Creationist Wisdom #285: Evolution Is a Religion

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Oklahoman of Oklahoma City. It’s titled Evolution can’t be proven using scientific method. We’ll give you a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. As we usually do, we’ll omit the writer’s name and city. Okay, here we go:

In his latest attempt to portray evolution as fact, Elliott Doane (Your Views, Dec. 1) says all competent scientists accept evolution; the meaning of critical thinking is unclear; high school students are incapable of sensibly making up their own minds; religious beliefs are undermining sound science.

This is what he’s talking about: Religious zealots undermine sound science. Back to today’s letter:

I’m way past high school age. I have a bachelor’s degree in a recognized field of science. So if it’s all right with Doane, I’m going to sensibly claim I’m capable of thinking critically and that I know the difference between sound science and religion masquerading as science.

We’ll be the judge of that. Let’s read on:

My question is: Why is every branch of science required to adhere to the scientific method, but macro (molecules-to-man) evolution is given a pass?

Wow! In one sentence the letter writer refers to the bogus category of so-called macro evolution (see Common Creationist Claims Confuted) and then he uses a classic phrase found only on creationist websites — “molecules-to-man” evolution It’s clear what we’re dealing with here. The letter continues:

There’s no known, observable process by which genetic information can be added to the genetic code of an organism, but that absolutely had to have happened for macro evolution to be true.

The only problem with that is that it’s totally wrong. We know how these things happen — gene duplication, followed by mutation. We’ve written about several known examples (see Is Convergent Evolution Explainable?). Here’s more from today’s letter:

Doane [the earlier letter-writer] admits no scientist has ever disproved evolution.

He admits it? That’s an odd way to express a fact that is devastating to creationism. Moving along:

What he conveniently avoids admitting is that no scientist has ever proven evolution to be true using the scientific method.

Ah yes, the old “I can’t prove it’s false, but you can’t prove it’s true.” That epistemologically goofy statement overlooks the fact that creationists have the burden of proving that evolution is false (see Creationism and the Burden of Proof). The letter-writer claims to have a degree in “a recognized field of science,” which he doesn’t identify. Nevertheless, he doesn’t know that scientific theories are never proven. They can be disproved, but otherwise all an accepted theory ever has going for it is that it’s supported by numerous tests and observations. Here’s the end of the letter:

Since there are no peer-reviewed, repeatable scientific experiments proving any organism can and has evolved into a completely different kind of organism, evolutionists must believe it happened. That’s their religion, not sound science!

The letter-writer wants a laboratory demonstration that a frog can evolve into dog, and if you can’t do that for him, then evolution is just a religion.

See also: Creationist Wisdom #287: Critical Thinking.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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28 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #285: Evolution Is a Religion

  1. I have a bachelor’s degree in a recognized field of science.

    And I have a masters in electrical engineering. That diploma and $10 will get you a decent latte at Starbucks. So let’s be clear here: “astrology”, “crystal energy sources”, “feng shui”, and “underwater basket weaving” are not “recognized fields of science”.

  2. Who does this guy think he is, Dr. Science?

  3. I may be a bit dense because i don’t have a degree, scientific or otherwise bu what does a recognized field of science mean? If you’re claiming to be an authority why wouldn’t you state your cv? Refusing to say what field his degree is in makes me wonder if it’s embarrassing or merely irrelevant. Possibly political science, christian science or alchemy.
    @Gary: underwater basket weaving may not be a recognized field of science but having carved pumpkins underwater I can tell you that it is most likely too difficult for our letter writer. Scuba requires some of that pesky science stuff.

  4. The author of letter is a little late to the game. He or She may be rather surprised by the loud round of snoring most audiences would greet their revelations with. At least some of the pro’s manage to toss a bit of fresh paint on the wagon every so often.

  5. @Tomato Addict: This has zero to do with this post, but I finally found the picture of your grandfather I was looking for. I’ve been searching since you posted the link to your photo in the chicken hat, but since that was a couple of days ago and Curmie’s blog has moved on, I thought I’d better post it here or you’d never see it.
    I’m too lazy to imbed it, so here’s the link:
    http://www.tomkelleystudio.com/images/album4/Jerry-Colonga.jpg

    There sure is a lot of family resemblance — you’re certainly a chip off the ol’ block!

  6. RSG: The resemblance is striking! Now all he needs is a good hat. :-)

  7. It would be tragic if the letter writer has a real science degree from a real university.

  8. Of “evolutionists”, the letter-writer declares:

    That’s their religion, not sound science!

    If this is true, can I buy a ritzy home in the USA, declare it to be The First Church of Christ (Darwinist) and thereby avoid paying a penny in property taxes?

