Thank you for that link. It fills in more of that story. My first Creation/Evolution Newsletter from NCSE was the one that broke the "Bullfrog" story.
In the article, Schadewald couldn't quite follow Gish's chicken-lysozyme tap-dance and he bet that few in the audience could either but boy were they impressed! In my own research, I came across a possible source for a chicken lysozyme claim made by Gary Parker (I think Schadewald might have mentioned that Gish's claim sounded like one Parker had made, but memory is dimming after a couple decades). I could only find the 1987 edition of What Is Creation Science? instead of the 1982 edition that was cited -- that section was one that had been rewritten, since I couldn't find the exact wording of the quote, though what I did find still conveyed the same meaning. That led me to Dickerson and Geis' The Structure and Action of Proteins (1969), the misinterpretation/misrepresentation of which had formed the basis of Parker's claim.
Here is how I reported it on my own page about "The Bullfrog Affair" (which, along with the rest of my site, is down pending finding a new host):
quote:However, Gish insisted that the chicken-protein claim was correct and went into a convoluted apologetic about lysozyme and another protein that nobody could follow (but boy was the audience impressed by it!). Afterwards, Gish promised emphatically to send Schadewald written details about this claim, in front of creationist witnesses, no less. Despite three written reminders, Gish has never honored that promise.
The only ICR claim about lysozyme that Schadewald was familiar with had been Gary Parker's claim that chicken lysozyme is more similar to human lysozyme than is chimpanzee lysozyme. However, Awbrey and Thwaites have shown that this is not true, since human and chimpanzee lysozyme are identical and chicken lysozyme differs from both by 51 out of 130 amino acids. Their conclusion was that either Parker was totally ignorant of the facts or he thought that 51 is less than zero.
I personally suspect that Gish may have been repeating Parker's claim about alpha-lactalbumin, a protein involved in the production of lactose in mammals which apparently had evolved from lysozyme:
quote:By comparing lysozyme and lactalbumin, Dickerson was hoping to 'pin down with great precision' where human beings branched off the mammal line. The results are surprising. In this test, it turned out that humans are more closely related to the CHICKEN than to any living mammal tested! (What is Creation Science?, Morris & Parker, Revised, 1987, pg 58)
Here is what Dickerson had actually written:
quote:A simple-minded application of the 'clocks' ideas of Chapter 3 [i.e. assuming constant rates of change for proteins to estimate when they had diverged] to these lysozymes and alpha-lactalbumin leads to an apparent contradiction. If alpha-lactalbumin evolved from a mammalian lysozyme during the course of the development of mammals, then it and human lysozyme should be more similar than either is to hen lysozyme. Conversely, the assumption that rates of change have been constant in all three proteins since divergence leads to the conclusion that the alpha-lactalbumins separated from the lysozymes long before the first appearance of terrestrial vertebrates. Where is the fallacy?
The fallacy, of course, is in the assumption of unchanging rates of accumulation of tolerable mutations. For one particular protein, performing much the same task in a wide spectrum of species, this may be a valid working hypothesis. But when circumstances arise in the environment such that a duplicated gene is being altered, the better to perform a NEW function, selection pressure is unusually severe and changes in sequence will be unusually rapid. (The Structure and Action of Proteins, Richard Dickerson and Irving Geis, 1969, page 78)
So in comparing human alpha-lactalbumin and human lysozyme with chicken lysozyme, we can use Parker's reasoning to show that humans are more closely related to chickens than they are to humans! It's absurd little touches like this that makes creationism more fun than science!
Dickerson clearly indicates that this was a simple-minded application of an idea that was meant to apply only for a protein whose function remained constant. The assumption that the rates at which all three proteins changed would remain constant is unwarranted and inconsistent with the ideas of evolution. Ironically, "creation scientists" traditionally attack any assumption of a constant rate, except of course for their own assumptions.
Now thanks to your link, we have Gish's account and his ironic conclusion (my emphasis):
quote:In this case, then, the "protein clock" notion is deceptive, because the clock is running at different rates in these two different cases. In any case, evolutionists should spend more time straightening up their own house, instead of hurling accusations against creation scientists.
Which is exactly what Dickerson and Geis had clearly stated in the first place and which Parker and Henry Morris (the co-author of that book) had chosen to ignore and to keep their audience ignorant of. The "evolutionist" house is indeed straightened up and is constantly being maintained. It's still the creationists who live in an un-Godly mess and campaign to do the housekeeping for the rest of us.
A lie requires knowledge (of the fact that you are uttering a falsehoods) and intent (to deceive).
Quite true. But that would only excuse the falsehood's utterer of lying. The effects of telling that falsehood will still be the same.
Does Christian doctrine condone sinful conduct if the sinner is unaware that it's wrong? Seems to me that the answer is "no" (what with all those sinful newborn babies), but we would need to hear from someone more knowledgeable in the matter.
