Creationist Wisdom #556: Evolution Disproved!

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Argus Leader of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It’s titled Evolution ‘too complicated’ to be random. An icon below the headline takes you to the newspaper’s comments feature.

Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. We’ll use only his first name, which is Olin. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

I was in a one-room country school back in the 1930s. One day the teacher gathered the students around her and read from a new science book telling us that we’d evolved from monkeys. In childish awe, I asked, “How come they didn’t all turn?”

Even as a child, Olin had enough brains to ask the most profound question of all: Why are there still monkeys? What answer did he get? He tells us:

The teacher laughed heartily, but didn’t answer my question. I thought, “That must have been a dumb question. I’m going to find out why.” I’m now 88 years old, but I don’t know why? If it ever happened.

After a lifetime of questioning, Olin still doesn’t have the answer. He’s unaware that ol’ Hambo’s Answers in Genesis outfit doesn’t recommend that question any more — see If We Evolved From Monkeys, Then Why …? But Olin has more questions. He lists them:

Beyond a theory, do you know what kind of power, force and energy is evolution?

Where does it dwell? Come from? Go to?

When does it work? Species dying all the time.

Why?

How?

You can’t answer Olin’s questions, can you? Let’s read on:

On Saturday, Dec. 11, 1982, page 7A of the Argus Leader told about Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe writing a book, “Evolution from Space.”

Olin still has the newspaper from 1982? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We can’t find that article, but it doesn’t matter. He tells us what it says:

1. Too complicated – biomolecules too complex to happen randomly.

2. Odds are one to 10 to the 40,000th power.

3. Darwinian evolution is most unlikely to get even one polypeptide right, let alone the thousands on which living cells depend for survival.

That sounds like Hoyle. The Wikipedia article on Fred Hoyle mentions the book. It even tells us: “Hoyle calculated that the chance of obtaining the required set of enzymes for even the simplest living cell without panspermia was one in 1040,000.” So Olin got it right — more or less. But Hoyle is also notorious for the junkyard tornado argument.

Here’s the end of the letter, and Olin has another expert for you. Besides Hoyle he’s got Einstein:

Albert Einstein, “I’m convinced God doesn’t throw dice.”

You didn’t know Einstein was a creationist, did you? Great letter, Olin!

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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The Discoveroids’ Intellectual Torture Chamber

Inquisition

Like a technician employed by the Inquisition to devise increasingly fiendish ways to torture heretics, so too do the Discoveroids strive to develop ever-more elaborate ways to warp the minds of their drooling followers.

A good example of this is found today at the creationist blog of the Discovery Institute. It was written by Michael Denton. He’s a Discoveroid “senior fellow” and the author of the 1985 creationist classic, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. The last time we discussed him was Thrilling News from the Discovery Institute.

Denton’s new article is A Maze with One Exit: Why Evolution Had No Choice. Don’t be afraid, dear reader. Your Curmudgeon will be your guide. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Our Discovery Institute colleague Bruce Chapman writes to me to ask the following question:

[Chappy’s question to Denton:] From your standpoint, the fine-tuned universe and nature on Earth give evidence of having been ordered for “beings like ourselves.” However, wouldn’t a Darwinist or any other materialist say, “What seems to you a universe and nature designed to accommodate us is really the reverse. We are the response, the consequence of random mutations and natural selection over billions of years to the constraints and requirements of nature.” How do you respond?

Chappy is the founder and Chairman of the Discovery Institute. His question raises an issue we recently discussed. In Klinghoffer Demolishes His Critics — which also involved Denton — we mentioned an obvious conflict between two of the Ten Laws of Creationism, which are:

9. The Principle of Life: Life can’t arise naturally, and yet it exists. Therefore life is the product of intelligent design (ID).

10. The Principle of Universal Design: The universe is made for life, which is highly improbable; therefore the universe is the product of ID.

The problem is that although Discoveroids are always claiming that each of those is true, they never mention them both at the same time. That’s because they can’t both be true. If life really were impossible, then it would violate the laws of nature everywhere — except here, of course, due to the incomprehensible work of the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — who created our privileged planet. But if the universe were fine-tuned to be designed for life, then our allegedly Privileged Planet is no big deal, and life should be universally abundant. Well, which is it?

