Talk:Expelled: Leader's Guide

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Its front-page abstract can be found here and its editnotice here.
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[edit] cover story

Please do not archive this section

I think this is very close to deserving rotation as a cover story. Reserving nomination until after one more round of everyone editing it. humanUser talk:Human 19:39, 27 March 2008 (EDT)

Sounds like a good idea to me! (And I'm not saying this just because it contains some of my intemperate raving. :) --Gulik 03:07, 28 March 2008 (EDT)
Thirded. I think that for the next couple of months, or for however long the movie remains "relevant", it would be worth having a permanent link on the front page to this.--Bayesyikes 10:57, 28 March 2008 (EDT)
Yes, it seems a natural. In fact, when everybody has finished snarking it up, is there any way we could whore it round the internet?--Bobbing up 11:04, 28 March 2008 (EDT)
A superb article, well done to those who've built it. But it's such an obvious one for us, I think we need to make it solid, bulletproof, the best thing on the topic on the net, period. It still seems a little weak and ad-hom'y in places. It's 98% brilliant though, and that's quantifiable FACT. DogP 12:23, 28 March 2008 (EDT)

<undent>Re: Bayes - better idea. One day we can just "cover story" it, but for the interim, it should be a permanent front page link in the top left box. IMO. humanUser talk:Human 12:26, 28 March 2008 (EDT)

I think this has now reached Cover Story quality, so I say Yes. DogP 21:17, 2 April 2008 (EDT)

How do you feel about my idea, DP? To hold off on mixing it in with the others and literally feature a hard link to it on the main page for a bit? Apart from that idea, I agree. It is teh awesome. humanUser talk:Human 21:41, 2 April 2008 (EDT)
Oh absolutely, I say sock it right up there in plain view, full-time, for a while. It's turned out great, and the movie publicity machine will no doubt start cranking up soon. Or not. DogP 21:51, 2 April 2008 (EDT)
Cool. Tomorrow let's experiment with where to put the link and how to word it (gittin' tired ;)). Let's pull the cover nominee thing for this phase - as you say, the movie is in its "big publicity phase", and that's the time frame I think we should keep it there. Do you think we ought to ask permission for this at talk main? humanUser talk:Human 22:32, 2 April 2008 (EDT)

I'm going to post at talk main about what I think we should do. humanUser talk:Human 21:10, 3 April 2008 (EDT)

[edit] pikchures

Some photos would be a nice touch. CЯacke® 18:17, 6 April 2008 (EDT)

[edit] "Permanent" non-random front page thing expiration date

Anyone have any good ideas about how we will figure out when to put this in normal "random rotation"? IE, when will no one really give a rat's ass about Expelled anymore? humanUser talk:Human 17:14, 27 April 2008 (EDT)

Do we still want this set up as a permanent front page entry or is it time to just "cover story" it? Has the froofraw died down yet? Should we analyze the article's traffic (ask Trent?) and see how many people come from elsewhere and how many click through from the main page? humanUser talk:Human 14:18, 7 May 2008 (EDT)
Yeah--it's time, methinks. It's a beautiful page, and definite cover story material, but is becoming less timely.... Sterilexx 14:27, 7 May 2008 (EDT)
Uhuh, yep, move along folks, nothing to see here. It can be retired to regular Cover Story rotation, I believe. DogP 14:43, 7 May 2008 (EDT)
Aye, its down to 662 theaters and $100 a screen half of what it was at release. Yoko Ono's lawsuit means they can not up the screen even if they could find someone that wants it. The movie lasted less than a month, ouch. tmtoulouse beleaguer 14:50, 7 May 2008 (EDT)
OK, thanks for chiming in. I'll do both steps now. humanUser talk:Human 14:53, 7 May 2008 (EDT)

[edit] Weird off topic

"Talkpage" is acting up - where it says "new" there is a good link to Archive1 that Elassint created, that should be at "1", and "new" should link to editing Archive2. Anyone know whazzamatta? — Unsigned, by: Human / talk / contribs

Dunno. -- Elassint Hi! ^_^ 23:04, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
After some quick poking around, my guess is that talkpage is confused by the "extra" colon after Expelled. I think it's trying to find a namespace that isn't there, so it doesn't know that an archive page exists. Or something like that. I don't really know. I've never messed around with anything that complicated in whatever language the templates use though (is it MediaWiki specific?), so I don't think I'm the one to fix it.--Bayesyikes 23:53, 9 April 2008 (EDT)
Good thought. I'll try to hack around that sometime (rename the archive path to drop the colon, if that succeeds it will be transparent to deal with in the future). humanUser talk:Human 14:48, 10 April 2008 (EDT)
It didn't foob template:archivelinks so I just switched to that for now. humanUser talk:Human 15:02, 10 April 2008 (EDT)

[edit] "Survival of the fittest"

In the third paragraph of the Leader's Guide under The Theory of Darwinian Evolution, it might be worthwhile, toward the end of distancing the theory they seem to be talking about from Darwin himself, to mention that Darwin himself never used the term "survival of the fittest." Just a thought.

