Creationist Wisdom — Example 58

WE present to you, dear reader, this fine letter-to-the-editor: Creationism is reasoned, which appears in the Shields Gazette, the oldest provincial evening newspaper in the UK. It’s printed in Pennywell, Sunderland, and covers the news in South Tyneside, with a circulation of 18,152.

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

ED Waugh and Trevor Wood are right to draw attention to the talking snake in Genesis Chapter 3. However, its words were not its own but those of the devil, who by his temptation brought about the fall of man. We can see evidence of that fall in the world all around us and in our own lives too, if we are honest.

Yes, but only if we’re honest. Let’s read on:

The good news for the Christian is that when the devil tempted the second man, Jesus Christ, Christ overcame him and by his death and resurrection brings salvation to all fallen sinners who believe. That’s the difference between materialism and the gospel. Materialism has no hope and Christianity is full of well-grounded hope.

Got that? Materialism has no hope. By now you’re wondering if this thing is ever going to get to evolution and creationism. Yes indeed, it’s coming right up:

The scientist Stephen Jay Gould has drawn attention to two remarkable facts about the fossil record. Stasis – the fact that most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth – and sudden appearance – the fact that species do not arise gradually but appear all at once, fully formed.

These features are not only inconsistent with gradual evolution, but precisely what we would expect if we had Genesis chapter 1 to go by.

Yeah, right. Darwin recognized this “problem” and discussed it in detail, long before Gould. For example, in Chapter 14 of Origin of Species, found here, he says:

Local varieties will not spread into other and distant regions until they are considerably modified and improved; and when they do spread, if discovered in a geological formation, they will appear as if suddenly created there …

[…]

As species are produced and exterminated by slowly acting and still existing causes, and not by miraculous acts of creation and by catastrophes … the amount of organic change in the fossils of consecutive formations probably serves as a fair measure of the lapse of actual time. A number of species, however, keeping in a body might remain for a long period unchanged, whilst within this same period, several of these species, by migrating into new countries and coming into competition with foreign associates, might become modified; so that we must not overrate the accuracy of organic change as a measure of time.

[Addendum: see below for another Darwin quote.] Here’s more from today’s letter:

DNA may point to common ancestry, but it may equally point to common design.

Yes, but it’s a bumbling, fumbling design — so gerry-rigged that it seems naturally evolved. And it’s strikingly consistent with all other evidence for evolution. Moving along:

Since information assumes intelligence, it’s not hard to see which option the Christian will choose.

Nice misuse of the term “information.” Hint: in a scientific context, any observed pattern is “information,” and it needn’t be the product of intelligence. Another excerpt:

It is no more unscientific to believe in an unobserved designer than to believe in unobserved macroevolutionary steps.

Right. See: Micro Macro, Tutti Frutti. And now we come to the end:

Just one final question. In the interests of truth in society, is there any state-funded school in North East England which imposes recent creationism on its pupils, and if so, which one?

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

We can’t help the letter-writer in his quest for “truth in society.” But we wish him well. It’s comforting to see that creationism has a firm foothold in the UK.

Additional Darwin quote, which anticipates Gould’s “punctuated equilibrium” idea (hat tip to “Ichneumon,” wherever he may be). This is from Chapter 10 of Origin of Species, found here. Darwin says:

Species of different genera and classes have not changed at the same rate, or in the same degree.

[…]

I believe in no fixed law of development, causing all the inhabitants of a country to change abruptly, or simultaneously, or to an equal degree. … Hence it is by no means surprising that one species should retain the same identical form much longer than others; or, if changing, that it should change less.

Addendum: For another visit to the Shields Gazette see Creationist Wisdom — Example 92.

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

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One response to “Creationist Wisdom — Example 58

  1. Bob Carroll

    Jury-rigged + gerrymandered =gerry-rigged? Is this Folk Etymology Day? 😉
    Bob