that. I'll be back in six months or when something else annoys me to the point of write or die.

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3 Barbaric Yawps:

At 2/11/16 1:49 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Always glad to see when you've posted, Mike's Annual Skeptic Rant. These guys trying to prove intelligent design are the worst, thanks for getting my blood boiling

 
At 24/11/16 8:33 am, Blogger Woody said...

We'll be waiting for your return, Mike, waiting with bated breath.

Best,
Woody

 
At 24/11/16 9:55 am, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

Thanks very much. You're great yourself!

 

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