Bare 19:58, 10 April 2008 (EDT)

Did that come from Descent of Man? Or is it just a common language adaptation of the ideas of natural selection? humanUser talk:Human 21:06, 10 April 2008 (EDT)
The term is not used in the first edition of Origin of the Species published in 1859 (I have a facsimile at home), but appears to have been introduced in the 1872 edition. Rational Edfaith 21:39, 10 April 2008 (EDT) This link associates the term with the 6th edition.

Survival of the fittest did not originate with Darwin, but he later wrote about the subject. Google the phrase "survival of the fittest" and you'll hit the jack pot. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

No! Well I didn't know that! Albert 23:13, 13 May 2008 (EDT)

[edit] You got Digg'd

Hey I found your article thru a link on Digg - man, this is good stuff! Congratulations on a fine article. I didn't know if you knew you got Digg'd as I see no ref to it here, so I thought I'd let you know. Bye, and best of luck with it. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

I, for one, didn't know. Cheers. Also, yay! :D --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 13:47, 13 April 2008 (EDT)
Cool! Thanks, bunchanumbers - why don't you sign up and join the bun fight? DogP 13:52, 13 April 2008 (EDT)
That damn Digg link didn't attract much action, did it - it seems it has gathered a paltry 10 clicks. Send your families, friends and walruses there to click on it! Maybe the Expelled 'furor' has died down.... DogP 16:30, 27 April 2008 (EDT)

[edit] Other links

Here's another argument against Stein, video this time. DogP 13:38, 16 April 2008 (EDT)

Put it at the movie article EL section with a brief description? humanUser talk:Human 13:53, 16 April 2008 (EDT)
Done. DogP 14:02, 16 April 2008 (EDT)

[edit] Good news everyone!

I just talked with a PR guy for a couple liberal organizations, incl. the NCSE, and I gave him this link.-αmεσ (historian) 17:58, 16 April 2008 (EDT)

D-Day? the Ides of April? Should we send People Very Important E-mails? Should we send someone out for drinks because company is coming?PFoster 18:00, 16 April 2008 (EDT)
Yeah, I'm worried I'll sound like Kenny boy by boosting this, but could be good for the site.-αmεσ (historian) 18:03, 16 April 2008 (EDT)
Old school it was called "selling-out". High time, too I think. Do original cabal members get a %age?CЯacke® 18:25, 16 April 2008 (EDT)
I haven't sent anyone an important e-mail in some time Sterilexx 13:35, 23 April 2008 (EDT)
I got an important email once, but I deleted it. DogP 16:28, 27 April 2008 (EDT)

[edit] Scientific method

While observation comes first in science, hypothesis may come before or after "rigorous testing". Rational Edevidence

Yes - usually "before", since it is the hypothesis that is being tested. However, pre-hypothesis, there may be another form of "rigorous" - rigorous observations to accompany the more casual ones to make sure there is a phenomena to hypothesize about in the first place. (Example: "I observe all USAians are male" - better increase my sample size to greater than two before worrying about a hypothesis though) humanUser talk:Human 12:53, 23 April 2008 (EDT)

[edit] Information

i think it's worthwhile to point out how the term "information" is mis-used. The ID view is that the information comes first and is then stored in the DNA specifically created to store that information. Whereas in biological systems the DNA comes first, and if a mutation of a particular combination of base pairs results in a useful protein, only then can it be considered to contain "information"; if no protein can be generated, then there is no information contained.