  9. I been a part of the non-controversy for almost forty yrs and now just start to feel sorry of these indoctrinated “souls”. You can’t get through to most of them and now believe just try to get to the children with good science and critical thinking skills…them maybe the creationist will just die out over time. Maybe wishful thinking. Back in the 80′s I used to debate the creationists and it was always a losing battle (Gish Gallop good debate technique), so just stopped. Actually I won one debate but it was in front of a college teacher education seminar. One for 50. Not too good.
    (Newly retired gov. Marine Toxicologist)

  10. Sorry for several grammatical error….remember I’m now retired.

  11. Welcome Aufwuch, grammatical airs and all.

  12. Searching the writer’s name a linked in profile comes up with Electrical Engineer for U.S. Government from Oklahoma City. It fits considering the tendancy for engineers to be creationists and also gives him a good reason not to be specific about his degree in his appeal to his own authority.

  13. Troy says: “profile comes up with Electrical Engineer for U.S. Government”

    That’s how he describes his job. We still don’t know what he studied in school.

  14. Aufwuch says: “Newly retired gov. Marine Toxicologist”

    I assume you weren’t a poison gas specialist for the Marines. Either way, good to hear from you.

  15. Ceteris Paribus

    @TA “Grammatical airs” – thanks for the hoot! And another welcome to Aufwuch for setting it up.

  16. “Searching the writer’s name a linked in profile comes up with Electrical Engineer… It fits considering the tendancy for engineers to be creationists…”

    Hey, Gary — are you still awake?

  17. Aufwuch: “Sorry for several grammatical error….remember I’m now retired.”

    Hey!

  18. Hey, Gary — are you still awake?

    (zzzzzz… snort…. cough…) Wait, what? Huh? OH! As in, “Oh, HELL no!” “Tendency for engineers to be creationists”? Maybe. But don’t throw us all under the bus because some can’t tell the difference between a radio wave, a microwave and a tidal wave (a bit of engineering humor there).

  19. @RSG: Don’t worry, we will correct you when you slip. ;-)

  20. Ok, Gary, other than the wavelength, what is the difference between a radio wave and a microwave??

  21. The letter-writer wants a laboratory demonstration that a frog can evolve into dog, and if you can’t do that for him, then evolution is just a religion

    My old dog Sherlock spit up when I read that to him.

  22. Wait, I know this one! A microwave is so small no one can see it, but over the radio no one cab see you waving at all.

    Or maybe I should stick to statistics? ;-)

  23. A wise man once told me, “Engineering is the art of finding the right wrench to pound the screw in with.”

    (That ought to rile Gary up.)

  24. TA, we all know you meant “…over the radio no one can see you waving at all”, but then, no cab will come if the cabbie can’t see you waving.

    Since Gary hasn’t answered yet, I figured out what a microwave is. Make a fist; extend your pinkie finger straight out; now waggle it up and down from the middle knuckle. That’s a microwave. I don’t understand how that heats up my cup of coffee or carries data from point “A” to point “B”, however. Guess I still need Gary’s help.

    Your crack about the wrench only applies to mechanical engineers. Gary said he’s an electrical engineer. There must be an analogous joke for EEs; perhaps he can enlighten us. Maybe he’s still up watching the 12.12.12 Concert. It’s fantastic! Rolling Stones, Springsteen, McCartney, The Who, Billy Joel, Clapton, Alisha Keyes, Kanye West, et al.

  25. TA said:

    A wise man once told me, “Engineering is the art of finding the right wrench to pound the screw in with.”

    That’s from my old junior high shop teacher, Mr. Shea. His maxim (which we dubbed “Shea’s Law”) was this: “Every machine part fits every other machine part. Some just take bigger hammers than others.”
    The analogous part for EE’s (aside from the “You know it takes two E’s to spell ‘geek’, right?”) is “All circuits run on smoke; if you let the smoke out, they don’t work any more.”
    You’re going to have to wait for the difference between radio waves and microwaves. RSG’s new avatar has latched onto my consciousness and I’m not thinking straight right now.

  26. RBH says: “My old dog Sherlock spit up when I read that to him.”

    I didn’t mean to imply that your dog’s grandpappy was a frog.

  27. Gary bemoans, “RSG’s new avatar has latched onto my consciousness and I’m not thinking straight right now.”

    Well, of course you weren’t thinking straight — it was FIVE-F**KIN’-THIRTY in the morning when you wrote that! As we used to say in Coast Guard OCS, that’s a half-hour before Oh-Dark-Hundred!

    I just explained about the new avatar on a more recent string that it’s a hot-air balloon. Fitting, no?