The Talk.Origins Archive

Posts of the Month for 2003

January: A Personal Journey
In the first Post of the Month for 2003, contributor Rubystars recounts her own story of a journey from belief in creationism to acceptance of evolution.
February part 1: What Is A Transitional Fossil?
Does evolution require the existence of "hopeful monster" intermediates with abnormal, nonfunctional structures that gradually gain utility and selective value? Howard Hershey debunks this common misconception, showing how what evolution actually predicts is something completely different.
February part 2: Of Cowboys and Conspiracies
Sensationalistic and uncritical media reporting often depicts the scientific establishment as stultified and dogmatic, and represents progress as being made only by scientific "cowboys" with the courage to buck the accepted wisdom. Here Lilith shows how nothing could be further from the truth, arguing that the greatest advances in science are usually made by those who work within well-established paradigms.
March: Real Science
John Wilkins gives us a point-by-point elucidation of how real science operates, and contrasts it with the motives and methods of pseudoscientific doctrines.
March Runner-Up: The Epistemology of Natural Science
Steven J. explains the philosophy of science and the process by which it acquires knowledge about the world, as well as what role this all leaves for God to play.
March Honorable Mention: Evolution and Moral Choices
Kyle C. Maxwell, a Christian contributor to, explains what bearing acceptance of evolution has on an individual's morality, and whether scientific theories in general can or should serve as a guide for making ethical decisions.
March Honorable Mention: Worldviews in Collision
Chris Ho-Stuart points out the difference between the worldview of a scientist and that of a creationist (it's not what you might think), and shows who is responsible for perpetuating the idea that science and religion must inevitably clash.
April: A Scientific Debate
On, a creationist claimed that evolutionary researchers are not permitted to examine "Lucy," one of the most famous hominid fossils, unless they first sign a document agreeing not to criticize the consensus as to what she is. Floyd disproves this claim by showing that there exists a very real and scientific debate over the nature and phylogenetic position of Lucy and her kin.
May: You Are an Ape
Creationists say we have never seen an ape giving birth to a human. Here Aron-Ra steps up to the plate to refute this claim by explaining the nested hierarchy of evolution and what defines a human being, showing that we are all, in fact, apes.
June: Classification Schemes
John Wilkins discusses how evolutionary biologists classify living things, and how their scheme, unlike all others, is reflective of real patterns in the history of life.
June Runner-Up: Why Be A Scientist?
With fedora and bullwhip in hand, Aron-Ra attacks common stereotypes of scientists and explains what science really takes - a fascination with the natural world, an ability to sift truth from error through rational debate, and an unbounded curiosity and spirit of adventure.
June Honorable Mention: A Former Creationist's Testimony
Michael Bragg, a former creationist who now walks the path of rationality, brings his testimony to and tells us what led him into the light.
June Editor's Pick: The Greatest Possible Liturgy
After reading his nebular theory of the formation of the solar system, Napoleon Bonaparte asked astronomer Pierre-Simon Laplace why God was not discussed. "Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis," replied the renowned scientist. Here Michael Siemon continues this theme, stating his belief that honest scientific investigation is the best way to honor the Deity, and that the creationists' scrabbling to create gaps to hide God in does credit to no one.
July: The Mirage
Louann Miller argues that creationist leaders create an illusion that evolution and creationism are supported by equal amounts of evidence, whereas anyone who actually delves into the literature will rapidly discover that this is not the case.
July Runner-Up: The Difficulty of Dogmatism
A Christian and former fundamentalist writes movingly about the dogmatic worldview that held him in thrall, and how the first crack in his armor of certainty, combined with a genuine desire to know the truth, led him into the light of true understanding.
July Honorable Mention: Science Is Tricky Stuff contributor Dan Ensign writes about the enormous amount of work that goes into even the simplest scientific experiment, concluding that the sheer difficulty of science may be part of the reason why so many people reject evolution.
August: 100% of an Eye
In their arguments about the difficulty of evolving complex structures such as eyes, creationists often claim that anything less than a fully functional version would be useless - that 5% of an eye would not confer any greater survival advantage than 0% of an eye. But what is 5% of an eye, really? And what is 100% of one? TomS investigates.
August Runner-Up: A Thank-You to Talk.Origins
The newsgroup sometimes does some good in an unexpected way. Cyde Weys expresses his gratitude.
September: Letter to a Representative
When a controversy flared up in Michigan over a proposed bill to mandate the teaching of "intelligent design" in science classes, Leonard Zanger wrote this letter to his representative detailing the reasons why creationist pseudoscience has no place in public schools.
September Runner-Up: The Evolution of Hot Peppers
Not all posts are heavyweight battles between evolution and creationism. Here, Floyd takes a lighthearted look at a spicy topic.
October: A Crisis in Faith: An Ex-Creationist's Testimony
A former creationist tells the story of his life: his many tribulations, his ending up in a young-earth creationist church, his discovery of the newsgroup, and his desire to know the truth, helped along by a friendly t.o. poster, that led him to study science and religion in depth and, eventually, to accept evolution and find peace as an agnostic. Thanks, Charles - we're glad to have you too.
October Runner-Up: Why Behe's Black Box Is Empty
Floyd lets fly with some on-target criticisms of the work of creationist Michael Behe.
October Honorable Mention: The Good Old Days
Some creationists, such as the honorable Judge Braswell Dean, blame society's ills on evolution, claiming it's all been downhill since Darwin. Seamus Ma' Cleriec gives a less rosy, but more accurate, picture of what life was really like in "the good old days".
October Honorable Mention: Non-Overlapping Magisteria
Lenny Flank summarizes what the scientific method can and cannot tell us about the consequences of our actions, as well as what questions are more properly the domain of religion and ethics.
November: The Design Inference in Geology
Glenn Morton tries his hand at applying the creationist "design inference" to geophysics, pointing out that seismic exploration of oil fields routinely defies probabilities immeasurably greater than those involved in the origin of life to produce complex information through a chance-based process.
November Runner-Up: High Culture
Thomas H. Faller replies to the claim that segregation of human castes by altitude, in combination with a global flood, could produce the sequence of fossil strata we see today.
December: Redeeming Haeckel
Did Ernst Haeckel's much-maligned embryo drawings lead directly to atheism and the rise of Nazi Germany? John Wilkins responds.
December Runner-Up: Experimental Evolution of Complex Regulatory Networks
Take the genetic elements that work together in concert to regulate the behavior of complex molecular systems, scramble them into random new combinations, and put them back together. What will you get? Creationist advocates of "irreducible complexity" would have us believe that the result will be useless genetic white noise; nature disagrees. In this post Deaddog explains what really happens.

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