The best spot to insert this may be under the heading Molecular Genetics (subheading The Living Cell). Ginckgo 02:34, 13 May 2008 (EDT)

I tried to edit in those ideas but I could not find a place where it would fit naturally. Feel free to do it yourself if you want however. - Icewedge 20:33, 13 May 2008 (EDT)

[edit] Wikipedia links here

By the way: Wikipedia's Expelled article links to this article -- 16:26, 15 May 2008 (EDT)

Cool! And that EL ought to survive, even in wikipedia-world. humanUser talk:Human 16:32, 15 May 2008 (EDT)
It didn't last a year. Removed by a Godbotherer. I am eating Toast& honeychat 15:34, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
By a Godbotherer who has (partially) quit Wikipedia because it was stopping him bothering God by the looks of it... Scarlet A.pngd hominem 15:43, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

[edit] Odds of the existence of a cell argument

Under the "The Living Cell" section, the "Leader's Guide" argues that cells must have been designed because the odds of them coming into existence randomly are near zero. Ignoring that "coming into existence randomly" is a gross oversimplification of what really happened (as is their wording), haven't we already refuted this class of argument with the Paulos quote? Saying that something was extremely unlikely to happen is not an argument for or against anything after the event has already happened. All we need is that the chance of the event is not zero (and they concede that it is not), and previous probability has no bearing on what has already happened. Why don't we mention the Paulos quote about the bridge hand here? OneForLogic 15:08, 8 July 2008 (EDT)

Ok, and the next one, Frederick Hoyle's argument: isn't this basically the same, a prior-probability argument? And how contrary to the style of RationalWiki would it be to just call the whole blind-people-solving-a-Rubik's-cube argument stupid, which it is? That seems like it would fit with most of the stuff you guys write. OneForLogic 15:12, 8 July 2008 (EDT)

[edit] Quote Mining

It seems to me it would be useful to put Dennett's Quote (as provided by the Guide) in context because it does sound quite damning on its own. If I can find the quote in context, I'll provide it. But perhaps someone else already has it?--WaitingforGodot 15:26, 8 July 2008 (EDT)

[edit] "Testable theory"

In the commentary accompanying the fourth paragraph of the "Leader's Guide," the author suggests that ID proponents come up with a "testable theory." Strictly speaking, theories are untestable -- they generate hypotheses which can be tested. Theories can be falsified, but not directly tested. In the spirit of the piece, this isn't a major quibble, but I think it's worth noting nonetheless.--Gonzoid 00:02, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

[edit] On Mr Flew's comments

I really enjoy all the responses to the Expelled article, but I really don't think that this particular response does anything in regard to answering the Expelled article. The article says that he believes that DNA points to ID, and therefore he is a theist, and the response is that he definitely isn't Christian? That doesn't really help the Evolution argument or heard the ID one either, it's just purposefully ignoring the point, and I don't think this article needs to drop to that level. Just my opinion, will keep reading now :).

[edit] "Most americans believe"

Introductions includes line "Despite the fact that most Americans believe that God created life, the only “origin of life” theory taught in the majority of American schools is Neo-Darwinism"

It should be mentioned that despite fact most Americans believe God created life, only 45 % (not most!) - don't believe evolution. It makes difference, anti-evolutionists don't make up the biggest part of American society.

Unfortunately, data on this sort of thing that we could reference is really difficult to interpret and reliable data is hard to come by. It's something that's extremely suseptible to the wording used in the questions. Take "I believe in evolution: YES/NO" or "There are problems with the Theory of Evolution: YES/NO" or "I believe that random chance caused us to be here: YES/NO", it's an absolute minefield of bias so there's no wonder that they all conflict with each other. And in the US in particularly, there's a fairly sizable geographical correllation for YEC beliefs so any survey done would need to be very wide and have to take this into consideration. In short, I don't think anyone truely knows what the figure for "belief" in evolution is so we can't say either way on that point with any conviction. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 16:13, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

I wish to address the phrase: Also, note the completely false assertion of "incredible support" for their ideas. This is not a completely false assertion, it is a true assertion. The support for their ideas is not credible. They have incredible support. 06:39, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

[edit] Behe and ad hom

Regarding: Behe, of course, is a vehement wedge strategist, and has built a small side-career to his professorship publishing books aimed at the popular market full of lies and misdirection about evolution and so-called intelligent design. This appears to be ad hominem. Behe may in fact be all of those things, but you still haven't refuted what he just said. 06:54, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