Chappy is asking Denton to resolve the problem — a difficult task. Here is how Denton does the job. First, he admits that what Chappy describes as the position of “a Darwinist or any other materialist” seems “superficially reasonable.” Nevertheless, he claims:

Here is the problem. Even conceding that our biology was the result of a Darwinian process, given that the laws of nature allow only one biochemistry, one biology, and only one being with our intellectual and physical abilities — capable, for example, of making a fire — then it seems evolution had in effect no choice. The end was already written into the laws of nature before the search began; the process was one of discovering a preexisting blueprint.

Aaaargh!! How many different varieties of hogwash can you find in that paragraph, dear reader? First, there may be multiple versions of biochemistry out there, although we know of only our version here on Earth. Wikipedia has an article on Hypothetical types of biochemistry. Second, who made the rule that there can be “only one being with our intellectual and physical abilities”?

Yet Denton declares that there are no alternatives. Humans are allegedly the Privileged Species of the universe (Amazon listing for Denton’s latest book), and we were “already written into the laws of nature” according to “a preexisting blueprint.”

Then, having invented some convenient (but non-existent) rules to evade the otherwise obvious conflict between the two creationist laws we cited above, Denton elaborates on his reasoning:

Imagine a maze with only one exit. Even allowing that you may find your way by trial and error, the unique end or exit is built into the plan of the maze long before the random search commences. The random search is not a creative process that generates anything new. So even if we were to grant that the Darwinian search mechanism was the means of discovery, man still would be preordained from the beginning and his being still would depend on a vast suite of coincidences in the natural order. Darwinism would be only a means to a preordained end.

Has Denton’s argument convinced you, dear reader? Has he convinced Chappy? Well, Chappy must be satisfied, otherwise Denton’s post wouldn’t appear at the Discoveroids’ blog. That means this is now part of the Discoveroids’ official dogma. Let’s read on:

Of course I don’t accept that evolutionary ends were achieved as a result of a random search. I believe that there was only one path through the maze built in from the beginning, leading from entrance to exit by a single unique route.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That line of argument will last only until we find some alien life on Titan or elsewhere, with a different chemistry than ours. This is the rest of Denton’s article:

The path from chemistry to man was directed from the beginning. I see it as the destiny of science to find that route and reestablish mankind’s central place in nature.

So there you are, dear reader. The Discoveroids are painting themselves into an ever-shrinking corner, from which there will be no escape. And in the meanwhile, they’ve devised yet another form of mental torture for themselves and their followers.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Creationist Wisdom #555: Evolution Isn’t Science

Today’s letter-to-the-editor isn’t new. It appeared on 05 April, but we just ran across the thing in the Quad-City Times of Davenport, Iowa. It’s titled Schools should not teach evolution. The letter attracted 55 comments.

Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. We’ll use only his first name, which is Frank. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

New science standards for schools in Iowa are being determined by a team of science education leaders … .

Frank refers to a newspaper article about Iowa’s pending adoption of the evolution-friendly Next Generation Science Standards. The National Center for Science Education wrote about that subject a few weeks ago: Anti-NGSS bill in Iowa dies. But that’s not the focus of Frank’s letter. He says:

Some members are expressing concerns with including evolution. I agree wholeheartedly with them; evolution is not science.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Okay, Frank. That got our attention. Tell us why evolution isn’t science. He does:

The scientific method requires that the results of research be repeatable.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The results should be repeatable? We see that claim all the time, and we’ve always wondered where it comes from. And what does it mean — we have to re-create the universe before the Big Bang can be considered a scientific theory? Do we have to re-create the Earth’s biosphere in order to demonstrate evolution? How about the meteor strike that killed off the dinosaurs? Do we need to repeat that too? Yes, that’s what Frank means. Let’s read on:

Evolution is not repeatable.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The Index to Creationist Claims at the TalkOrigins website has a brief item on that: Science requires experiments that can be replicated. Evolution can not be replicated, so it is not science.. They inform us that the source of that clunker is old Henry Morris, the founder of the Institute for Creation Research, and they say:

1. Science requires that observations can be replicated. The observations on which evolution is based, including comparative anatomy, genetics, and fossils, are replicable. In many cases, you can repeat the observations yourself.

