Three Years

I have discovered that the three-year anniversary of this blog was yesterday. Oops.

In past years I’ve written an awful lot more than that, about how I never expected to be at this for more than a week etc etc etc, but considering how much I’ve posted lately I think the above is all I deserve.

Much more interesting though is my (accidental – I haven’t been paying much attention lately at all) discovery of a new ICR project: URCall. The name is of course supposed to attract the Young People of Today with its Textual Language Translation of “your,” as in “your call.” URCall can therefore be considered a rough successor to Your Origins Matter (YOM), which is not dead so much as terminally ill. The name did throw me initially, however, as the first association I came to was some kind of Iraqi cell phone network, as in my experience aside from the ancient city “ur” means “you are” (“you’re”), not “your.” Therefore, I do henceforth declare that the official pronunciation of URCall when referred to on this website is indeed along the lines of a guttural “err-call.”

URCall has, among other things, a blog. As you might have guessed by now, one of the posts already published is called “Fossils: Prehistoric Selfies“. The site as a whole is not quite as cringe-worthy as all that implies, which is admirable, but it’s a fine line they tread. Their about page notes that “14 out of 50 states teach forms of creationism in government funded schools,” apparently bemoaning that it’s not higher (I thought it was lower). The American Christian persecution complex is in evidence: the say that “Today, more than ever, it seems like it is becoming increasingly difficult to remain a courageous Christian in the midst of a secular world.” The site claims to be “for Millennials by Millennials,” which is probably true only by a technicality. Theoretically they are big-tent, referencing intelligent design and being “a community of Christians sharing their ideas about the relationship between faith and science,” but given their past history I really do doubt that.

But the most important part for us, at least for the moment, is going to be their collection of (very short) videos presented by Markus Lloyd, who also presented their Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis dvds. In the interest of providing at least some content here – or at least creating another aborted project so soon after the last – I’m going to be scheduling posts containing short rebuttals. Appropriately, the first one that I’ve chosen is about the Tower of Babel, which as you know definitely existed. That will appear in about two days, and we’ll go from there.

I appreciate people regularly checking in to see if I’ve posted anything, but as you can see I’m not exactly reliable. I recommend then that you use RSS or email alerts to let them come to you, but it’s your decision.

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9 thoughts on “Three Years

  1. Congratulations on the 3 year anniversary.

    And yes, I use RSS to keep track of your blog. I guess that still uses CPU cycles and network packets, but at a low enough rate that I don’t notice it.

    • I use Feedly for them these days, but you remind me that I should probably trial running my own application. Do you still recommend liferea for people not running KDE?

    • I start “liferea” around once a week, and allow it to run for a while, just to keep up with using it (but with only a small subscription list for testing purposes). It still works quite well.

      So yes, I would still choose “liferea” if I were running Gnome or XFCE. But, running KDE, clearly akregator is the best.

      I have also tested akregator while running Gnome, and that works quite well.

  2. Congrats! I cringed when I went to the UR site, and a video automatically started, claiming that “modern birds” have been found in strata below Archaeopteryx, and asking if this “makes sense.” Actually, no modern bird species have been found below or even at the same horizon as Archaeopteryx. Even if a species with features more like modern birds than Arch. was found below it (the Protoavis exception is disputed by most paleontologists) it would not disprove birds being derived from dinosaurs, and in fact, being dinosaurs themselves (which almost all paleontologists regard them as). The question at the end of the video is as absurd as asking how can we be descended from apes if there are still apes. Since the answer has been pointed out to ICR many times, I can only conclude that this video is yet another example YEC dishonesty (or at best ignorance of basic evolutionary concepts).
    By the way, one of the most bizarre attempted refutations of Arch. as a transitional form was written by Duane Gish ICR, at http://www.icr.org/article/transitional-form-archaeopteryx-wont-fly/ He spends most of the article arguing (with many misleading statements) that Arch. did not show most of the reptilian characters as “evolutionists” claim, and was nothing but a bird. Then at the end of the article, he encourages the idea that Arch. might be just a reptile onto which someone had added feather impressions. Aside from the fact that the latter has been thoroughly debunked, apparently Gish never realized (or expected readers not to notice) that his ending suggestion faltly contradicted everything else in his article. In short, YEC want to argue that Archie is all bird, unless that is, it is all reptile. Just like their inconsistent stances on hominids, their inability to make up their mind is strong evidence of what the case really is, that these fossils and many others do show intermediate features. Speaking of which, it is important to impress on YECs that even if a species like Arch is not _transitional_ in the sense of being in the direct line between ancient reptiles and modern birds, if it is a side branch with _intermediate features_ it is still supportive of evolution.

  3. Let me also add that although we find no modern bird species in the Jurassic, increasingly we are finding many fossil dinosaurs with feathers and other “birdlike” features. Indeed, because this, it is virtually impossible to draw a line between dinosaurs and birds, which is why almost all paleontologists and biologists now regard birds as not only dinosaur descendents, but dinosaurs themselves (a branch of feathered dinosaurs). In view of all this, for YECs to continue suggesting that the fossil record shows only dinosaurs and modern birds, with nothing in between is sheer nonsense, and in my view, flatly dishonest. Yes, humans did coexist with dinosaurs – and still do–I’m looking at some at my bird feeder right now. .

  4. Now that I’ve had a chance to look at more of the URCall site, it annoys me even more. Most of the video clips there are nothing more than misleading little sound bites, ending with a leading questions. Most are even more shallow and manipulative than the already superficial treatments ICR typically presents for complex scientific topics. For example, one clip claims that the chances that all enzymes for life coming together “by chance” are almost zero, without mentioning that scientists do not claim it was just “by chance,” but according to preferential retention of certain organic molecules in suitable ancient environments, mineral templates selecting them to form membrane and protein like structures, etc., and as soon as replication was possible, natural selection. The clip ends with the question “Is another answer possible?” Yeah, the answer is that as usual, you’re oversimplifying and misrepresenting the evidence.

    • Well, you’re going to have plenty more opportunity to be annoyed starting tomorrow.

      One thing I don’t quite understand is what they intend their audience to do with the videos. Most likely they are designed to keep teens in the faith with vacuous sound bites, in which case direct and specific refutations may be quite useful. Alternatively they might hope that their audience shares the ideas around, in which case I’d like to be in the room when one tries a “Big Daddy”-type showdown. The most amusing part is how they’re all listed under “learn” – the absolute most I can say for them is that they are intensely shortened versions of common creationist tropes, but they haven’t even provided links to more information.

    • Until recently, many YECs used to go by the simplistic principle that if it had feathers, it must be 100% bird. As more feathered dinosaurs started being found, they first disputed whether the feathers were feathers. Although some do appear to be fibrous structures or proto-feathers, others are clearly feathers. Now so many feathered dinosaurs are known, that all YECs like Lloyd can do is make misleading statements about “modern” birds appearing before Archaeopteryx (referring obtusely to the dubious Protoavis). Even if it were, would not remove all the evidence that birds evolved from dinosaurs, and in fact are a branch of feathered theropod dinosaurs. Likewise, YECs still won’t admit that whales came from quadruped land animals, despite the atavistic leg bones sometimes found on whales, and the confirming embryologic evidence. Among their lamest comments are ones suggesting that no part-fin, part-leg forms are known. Say what? They exist even today in mammals like seals, walruses, manatees, as well as fish such as mud-skippers.

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