He is, and we haven't? Where or where not? Keep in mind we have other articles addressing his tripe directly, which cover our ass on what a liar and loser he is. ħumanUser talk:Human 06:59, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
My apologies. Here's the full paragraph.
Expelled says: Dr. Michael Behe (Professor of Biochemistry, Lehigh University) says, “Molecular evolution is not based on scientific authority. There is no publication in the scientific literature—in prestigious journals, specialty journals, or books—that describes how molecular evolution of any real, complex, biochemical system either did occur or even might have occurred.”
RationalWiki's response: Behe, of course, is a vehement wedge strategist, and has built a small side-career to his professorship publishing books aimed at the popular market full of lies and misdirection about evolution and so-called intelligent design.
This appears to me to be ad hominem. I don't actually care if it happens to be true, it lowers the value of our argument to make such a statement here. This is more appropriately placed on a special page about him. Here we should instead demonstrate that molecular evolution is based on scientific authority, and reference a publication of scientific literature which describes how complex biomechanical systems might occur. Then the reader won't have to take our word based on faith that Behe is an idiot or that by virtue of him being an idiot his argument must be wrong. His argument is wrong for being wrong, not because he is an idiot. 15:12, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
Still not ad hom as such... add the evidence after this, but this really is a pretty good summary of why no one should ever listen to Behe. WazzaHello? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me... 15:20, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

[edit] Side-by-side

Does this need converting into the new format? - π 12:02, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

DPL 1.7.4 can't properly include tables, that's why I've unapproved Behe:The Edge of Evolution, Interview. This one doesn't break as spectacularly as that did, but It'd be nice to convert it to wikitables anyway. I'm upgrading DPL to 1.7.8, a slightly newer version that fixes the bug with table inclusion, but doesn't have the parser problems introduced in the rewrite after that Nx (talk) 12:08, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

[edit] Ken: get jealous

We're #1 on Google (UK) for the title Expelled leader's Guide with and without quotes. just sayin'. I am eating Toast& honeychat 13:55, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

[edit] Charles Townes quote

I did a bit of research on this guy, since the quote seemed off to me. It seems to be genuine, but I think their use of it is disingenuous: he's discussing the universe as a whole, and his idea of "ID" has nothing to do with life on Earth. Should this be added to the appropriate section? Wehpudicabok 02:40, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

Yes, especially if you can provide better context and write it well ;) ħumanUser talk:Human 03:19, 18 October 2009 (UTC)

[edit] Criticism on Peter Singer

You say that Peter Singer's ethics aren't based on darwinism. Look at the quote from singer right next to that, where he says "we're only just catching up to Darwin." You actually don't answer that.

Furthermore, you don't answer the question, "If we are only evolved animals, why should I have to act a particular way towards other people?" The movie made clear that darwinism is a necessary, not sufficient condition for the holocaust. You act as though the movie said, "all darwinists are nazis." The whole problem is, if Hitler puts this twisted darwinism into use, the darwinist has no way to say that it is wrong, because Hitler can just say, "says who?"

And finally, all your insulting words are just the ad hominem fallacy at work. --Idiot number 59 (talk) 06:10, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Thank you for your input. ħumanUser talk:Human 06:25, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
This time I was serious. You must answer my questions and not pretend that there aren't any problems with the article just because it was idiot # 59 who pointed these problems out. --Idiot number 59 (talk) 07:07, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
Um, no, this is a pretty good article. I'm happy with the way it stands. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:56, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
I suppose you are. But I pointed out that a) You don't answer Singer's quote "we're only just catching up to Darwin." b) You misrepresent the movie (as though the movie said, "all darwinists are nazis.") c) If we are only evolved animals, why should I have to act a particular way towards other people? The article doesn't answer that d) If Hitler puts this twisted darwinism into use, you have no way to say that it is wrong, because Hitler can just say, "says who?". The article does not offer any solution. e) All your insulting words are just the ad hominem fallacy at work. --Idiot number 59 (talk) 08:36, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

[edit] Missing space in title

The title is "Expelled:Leader's Guide" without a space after the colon. Was this intended to be a namespace? If not, maybe it's worth moving the article to "Expelled: Leader's Guide" (with the space)? --Tweenk (talk) 07:25, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Yes, that's a mistake. Let me fix that for you.. DogP (talk) 18:19, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

[edit] I don't agree with the programmer argument

First of all a disclaimer. This is my first post here and it would be reasonable to assume I haven't a clue. Feel free/encouraged to point out this is this should of been posted at the bottom/on a different page/in a different topic/not at all. I thought the programmer argument in Expelled:_Leader's_Guide#The_Living_Cell was weak.

