atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#1565: New fossil proves non-existence of God!

It was all over the place yesterday, and while performing a liesurely perusal of /b/ I saw several threads which essentially insisted that the new fossil proved that God doesn't exist.

Now, I'm a little fuzzy on the chain of causality, here. Let me see if I can make sense of this.

1) New fossil is found which shows something that's more monkey than lemur but which provides a "missing link" between lemurs and monkeys, thus potentially demonstrating that monkeys evolved from lemurs.

2) Because (they say) this is the first demonstrated "missing link" fossil, actually showing evolution taking place--and some are skeptical of this, as several other fossils have been touted as being "missing links" immediately following their discovery, and which were subsequently found not to be so--evolution is now proven. And therefore creation is disproven, which means God doesn't exist. QED. (So I suppose we'll now start calling it the "Law of Evolution"?)

3) ...

4) Profit!

Of course, this newly-found fossil doesn't prove squat. If you took all the fossil evidence of primate evolution and gathered it in one place, it wouldn't even fill up a decent-sized pool table. What we have in this latest find is another piece of the puzzle; it is certainly not the last piece.

Putting on my "science" hat for a moment, let's examine this from the standpoint of actual real science before I dispatch the religous aspect. The theory of evolution has not answered several serious questions about the evolution of humans from apes, let alone the evolution of anything else. Just to pick a problem, there is the issue of neanderthals and cro-magnon man: there is no link between them. The Earth is bopping along with neanderthals...and then, suddenly, poof, there's cro-magnon--and where the hell did he come from? There are no examples of neanderthals which are more cro-mag than neanderthal; there are no examples of cro-mags which are suspiciously neanderthal in appearance (Bill Clinton notwithstanding, *rimshot*--I couldn't resist...not that I tried).

The theory of evolution is thick with this kind of discontinuity: animal A exists for millions of years, and then--overnight, in geological terms--suddenly there's animal B occupying its ecological niche and there are no further signs of animal A. The theory of evolution simply glosses over these issues and doesn't bother to explain them, unless it is to insist--like Muldar on The X Files--that the truth is out there. Somewhere, undiscovered as of yet. We know, we are told, that A is B's ancestor...but there are no fossils and there is no other evidence.

Now, I am not saying the theory of evolution is invalid. If you insist on believing only scientific evidence, however, I have to say that your insistence in the theory of evolution as fact is painfully similar to...religion.

As for me--putting on my "Christian" hat now--I still say that it doesn't matter what the science says. Science cannot prove or disprove the existence of God. This new fossil helps to show how evolution went, but it does not prove that evolution actually happened. The world may have been created 5,000 years ago (or five minutes ago) in such a way that we wouldn't know the difference.

If the universe had only just been created a moment ago (say, while I was typing the last sentence) it was created in such a way that all the science in the world would say that the universe has been around for 15 billion years and that Earth has existed for four-odd billion years, and that man evolved from pond scum. Regardless of its time and date of creation we would not be able to tell.

This is why a successful proof of evolution--which this newest fossil is not--cannot prove the non-existence of God.

* * *

...and here I always deride philosophy--well, you can't deal with the universe in strictly mechanical terms, anyway. Not all the time. It wasn't made that way.

* * *

So: the headline of this Ars Technica piece is "Congressmen want automakers to cough up diagnostic codes". Clearly these guys don't know cars.

Add that to the list of things I can't take seriously about that site. They uncritically report anthropogenic global warming as proven; and they don't know beans about cars.

All vehicles 1996 and newer (more or less) have a computer interface called On-Board Diagnostic II (OBD-II for short, which I frequently write as OBD2). The codes used by OBD2 are standardized across all makes and models sold in the United States; OBD2 outputs a four-digit numerical code that is translated either by the code reader or the technician using the code reader, depending on how sophisticated the reader is. 0351 means the same thing for a Honda as it does for a Pontiac. (I picked random numbers; don't blame me if 0351 isn't defined.) It's not perfectly standardized, but you can use one reader to read the codes of any OBD2-compliant vehicle and if you don't mind looking codes up in a manual you can get a reader for less than $50. (I had an application for my Palm Pilot which decoded OBD2 codes. Enter the code, the definition was displayed.)

* * *

Speaking of cars, A WSJ opinion piece on the new emissions and mileage standards: "Bankrupt companies making 39 mpg autos. Are we nuts?" asks the lede.

What you mean "we", kemo-sabe? This is all Obama, dude. Obama and the Democrats.

Anyway, the piece mentions that a 39 MPG CAFE by 2016 is hopelessly optimistic; the National Highway and Transportation Safety Association said last year that about 32 MPG was barely do-able by 2016. (For cars and light trucks combined.)

Money quote:
The Detroit Three already sell small cars at a loss to meet the current 27.5 mpg fleet average.

Understand what that means? It means a couple of things:

1) Americans don't like small cars. We never have.

2) Small cars cannot be produced cheaply enough to both be profitable and meet customer expectations of perceived value. (That is to say, no one wants to pay $19,000 for a Chevy Aveo; and GM loses money on every one it sells at its MSRP of around $13,000 moderately equipped.)

#2 applies, by the way, to all manufacturers for the US market even if the cars are made in other countries and shipped here. Toyota takes a loss on each Prius it sells despite the extra-hefty price tag on the thing. Okay, the Tata Nano, which costs $2,500 in India? Expect that if it is ever brought to the US it won't cost less than $13,000, because that $2,500 car is not built to US safety and emissions standards and Tata will have to essentially design a whole new car to sell here.

Emissions and safety standards being what they are, we can reasonably expect tiny, tiny cars that cost a lot to be the norm in the US in a few years regardless of what the price of fuel does. If you want a new car, you'll either be buying a crackerbox or you'll be paying a hefty "gas guzzler" tax on the thing.

* * *

Suing to halt Chrysler bankrupcy? Well, the fake Obama bankruptcy, anyway--and these guys are right to do so. The Obama bankruptcy proceedings represent a huge power grab for the office of the President: certainly no other President in history thought he could order corporations around, and recall please that Obama told GM it had to fire its CEO.

This nonsense is causing a lot of trouble for people who played by the rules with the expectation that the contracts they signed actually meant something--unfortunately, with Obama in charge, that bit in the Constitution about government not screwing with contracts is apparently now "inoperative".

It would be interesting to see how the history of the early 21st century is written come, oh, 2200 or so.

* * *

Congress wants to quash someone's freedom of expression. Chilling.

Via The Anchoress, who comments on some other things as well.

* * *

I used to have the Interface Hall of Shame in my bookmark list, but the link 404'ed and I was never able to find it again. But here it is, thanks to a link on one of the sites on my daily surf list. Whee!

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