I agree and had read it within a year or two after it's release, so I also immediately read NMSR's own exposing and explanation of it. It was meant as an experiment to see how readily creationists would accept and use it and they were pleasantly surprised at the creationists' caution: although creationists were thrilled by the claim, they didn't want to accept it until it had been verified. The only notable exception was Kent Hovind who heard about it just before he was to give a presentation at a church (in Philadelphia, I seem to recall) and he immediately incorporated it into his presentation. The next day he learned that it was a hoax and he reportedly stopped using it, but there was no indication that his previous evening's audience were ever informed.
My own interpretation of the creationists' caution is that in general rank-and-file creationists do basically care about the truth and actually believe that they are serving truth. Rather, it's the creationist "leaders" and writers, such as Hovind, the ICR, etc, as well as over-zealous low-ranking wanna-be's, who create the creationist hoaxes which the rank-and-file then accept uncritically as "the truth" and then proceed to spread unwittingly. The rank-and-file accept the nonsense they're being fed for a handful of reasons, but mainly because they're scientificially illiterate (like most in the general population) and so don't know any better, that nonsense seems to support their religious beliefs, and the creationists feeding them that nonsense are seen by them as religious leaders who therefore must be believed. And the rank-and-file (plus creationists on all levels) have a vested interest to avoid examining their claims critically and to avoid researching to discover the actual truth, because they've been trained to believe that if their claims are wrong and evolution and old-earth are right, then God doesn't exist.
Their cautious approach to this new and exciting discovery could be in part due to their continual conditioning by their creationist leaders to distrust any source but a creationist source. Another reason could be that those were experienced creationists. I've long maintained that honest creationists who start out espousing "creation science" claims (which are by definition YEC) do not last long in open creation/evolution discussions. If they don't actually drop creationism and accept evolution (I've seen several such cases) or at least greatly modify their creationist stance into something far more defensible, then they will most likely suddenly find something very urgent to attend to and disengage as quickly as possible. With experience, the smarter creationists learn to avoid using certain claims. I would suspect that the creationists the NMSR discussed this with had been burned before by such claims and so were understandably cautious about picking up this new claim until it could be checked out.
quote:We were not able to find the foot bones of the hominid, and the Americans started calling it "Onyate Man" after some local politician.
I had found the original hoax page and NMSR's explanation while Google'ing for information on the statue of Don Juan de Oñate Salazar, "The Last Conquistador" and colonial governor of New Mexico from 1598 to 1606, when he resigned his post to face charges of cruelty to Indians and colonists alike. The most infamous incident being (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_de_O%C3%B1ate):
quote:In October of 1598, a skirmish erupted when Oñate's occupying Spanish military demanded supplies from the Acoma tribe—demanding things essential to the Acoma surviving the winter. The Acoma resisted and 13 Spaniards were killed, amongst them Don Juan Oñate’s nephew. In 1599, Oñate retaliated; his soldiers killed 800 villagers. They enslaved the remaining 500 women and children, and by Don Juan’s decree, they amputated the left foot of every Acoma man over the age of twenty-five. Eighty men had their left foot amputated. Other commentators put the figure of those mutilated at 24.
That mass mutilation is an on-going controversy that was especially hot in NM shortly before the hoax and that controversy is how I had heard of it and which had motivated my Google search:
quote:In the Oñate Monument Visitors Center northeast of Española is a 1991 bronze statue dedicated to the man. In 1998 New Mexico celebrated the 400th anniversary of his arrival. That same year individuals opposed to the statue or what it was perceived to represent, cut off the statue's right foot and left a note saying, "Fair is fair." The sculptor, Reynaldo Rivera, recast the foot but the seam is still visible. Some commentators suggested leaving the statue maimed as a symbolic reminder of the foot-mutilating incident.
I think with "Heinschvagel" they were trying to go for "horn-swaggle" -- at least that's what I remember from their explanation page. For one thing, that "German" name is very un-German in its spelling: should have ended with "-schwagel". I couldn't find any meaning for a syllable, "Hein-".
And I've always understood "pendejo" to be stronger, like the English misnomer, "asshole" (formed, I believe, from confusing meanings of "ass", causing it to shift from a donkey to an anatomical feature).
At any rate, their use of an obscenity for a name, regardless of how strong or weak, was one of the clues they had dropped to raise suspicions, which it apparently didn't do.
A major problem is with textbooks. In the mid 1980's, Bill Bennetta (The Textbook League, http://www.textbookleague.org/) became involved in textbook selection. As reported in the NCSE's Creation/Evolution Newsletter of the time, the California State Board of Education was considering textbooks for the state's biology classes. Bennetta was able to get a group of scientists involved in that review process. They found that every single textbook being considered was full of inaccuracies and false information.
Think about it, now. Textbooks are published by textbook publishers. The textbooks themselves are written by professional textbook writers, not by scientists. Furthermore, in that long period from the triumph of the anti-evolution forces in the 1920's, when the major "monkey laws" were passed, to Sputnik (circa 1959) when we suddenly found ourselves in a "science gap" (please view "Doctor Strangelove" for some of that era's mentality) and were suddenly trying to catch up in science education, the anti-evolution forces were continually applying pressure on textbook publishers, much as creationists continue to try to do.