"We also observe that any computer programmer that hasn't already been fired liberally salts their code with comments explaining what the various subroutines do and what the variables are for.
One challenge to ID has always been: Show me the comments in the DNA before you claim someone (or thing) wrote it. "

Unfortunately at work a lot of our code base lacks good comments. It's just not true that people who don't comment get canned though I kind of wish it was. people are busy and the main purpose of comments is to explain to OTHER people whats going on. It's possible that god doesn't want people tampering with his supper optimized code, or wasn't thinking of others when he wrote it. Another problem with this argument is that comments are removed when the code is compiled from source. for those who don't know there are two different kinds of code, source code which is human or at least programmer readable(more readable anyway) and compiled code which is computer runnable. So it's possible that the source code or documentation exists but is written elsewhere. or that the so called junk DNA contains the comments but its in some kind of god language or something. I think I may have read that at least some of the junk dna had a function somewhere, but I forget. Finally its possible that god thought it was obvious what it did. For the time being I'm removing the sentences that I disagree with but feel free to put them back and slap me down/revert me explaining this isn't how we do things and/or I'm wrong.

NonPerson (talk) 14:55, 17 May 2014 (UTC)

It looks like your edit has survived long enough to stand a chance of staying. FWIW, I agree that "show me the comments!" is weak to the point of irrelevance. God, being omniscient and unique (by his own commandment) doesn't face the problem of "WTF was I thinking when I wrote that!?!??" I don't know enough about genetics to say anything substantial about "junk" DNA, but I can still wave my hands at how new facets of the way the code interacts epigenetically with the environment are still being discovered. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 01:30, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

[edit] The junk DNA argument is perilous

It is now a widely held view in molecular biology and genetics that the so-called "junk DNA" (or more technically non-coding DNA) actually isn't junk. Functions have already been ascribed to some of it, and new functions are regularly found.

A good review of the subject can be found here:

I wouldn't try to claim that every base pair in our DNA has a use; certainly some of it it just a trail of viral DNA which has lost its ability to replicate, and no doubt some represents genes that have mutated and therefore no longer function (i.e. pseudo genes). But I wouldn't use the junk DNA argument, because every time a new function is found in non-coding DNA, the creationists will cite the paper as validating their argument. Marchino61 (talk) 05:47, 14 June 2015 (UTC)

I second this. I know that the ENCODE claim of an 80% functional genome is very controversial for a number of legitimate reasons, however many regions previously thought to be 'junk DNA' because of low (or no) sequence conservation are now known to either a) be human specific (harder to detect signatures of selection), b) exhibit VERY weak signs of selection in only certain functional domains) or c) exhibit conservation on other levels, such as secondary structure. A good example is provided by long noncoding RNAs, which generally show very little or no sequence conservation between species, yet repeatedly exhibit a conserved overall function. The term 'junk' was originally used to refer to transposable elements (TEs). TEs are DNA sequences which encode DNA signal patterns and proteins that facilitate their own duplication and reinsertion in a host genome; for this reason they've also been called genomic parasites. DNA derived from TEs makes up 45% to over 66% of the human genome.
Although there are many others, here is an open 2014 paper that reviews the contribution of transposable elements to the function of long noncoding RNAs:
Another interesting paper that ties together ENCODE, transposable elements and the concept of junk DNA is here:
I'll add that there are other functions for 'junk DNA' that are not facilitated by any one sequence but nevertheless present a phenotype that can be acted on by natural selection. The size of a genome, for example, affects the amount of DNA that must be replicated before cell division and could conceivably affect the a) time and b) resources required for growth. Under this model the amount of filler DNA could have important implications for the fitness of an organism.
Further to the above, the term 'junk DNA' was initially only introduced in the 1980's because researchers studying transposable elements were getting a bit carried away in hypothesizing the importance of TEs in the evolution of regulatory regions and protein-coding genes in the human genome, without enough evidence. Old papers such as this and this suggested that the presence of TEs could be explained by selection on the 'parasitic' DNA sequences themselves, rather than some benefit to the host organism. The term stuck, and is mostly used these days as an introductory hook in papers that then proceed to demonstrate some function of TE-derived sequence. A mountain of evidence has recently shown that TEs contribute to the re-wiring and creation of novel coordinated gene regulatory networks, such as those partly responsibility for controlling pregnancy in humans.
From a more practical and rhetorical standpoint, I agree with Marchino61 that the term 'junk' provides an easy (if misguided and misleading) avenue of attack for ID supporters whenever previously unknown functionality is ascribed to some region of the genome. It's easy to see the 'junk' term becoming perceived as (incorrectly) analogous to the God of the gaps fallacy; creationists could see scientists as relying on an ever-shrinking pool of 'junk DNA', which decreases in size whenever a new discovery is made, to justify evolution by natural selection.
This is a particularly long edit since I'm a new user and wanted to justify my position. That being said, on the basis of Marchino61's and my comments I'm going to delete the sentence in question.
Junkdna (talk) 22:01, 28 July 2015 (UTC)