2. Repeatable experiments, including experiments about mutations and natural selection in the laboratory and in the field, also support evolution.

Yes — repeatable observations and experiments. And even then, as in the case of an observation during an eclipse, that specific eclipse doesn’t require repeating. Is this so difficult to understand? For creationists, it is. Frank continues:

Neither is creation [repeatable]. Both require an objective analysis of the evidence to come to the proper conclusion.

Frank makes no reference to the evidence for evolution — which is formidable — nor does he mention the evidence for creationism, which doesn’t exist. Does Frank worry that he can’t repeat Noah’s flood? Apparently not.

The remainder of his letter promotes a speech by a creationist at a local church. That event occurred two weeks ago, so this is where we’ll leave Frank’s letter.

Well, we learned something. The origin of the “repeatable” mantra was old Henry Morris. That guy was a bottomless pit of misinformation.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Sensitive Weekend Free Fire Zone

It’s been days since we’ve found any genuine news of The Controversy, and today looks like more of the same. To demonstrate that we’re really trying, here’s a small sampling of what we’re finding out there.

One. This was written by a PhD biologist named Danielle N. Lee, who uses the pen name “Urban Scientist.” The fact that it’s posted at the Scientific American blog confirms our judgment of many years ago to drop our subscription to their magazine: When discussing Humanity’s next move to space, the language we use matters. She says:

Elon Musk’s vision for the humanity and colonizing Mars makes me incredibly uneasy. It’s not that Elon Musk has said very many inappropriate things, it’s that so much of the dialogue about colonizing Mars – inspired, initiated and often influenced by Musk – uses language and frameworks that are a little problematic (and I’m being very generous).

That was her first paragraph. After that it wanders horribly, but this is her last paragraph:

Diversity, Inclusion, Access and Ethics should be a critical part of these conversations about space science, discovery, exploration, and yes eventual travel and emigration. And when we look around and see a homogenous group of individuals discussing these issues – issues that command insane budgets, we should pause. Why aren’t other voices and perspectives at the table? How much is this conversation being controlled (framed, initiated, directed, routed) by capitalist and political interests of the (few) people at the table?

Two. This is the next item we noticed. It’s in the Washington TimesStevenson College apologizes for serving Mexican food at alien-themed party. It says:

Stevenson College in Santa Cruz, California, is apologizing for cultural insensitivity after a space alien-themed event paired with Mexican food was deemed racist. In a letter addressed to its student body, the college said it received complaints from students and others within the university who perceived a connection between Mexican food being served at the official school event and the term “illegal aliens,” Fox News reported.

[…]

Ms. Golz [a student life administrator] said the “unintentional” mistake “demonstrated a cultural insensitivity on the part of the program planners.” “As a result of this incident, I will require cultural competence training for Programs staff, in addition to implementing mechanisms for future program planning that will ensure college programs are culturally sensitive and inclusive,” she said.

So there you are. That’s what we found today. And it bothers us because, as you know, your Curmudgeon is a non-judgmental, sensitive, compassionate, caring-sharing evolutionist, with ooey-gooey feelings and a touchy-feely attitude. We embrace diversity and practice togetherness. We care for the planet. We feel your pain. We are At One with all things. Our fondest hope is that we’ll all get along and everything will be nicey-nicey and fuzzy-wuzzy. That is our Curmudgeonly statement of principle, to which we courageously adhere — except when it might give offense.

Therefore, your Curmudgeon declares an Especially Sensitive Intellectual Free Fire Zone. Talk about whatever you think is interesting — science, politics, philosophy, etc. Banter, babble, bicker, bluster, blubber, blather, blab, blurt, burble, boast — say what you will. But beware of the profanity filters.

We now throw open the comments to you, dear reader. Have at it! And we remind you: Think correctly before you post your comments — Be sensitive!

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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