Creationist Wisdom — Example 86

WE present to you, dear reader, a letter-to-the-editor titled Doubts not denial of science, which appears in the Gazette of Colorado Springs. It’s the second letter at that link, so you’ll have to scroll down to find it.

We’ll copy most of today’s letter, omitting the writer’s name and city, and adding our Curmudgeonly commentary between the paragraphs. Actually, we added the paragraph breaks; this thing is only one paragraph. The bold font was added for emphasis. Here we go:

In response to John Horner’s article (“Is science denial intellectually honest in our modern world,” editorial page, Nov. 19): Doubts about the theory of evolution are not denial of science.

That refers to a guest column by John Horner: Is science denial intellectually honest in our modern world? Horner is a psychology professor at Colorado College. It’s not a bad column, but it concludes with a bit of a false dichotomy:

Either become a scientist and test that knowledge for yourself, or give up all the benefits you’ve accrued from humanity’s ever-expanding scientific knowledge. If you aren’t going to believe in the knowledge that science has given us, then give up all those things that science has made possible. Give up your computer, your cell phone, your Internet, your microwave, your antibiotics, your cancer treatments, your Lipitor, your Viagra, your GPS, your telephone, your airplanes, your digital camera, your television, your cable, your ….

Okay, we’re oriented. Let’s get back to today’s letter:

There are creationists and intelligent design advocates who not only have Ph.Ds but also field and lab experience. There are creationists who used to be evolutionists and who abandoned the theory for scientific reasons, not due to a religious conversion.

There are indeed some fools and charlatans with Ph D degrees. But among creationists, we suspect there are none who were once evolutionary biologists, but “who abandoned the theory for scientific reasons, not due to a religious conversion.” We continue:

Like most creationists, I believe in natural selection and other observable factors but the belief that life arose from chemicals by chance has not been proved by the scientific method.

Nor is that part of the theory of evolution. Here’s more:

Louis Pasteur disproved the theory of spontaneous generation and the Miller experiment was a failure, not a success. Dr. Miller’s experiment only produced amino acids, not life, and the results were accomplished in an artificial environment unlike the primordial soup evolutionists believe in.

Aaaargh!! Pasteur again. That stuff continues to linger on creationist websites. Here’s a good discussion at Talk.Origins: Spontaneous Generation and the Origin of Life.

The Miller–Urey experiment wasn’t intended to create life. It was a spectacular success in accomplishing its purpose — synthesizing organic compounds from inorganic precursors.

Okay, moving along, we come to an argument we’ve never seen before. This is what’s so fascinating about these letters — the variety is a never-ending festival of foolishness:

It can also be argued that natural selection prevents progressive evolution from taking place: it is the average animal that thrives, freaks (transitional forms) are culled out by natural selection factors

How about that one, dear reader? You never knew that natural selection prevents evolution, did you? Nor did you know about that hot new creation science discovery — survival of the average. Isn’t this great?

And now we come to the end:

Also, there is no connection between Darwin’s theories and modern technology, in most cases technological breakthroughs come from the study of physics, not evolutionary biology. People can doubt evolution and still appreciate their cell phones and computers.

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

No connection? Darwin’s theory is supported by geology, radiometric dating techniques, biochemistry, etc.; and it’s consistent with every other branch of science. On the other hand, it’s true that creationists use computers — mostly to access creationist websites. But despite such cognitive inconsistencies, they’re still reality-deniers.

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

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

5 responses to “Creationist Wisdom — Example 86

  1. As a resident of Colorado Springs, I’d like to formally apologize for this letter…

  2. You never knew that natural selection prevents evolution, did you? Nor did you know about that hot new creation science discovery — survival of the average. Isn’t this great?

    I have seen this before … from a (in)famous talk.origins creationist, David Ford . Those who use it are basically abusing Ernst Mayr’s notion of stabilizing selection.

    Harun Yahya has also picked up on it.

  3. John Pieret says: “I have seen this [survival of the average] before …”

    Well, it was a new one to me. Hey, I donno why your comment got grabbed by the spam filter. Did some other blog blacklist you?

  4. It was Edward Blyth who abt. 1835 first suggested that divine Providence created stabilizing selection to guarantee creation was kept up to snuff. Blyth was a good naturalist but crippled his good science (the perception that animals vary, that variation is hereditary, and that phenotypes with performance problems are eliminated, maintaining the type) with the Genesis myth. Darwin apparently didn’t recognize Blyth´s speculations as an early proposal of ‘evolution’ by natural selection, although he did cite some of Blyth’s other contributions. More information on Blyth is given on Wikipedia.
    Our wise-guy creationist, although fishing up an interesting point, doesn´t get to first base on either knowledge or logic. As Blyth correctly surmised, ecological (house-keeping?) selection, by taking out less-functional variants, staves off dysgenic evolution. On the other hand, especially when changing conditions demand new tactics, at least some natural variation will be more likely to enhance performance (fitness). This is what occurs with antibiotic and insecticide resistance and has been documented in cryptic moths and Galapagos finches in nature.

  5. W. Benson says: “It was Edward Blyth who abt. 1835 first suggested that divine Providence created stabilizing selection to guarantee creation was kept up to snuff.”

    Everybody knows about “survival of the average” except me. Well, now I know.