[edit] Artificial selection, Natural selection and Nazi eugenics

In the section titled What does it matter? Summary:, the following is used to rebut the assertions that Darwinian evolution provided a scientific justification for Nazi eugenic policies:

"If Hitler used Darwin’s "survival of the fittest" to justify eugenics, it was a misapplication of the theory. Evolution works by natural selection. Any action the Nazis took would not, by definition, be considered natural selection. In any case, evolutionary theory makes no judgements that would justify selective breeding of humans to eliminate large portions of the human gene pool. Evolutionary theory suggests that the larger the gene pool, the greater the chances of long term survival for any population."

There are a whole whack of problems with this rebuttal; I feel it should be removed or replaced. There is a much more direct response to claims that Hitler occasionally latched on to Darwinian theory to justify his actions, and it has already been alluded to on this page. In brief: "So what? The validity of the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection has nothing to do with how certain groups of individuals apply its principles."

Let's break it down:

"Evolution works by natural selection. Any action the Nazis took would not, by definition, be considered natural selection."

I feel that this comment is much more interested in distancing the theory of evolution from the Nazis than it is in presenting an honest account of evolutionary science. In the context of this page, the term 'natural selection' is understood to be synonymous with the current scientific understanding of how new species arise and how the diversity of life came to exist over the course of evolutionary time. The rebuttal in question abruptly deviates from that interpretation, and instead adopts a highly specific definition of natural selection; namely, that 'natural selection' is distinct from 'artificial/human-driven' selection. Although it's unfortunate when trying to rebut the shallow arguments of creationists, artificial selection is only semantically different from natural selection. That is, whether it's humans or other 'external environmental factors' that are exerting it, a selective force exists which, through the inherited variation of progeny and survival of the fittest (ie Darwin's requirements), can promote change and speciation over time. It really doesn't matter where the selective force comes from, because under both natural and artificial selection any genomic mutations that are beneficial to the survival and propagation of the host organism will generally, barring stochastic forces, lead to its success. The core tenets of evolution don't care at all whether a selective force is provided by a human intellect or by other environmental factors; the same principles apply.

Consider a horrifying hypothetical example: the Nazis were successful in identifying a 'Jewish-ness' (or Polish-ness, or Slavic-ness, etc) gene or set of mutations and successfully murdered every individual carrying such markers. These mutations would be removed from the 'gene pool' in a similar way to those of a group of individuals who were especially susceptible to a particularly deadly virus, and, unless they arose again by chance, would no longer be present among members of our species. Why? Because of an external selective force that drastically reduced the fitness of those individuals carrying such genetic markers. Be sure to note: intellectually-driven intent is only incidental. Take a separate example: the Nazis follow one of their initial plans and deport all Jews to Madagascar, where they subsequently have no interactions with any other humans. This case is analogous to any number of reproductive barriers that have been shown to occur between newly emerging species (new mountain ranges, isolation on an island, genetic incompatibility resulting from a mutation, etc) and, according to modern evolutionary thought, could very well lead to the creation of a distinct, reproductively isolated 'Jewish' species after a considerable amount of evolutionary time. The fact that a human intellect drove such changes is irrelevant to the processes at work. By the way, I want to be explicitly clear: while there are certainly (relatively) very small differences between human populations, there is absolutely no evidence that such population-specific individual mutations affect behavior or culture in any sort of way that would ever appear on the moral compass of even the most ardent Nazi.

This is getting a bit long-winded, but my point is that you can't make a distinction between artificial and natural selection when discussing the role of evolution in the origin of diverse species. If you say that the Nazis' eugenic policies are NOT based on a "true" interpretation of Darwinian evolution, as is implied by the rebuttal in question, you may as well also declare that all of the studies which have experimentally demonstrated evolution over short time scales (using bacteria, flies, etc) provide NO valid evidence simply because humans designed and oversaw the studies. While you're at it, you could also claim that the outcomes of most practical applications of evolutionary theory, such as those used to mitigate antibiotic resistance, pesticide resistance or the adaptation of infectious organisms, exist in their own 'artificial' bubbles and in no way provide evidence for evolution.

