At the time, I had no idea who Shubin was, but the book sleeve caught my attention. I bought and read the book, and it was a remarkable read.
In the book, Shubin had discovered a fossil of a fish-like creature which had the ability to walk on land. Walk? It was more like a pull itself with its front fins. He named it Tiktaalik, and its discovery has invigorated and pushed evolution even further than it was before.
Shubin also does a great job describing genes that we share as far back with flies and plants. When turned on and off, the produce the different parts of our bodies. We share these genes, because we are made the the same exact stuff.
Back when I was taking 10th grade biology, my teacher Mrs. Huckabee said that at one point in embryonic development, it appears that humans have gill slits. Let me remind you that this was a Christian school. She refused to explain why. She just explained it was a developmental phenomenon. For the longest time, I searched and searched for the answer to why we would have gill slits. The internet would have been a handy tool for a little kid like me stuck wondering blindly through the Yeshua Fog.
Finally, I found the answer in evolutionary biology some four of five years later at my Christian college. We have gill slits for a short time because of our fish ancestry. Our genes turn on and off like switches during our development. At one point, gill slits turn on.
At a point in human development, the genes turn on for gills and reveals itself. If you took a picture of us at this stage holding up a peace sign and pushing out our chest while sucking in our stomach, you’d notice that there are gill slits on our neck regions. Then the gene turns on for ears, and it moves the ears into the weird little, spread-labia characteristic that we have on the side of our noggins.
At a time when my biology teacher was putting questions in my head and invigorating a love for science, she was also deflating my scientific sensibilities because she wasn’t able to answer questions from an evolutionary respect. She could only answer them from the magical religious aspect, and these answers always encouraged MORE questions.
You know how sports guys get all giddy over their hero sports players? I don’t do that when I see major science hard hitters.
When I hear or see science guys on the Internet or on a documentary, I will literally put my hands above my head and say, “NEIL SHUBIN!” or “ROBERT PARKS!” or “MICHAEL SHERMER!” or “NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON!”
Oddly enough, I don’t do it for Hitchens, Harris or Dawkins. Nor have I ever. I do like reading or hearing what they say. But I don’t raise the roof for them. I wonder why.
But the professor guys are heroic to me. They act as information bridges to worlds of intelligence, statistics, particulars and knowledge about the natural world. This is what excites me. Real knowledge about real information.
PZ Myers is way up there too. That’s why I think it’s important to pass along his science information. I wanted to point you to this article which he tries (again) to pound information into Discovery Institutes‘ Casey Luskin. Myers’ explains that his non-science background proves time and time again to show how dense and ignorant he is. Not only does he explain that, he demonstrates the inaccuracy through detailed information. Myers doesn’t make up information without sources like zdenny does around here.
One time at my parents’ house over a holiday, a friend of theirs came to dinner. She was yapping her non-stop mouth muscle and she explained she was going to take a class at church that would teach her what a piece of shit evolution was. I turned red in the face, because that really pissed me off. Then she made a derogatory comment about homosexuality in front of Tina, I thought I was going to have to give her a healthy piece of a verbal bitch slap.
At the time, I wasn’t comfortable talking about evolution in front of my parents. Nor was I completely comfortable disrespecting an elder whom I had recently met. So I kept quiet. But this instance reminded me of what we’re up against … Little lame bored women are taking anti-evolution classes that she then talks about to other people who then take that for gospel truth. It’s a rudimentary and awfully ignorant oral tradition.
Church is not a science classroom. Sunday school teachers aren’t science teachers. Holy rolling church goers are being fed information from sources who are being fed information from guys at the Discovery Institute.
These classes are destroying America’s place in the world of science. The Luskins in the world are promoting ignorance, and making it a virtue.
I’ve said it before. Raise your bars high, Christians. Raise ’em up. It’s like Christianity is a video game and it’s being played at “easy” mode. There’s so much more to learn, to discover, to develop if you raise level to “difficult.” Even “medium” would be a wonderful advance.
The tree of knowledge is there for you to climb. “Adam and Eve” sinned to give you its accessibility. Go climb that son of a bitch and frolic in its branches. There is much to be learned and understood!