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The Talk.Origins Archive is a collection of articles and essays, most of which have appeared in talk.origins at one time or another. The primary reason for this archive's existence is to provide mainstream scientific responses to the many frequently asked questions (FAQs) that appear in the talk.origins newsgroup and the frequently rebutted assertions of those advocating intelligent design or other creationist pseudosciences.
Updated: 17 min 15 sec ago
Added October 31, 2006:A discussion of the main models on the spontaneous origin of life that aims to show how cellular complexity could have gradually emerged from simple systems - in contrast to the sudden appearance of complexity that creationists claim to have been necessary at the beginning of life. Central issues like the composition of the early atmosphere of the Earth and the origin of the homochirality of amino acids and sugars are reviewed as well.
Added October 19, 2006:
Added October 9, 2006: The newest addition to the Quote Mine Project shows how Casey Luskin of Discovery Institute misrepresents what Gould and others wrote in a brief for Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals.
Updated October 9, 2006: Honors won by the TalkOrigins Archive.
Added September 28, 2006: The Discovery Institute selectively quotes Judge Jones' decision in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District in aid of its "bait and switch" claim of scientific evidence in support of intelligent design.
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Updated September 16, 2006: In evolutionary biology today macroevolution is used to refer to any evolutionary change at or above the level of species. It means the splitting of a species into two or the change of a species over time into another. This FAQ has been expanded, updated, illustrated, and rewritten.
Added August 20, 2006: A 1977 decision of an Indiana superior court ruling against a textbook produced by the Creation Research Society. In some respects this case resembles a young-earth creationist version of the 2005 Kitzmiller case. Introductory material, links, as well as the full text of the judge's memorandum opinion are provided.
Young-Earth Creationist Helium Diffusion "Dates": Fallacies Based on Bad Assumptions and Questionable Data
Updated July 25, 2006: Young-Earth creationists consider the helium diffusion studies of D. Russell Humphreys and others to be one of their greatest achievements in arguing for a 6,000 year old Earth. A geologist shows that these studies are extensively flawed and include: serious miscalculations in their data, sampling the wrong rock type, failing to eliminate possible contamination, using equations that are based on invalid assumptions and relying on questionable data. Appendices C and D have been added in response to Dr. Humphreys' most recent statements in his January 2006 "Trueorigins" essay.
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This article covers the evidence which leads cosmologists to believe the Big Bang happened, deals with common objections to the theory, and discusses alternative models and questions that still remain to be answered.
Added January 24, 2006:
Added January 10, 2006: A classic and often-referenced 1984 paper by G. Brent Dalrymple. The paper contains short but accurate expositions of radiometric dating methods and discussions of creationist criticisms and attempts to date the Earth as young. It includes material difficult to find elsewhere, such as the discussion of mixing isochrons and the effect of neutron-capture reactions. Dr. Dalrymple is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a winner of the National Medal of Science, a former president of the American Geophysical Union, and the author of The Age of the Earth
Antievolutionists Say the Darndest Things
Antievolutionists often express outrage over alleged incivility from those who oppose their efforts to evade the establishment clause of the First Amendment. But they have no difficulty in dishing out the abuse themselves. Here is a sample from the Invidious Comparisons thread that documents egregious behavior on the part of the religious antievolution advocates.
One thing that Jack Krebs and I agree with is that Pratt can be likened to an outpost under siege in a cultural war.
My wife and I just returned from a trip to Belgium. We visited Bastogne where a few brave Americans of the 101st Airborne Division were surrounded by the German Army during the battle of the bulge. The German attack was led by a crack SS unit that took no prisoners.
What were we fighting against in Bastogne? We were fighting against a Nazi regime that used the philosophy of Naturalism to justify a eugenics program of terrifying proportions. Naturalism is the belief that all phenomena result only from the laws of chemistry and physics and that teleological or design explanations are not valid. Naturalism is not science. It is a belief system.
In the same manner, the defenders in Pratt are fighting against Naturalism, although they may not realize it. Rather than fighting against science, they are actually fighting for science. They are fighting for science that is driven by logic and critical thinking rather than by a philosophy that teaches to the exclusion of all other teachings that we are the products of only chance and necessity. They are fighting for science that is driven by the scientific method rather than science that is driven by a philosophy of Naturalism.
Rather than using logic and good science to support its assault on the brave contingent in Pratt, the KCFS is using tactics one would expect from those that besieged Bastogne: scare tactics, misinformation and no substantive discussion of the real issues.
So, we are back looking at Pratt as the bombs fall. The question is whether the Board and the Community will be supported by the rest of us as they have had the guts that General McAullife and the other brave Americans had that cold winter day in Bastogne 54 years ago. McAullife's reply was very simple when asked to surrender: "Nuts!" McAullife and the 101st were subsequently relieved by elements of Patton's Third Army. In the same way we all need to rise up and put our hands together for the Pratt Board and Pratt Citizens that have just characterized the outrageous censorship by the science establishment as "Nuts!"