The rest of the rebuttal/point in question is also problematic:

"In any case, evolutionary theory makes no judgements that would justify selective breeding of humans to eliminate large portions of the human gene pool. Evolutionary theory suggests that the larger the gene pool, the greater the chances of long term survival for any population."

Once again, at first this sounds nice and seemingly shows that the Nazis "just didn't understand real evolution!". The sentence also slightly implies that evolution DOES make judgements, just not ones that are in line with Nazi ideology. Evolution is only a process. It passes no judgement on any ideology including Nazism, and unfortunately it's a process that could absolutely be used to further a nefarious agenda. Also, contrary to the provided rebuttal, it's dead simple to come up with a species-level justification for removing large numbers of individuals from a population. Take the example of a 'cheater' mutation: a mutation which causes the carrier to be more successful (selected for) at the expense of other individuals of its species. In a system where every organism is working together for a common good that provides immense benefit to the entire species, a cheater can receive the overall benefit while not directly contributing. As a result, the cheater individual can spend more resources on its own reproduction than other members of its species. Once again barring random effects like genetic drift, the cheater mutation will become more and more common in the population until there aren't enough 'selfless' individuals for the 'common good' to be maintained. It would ABSOLUTELY be to the benefit of the entire species for some force to eliminate all of the 'cheater' mutations, even if they were relatively common in the population. In this hypothetical situation, a larger gene pool doesn't offset the collective cost of allowing a cheater mutation to continue propagating in the population. From the (morally inconsistent and horrific) Nazi point of view, Jewish and other "undesirable" peoples were seen as carriers of a 'cheater' mutation which worked against the betterment and success of a humanity best led by an 'Aryan race'. To use evolutionary terminology and (momentarily) adopt the regressive, simplified and frequently scientifically appalling view of the Nazis, humanity as a collective system of generally 'altruistic' (ie serving an arbitrary 'common good') individuals would have been more fit and successful if certain 'unfit/bad' genes (and the Jewish individuals carrying them) were eliminated from the species.

To be frank, this rebutting point relies on flawed logic. If someone said that all of the theories governing nuclear physics were wrong because nukes have killed hundreds of thousands of innocents, an (incorrect) equivalent to the point in question might be to claim that: "No, theories of physics are entirely correct because mutually-assured destruction has actually led to a massive decrease in both wars and human lives lost!". The moral dimensions of the APPLICATION of a scientific theory say NOTHING about the validity of the theory itself.

In short, Hitler did not 'misapply' the theory of evolution. If you accept his flawed foundations, he even got the gist of it. A much better rebuttal might point out the fact that terms such as 'inferior' and (in this context) 'unfit' are moral considerations by humans that say nothing about how species arise or change over time. Since this is, after all, RationalWiki, if we want a witty quip we could point out the opposite side of the moral coin: evolutionary principles have facilitated the iterative development of novel cancer-treating drugs, have led to important AI and software-design paradigms, have helped us feed millions by circumventing the adaptation of plant parasites to certain pesticides, and have led to policies that continue to prevent the global spread of bacteria which are immune to all antibiotics.

Although it might not be as palatable a rebuttal to ID-proponents/creationists, you could also point out that there are many, many traits which would be considered morally 'naughty' but which nevertheless likely increase the fitness of an individual. It's probably not going to convince any creationists, but the honest truth is that ANY mutation which provides a net benefit to the individual will be selected for. To be blunt, this arguably includes morally-charged concepts that ("even with God") continue to be abused by many humans with frightening frequency such as: rape, murder, theft, siblicide, infidelity, tribalism, pretty much all logical fallacies, and yes, even genocide. Don't get me wrong; there are areas of the human experience that simply cannot generate the falsifiable hypotheses required by science, most of which involve concepts that seem to be beyond human comprehension. Evolution by natural selection is not one of these. In fact, the current understanding of evolution can in its entirety be applied to anything... from the rocks and the trees to the birds in the sky.

This comment sure ran on... anyway, I'll leave it here for a while for discussion and if nobody objects I'll change the Hitler-evolution summary rebuttal in a few weeks.

Junkdna (talk) 03:50, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

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