Creationist Wisdom — Example 43

TODAY we present to you, dear reader, Evidence of transitional evolution still is lacking, which appears in the Statesman Journal, from the Willamette valley in Oregon. The letter we wrote about in Example 27 appeared in that same paper. Things must be moving right along in Oregon.

We’ll copy today’s letter in its entirety, omitting only the writer’s name and city, and add our Curmudgeonly commentary between the excerpted paragraphs. The bold font was added for emphasis. Here we go:

In an April 14 letter, Brian [prior letter writer] claims clear evidence for evolutionary transitional forms.

Brian uses the Aetiocetus as a prime example. Was this the creature that crawled out of the water, turned into a wolf-like creature, then returned to the water and slowly evolved into our modern whale?

Here’s some information about Aetiocetus. We don’t know what Brian wrote back on 14 April, but we doubt that he described an evolutionary chain that went from Tiktaalik to a wolf to a whale. We’ll leave that issue up in the air and read on:

The abundant biological similarities between species is not evidence of common ancestry.

Come now! By itself, it may not be persuasive (depending on the “biological similarities” in question), but surely it’s evidence. Relying on mere appearances was quite sufficient for the development of the very suggestive Linnaean taxonomy more than a century before Darwin published Origin of Species. Moving along:

That may be due to a common designer who designed similar functions for similar purposes?

Yes! Everything we see which suggests comprehensible, causal relationships may be an illusion. It’s a waste of time to rely on your mind. Just accept the “common designer” and stop thinking about it. Welcome to the wonderful world of creationism.

We continue:

Experts of evolution theory have admitted that there are no indisputable transitional forms in the fossil record to support evolution across biological groups or kinds. Even among evolutionists there are diametrically different interpretations of the fossils used to support evolution.

Right, there are no transitionals! This list of transitional fossils doesn’t really exist. Thousands of unnamed “experts of evolution theory have admitted” it. Sure. Also, the check’s in the mail.

Here’s the end of the letter:

Evolutionists once reconstructed an image of a half-ape and half-man known as the “Nebraska Man” created from a single tooth. Later they discovered that the tooth belonged to an extinct species of pig. The Nebraska Man was used as a major piece of evidence in the famous Scopes Trial in support of Darwin’s theory of evolution.

[Writer’s name and city can be seen in the original.]

That last paragraph is a winner, and it’s why we’ve included this letter in our gallery of creationist wisdom. How many errors can you spot? Let’s take them one-by-one:

First, the image of Nebraska Man was the creation of a newspaper illustrator, and it was promptly criticized by the biologist who first suggested the tooth might be hominid. He reportedly called the illustration “a figment of the imagination of no scientific value, and undoubtedly inaccurate.”

Second, the error in identifying of the tooth was discovered three years later. The idea of “Nebraska Man” never achieved general acceptance by scientists, even during the brief period when the press was running wild with it.

Third, Darrow didn’t use Nebraska Man as “a major piece of evidence” in the Scopes trial. The court had ruled that Darrow’s experts couldn’t testify, which is one of the reasons he ended up calling Bryan as an expert. Even Piltdown Man didn’t play a role in the trial — although creationists always claim it did.

Hey, even if Darrow had mentioned Nebraska Man — so what? One brief error says nothing about Darwin’s theory. Anyway, according to this excellent article, no one at the trial mentioned Nebraska Man: The role of “Nebraska man” in the creation-evolution debate.

This incident, largely fabricated, has no significance. If a temporarily misidentified bit of evidence discredits all of evolution, then — by the same logic — how can Christianity survive all the hysterical peasant women who mistakenly see holy images in their tortillas?

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to “Creationist Wisdom — Example 43

  1. Oregonian letter-writer states The abundant biological similarities between species is not evidence of common ancestry. That may be due to a common designer who designed similar functions for similar purposes?

    And the ‘common designer’ came from where? Who designed the designer? And who in turn designed this proposed meta-designer, and so on.

    Creationism isn’t an alternative explanation for the origin of species, it isn’t an explanation of anything at all. It’s just an appeal to stop asking hard questions, on the grounds they conflict with simple-minded ‘answers’ that explain nothing.

  2. More adventures in “not even wrong.”

  3. The interesting thing is that each of these letters-to-the-editor is subtly different. So many errors, so little time …

  4. Whenever I see either a clueless rank-and-file creationist or skilled anti-evolution activist express incredulity about common ancestry, my immediate reaction is to ask them if they ever challenged Michael Behe, who accepts common ancestry. Mostly they evade the question, but when they do answer, it is entertaining.

  5. Frank J says: “… my immediate reaction is to ask them if they ever challenged Michael Behe …”

    They all put up with each other while they’re fighting the common enemy — the advocates of reason, science, and all that eeeeeeviiillll stuff. If they win their war, then they’ll splinter into hundreds of factions, each at war with the others.

  6. And the ‘common designer’ came from where? Who designed the designer? And who in turn designed this proposed meta-designer, and so on.

    The Turtle of Special Pleading — he’s the one at the bottom of the stack holding up the universe.

    😉

  7. The Curmudgeon says: “If they win their war, then they’ll splinter into hundreds of factions, each at war with the others.”

    A few weeks ago I posted on Talk.origins a question of what would happen if they won. Yours was one of several answers, and there was also disagreement on what constituted a “win.” Either way, I say “why wait”? We can *now* force them to confront their differences. At least the less hopeless evolution deniers, and fence-sitters, can see which side is playing games.

  8. Frank J says:

    Either way, I say “why wait”? We can *now* force them to confront their differences. At least the less hopeless evolution deniers, and fence-sitters, can see which side is playing games.

    You can see a good example of it in Texas. The Discoveroids have been all over that state. They have stooges in the legislature and on the Board of Education. Probably the governor is sympathetic to their nonsense. But observe their total silence when ICR sues to have their creation science teachings certified as a graduate degree in science education.