Here's how that issue "resolved itself" in mid-80's California: the board of scientists made their recommendations of corrections to the least erroneous textbooks, the publishers made a few token corrections, and the State Board approved the textbooks behind the backs of the scientists.
There are two separate questions here: What did Haeckel do? And what does actual study of embryos indicate? The fraudulent things that Haeckel did are indeed fraudulent. But at the same time, what does the actual study of actual embryos show?
As has already been noted, fraud involves the intent to deceive. And while fraud has been known to exist in both science and "creation science", the two endeavors' goals and methods react differently with very different outcomes.
The goal of science is to discover and learn and figure out all we can about the universe. Since that is too much for any one scientist to do, scientists doing their own research rely on the research done by other scientists. Because your research depends on everybody else's, you want to assured that their research was done properly. As a result, other scientists' research is tested and verified; indeed, science students' laboratory assignments frequently consist of reproducing experiments. When news of "cold fusion" was first announced, physists around the world were waiting late into the night for compatriots to FAX the paper to them the instant it was released so that they could verify its results. And it failed, so cold fusion is no more except in Hollywood movies (eg, "The Saint").
In such an environment and with such prevailing attitudes and practices, scientific fraud cannot survive for long as it is actively being sought out.
In "creation science", the goal is to convince. They want to convince the courts that they are actually science so that they can be admitted into the public schools. They want to convince themselves and fellow creationists that their ideas are true and that science is wrong; their attacks on science will even target topics that have absolutely nothing to do with creationist claims, such as ozone layer depletion. And they want to be able to convince non-creationists and non-Christians to convert.
In that environment, the only valuable property of a claim is that it sounds convincing. It doesn't even matter whether it is true, just that it sounds convincing. It doesn't matter that it has been soundly refuted a thousand times; if it sounds very convincing then it will continue to be used -- eg the "leap second" claim. Only if a convincing-sounding claim gains too much bad publicity for being false (eg, ICR's moondust claim) will creationists withdraw it -- well some of them will --, but then after enough time has passed they brush the dust off of it and start using it yet again (or, as in the case of the ICR's moondust claim, continue to present it in books that are not updated and in footnotes).
In that environment, fraud not only survives, but it actually thrives as it is rewarded by the system.
When AiG published that list, they immediately got an angry response from Kent Hovind, since that list included claims that he liked to use. As I recall (that was circa 2002), Sarfati responded with the position I have consistently held on-line since the late 1980's, that the false claims used by creationists do real damage, most of all to the faith of their followers as they discover that they've been basing their faith on falsehoods. Of course, the irony was lost on Sarfati that his own site also contributes to circulating those false claims that he was warning against.
I can no longer find that response on their site, but I save parts of it, which I'll post here later.
quote:As said in the original Don’t Use page, the harm is in using something which is not true, because the cause of the one who is ‘the truth’ cannot be helped thereby. And your own recent experience reinforces something else we said—that using discredited arguments can backfire on the user. So our aim was to help Christians to avoid arguments that are likely to backfire, and return their focus to the Word of God not ‘evidence’.
But more and more over the last few years, we have noticed tens of thousands of Christians excitedly using arguments over the Web, for instance, that are a plain embarrassment to those with scientific training. It was like watching your brother enter the ring thinking he had a killer punch, and watching him get cut to ribbons. Further, and most importantly, it had escalated to the point where it was a hindrance to soul winning, since it gave the hearers a ‘legitimate’ excuse to reject Christ. And all we did at that point was to publish an ‘advice’ article. The only time it became relevant to a specific creationist was when Kent [Hovind] himself decided to align himself publicly with a justification of false arguments. If it had been one or two minor points of disagreement, OK, but when it reinforces some of the most blatant fallacies, and even defends fraud, at what point does one NOT face one's responsibilities to the innocents being ‘slaughtered’ in the belief that they are getting sound ammunition?
... , we actually do know people who say they almost gave the faith away when they found out that a particular argument was fallacious, and who say that finding Christians with the integrity to avoid falsehood, no matter what the cost, helped restore it. Also, in the last day or so, a leading atheistic anti-creationist organization said that while they disagreed with almost everything we stand for, they said we were ‘admirable’ and ‘showed integrity’ in trying to persuade other creationists not to use bad arguments. Who knows what sort of witness this could be? We know of many people, outside and inside of the church, who will no longer even look at or consider the authority of the Bible in Genesis, in its history, cosmology, etc. because of bad experiences with blatant pseudo-arguments applied by enthusiasts who had been fed creationist non-arguments.
Of course, when I try to tell creationists the exact same thing, I am reviled for it with extreme visciousness and accused of hating God, attacking Christianity, and damned to Hell, etc, etc, etc. All for trying to warn them that they're shooting themselves in the foot.
Though in re-reading that, I noticed this: "So our aim was to help Christians to avoid arguments that are likely to backfire ... " Uh, what about seeking the truth? What about defending the truth? Apparently to them, the truth takes a back seat to effective proselytizing, or is given absolutely no consideration. So what else is new?