Creationist Wisdom #98: Big Bang

THE world wants to know — will the Curmudgeon write 100 of these silly posts before the year ends? We’re as anxious as you are to know the answer. All we can do is deal with what we find out there. Speaking of “out there” …

We present to you, dear reader, a letter-to-the-editor titled Evolution breakdown, which appears in the Green Bay Press-Gazette, a daily newspaper in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

We’ll copy most of today’s letter, omitting the writer’s name and city, adding some bold for emphasis and our Curmudgeonly commentary between the paragraphs. Here we go:

Is the theory of evolution scientific or not scientific? Actually, both.

That got our attention. Let’s read on:

Evolution has two main branches. One is micro-evolution, which involves minor variations within a species. Micro-evolution is scientific because it is observable and measurable.

The other is macro-evolution, which is the concept that 1) life started from nonlife, and 2) successive minor variations can gradually change one species into another species. Macro-evolution (the basis for Darwin’s theory) is not scientific, because it has never been proven or observed in nature.

How disappointing; what we had hoped would be a novel argument turns out to be an oldie — one we’ve dealt with many times before. See: Micro Macro, Tutti Frutti. Maybe something else will justify this excursion. We continue:

In Darwin’s time the cell seemed relatively simple and, if given enough time (i.e. if the world had always existed), anything supposedly could happen.

That’s stunningly goofy. First, Darwin didn’t think the world had always existed. One of his rarely mentioned problems — perhaps his biggest worry — was that the world might not be old enough for the time that evolution required. As we wrote here:

Regarding the time scale, Darwin understood its necessity, and recognized it as a potential problem, because the age of the sun (approximately 4.6 billion years) was not then known, and the most educated estimates at the time seemed woefully insufficient for evolution to have occured. Darwin wrote to Alfred Russel Wallace (the co-discoverer of natural selection) in 1869: “Thomson’s views of the recent age of the world have been for some time one of my sorest troubles …” The reference is to William Thompson, later Lord Kelvin. The full text of that letter can be found here: The life and letters of Charles Darwin. As we now know, the issue was resoundingly resolved in Darwin’s favor. A good discussion of the Darwin-Kelvin dispute is presented here: The Age of the Sun.

The second goofy thing about the letter-writer’s sentence is the suggestion that Darwin’s theory requires that “anything supposedly could happen.” A theory requiring such an assumption would be lunacy. Biology is ultimately constrained by the laws of physics and chemistry — a significant distinction between it and creationism.

Here’s more from today’s letter:

Although no transitional fossils (between two species) had been found, Darwin felt it was only a matter of time, because they must exist for his theory to be true.

Aaaargh!! Moving along:

The discovery of DNA revealed the cell to be extremely complex. The discovery of background radiation caused the macro-evolutionists to “create” the Big Bang Theory which, unfortunately, disagrees with the First Law of Thermodynamics. Today, with billions of fossils found, not one is transitional.

That paragraph makes this post worthwhile. Have you ever seen anything so scrambled? First the letter-writer mentions the complexity of DNA — which he assumes is somehow the undoing of evolution and thus proof of creationism. Then he tosses in the ever-popular “no transitional fossils” line — which personnel in hospitals should be using as evidence of brain death. But he doesn’t stop there. He goes on!

Today’s letter-writer tosses in the Big Bang, and if that isn’t enough to demonstrate the quality of his thinking, he cites the First Law of Thermodynamics. We frequently see the Second Law mentioned in these letters, but the First Law does seem more appropriate to the Big Bang. Unfortunately for the letter-writer, biological evolution doesn’t depend on verification — or even knowledge — of the Big Bang theory.

Here’s the letter’s last paragraph:

Some articles or programs strive to promote the unscientific (macro-evolution) by impressing you with the scientific (micro-evolution). Please realize the significant difference the next time you read or watch something about “evolution.”

There you are, dear reader — you can’t fool the creationists of Green Bay. They know their micro from their macro.

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

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13 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #98: Big Bang

  1. anything supposedly could happen

    Isn’t that creationism?

    I would be surprised to hear about something that the creator/intelligent designers couldn’t do.

  2. No transitional fossils still. Well that makes my work easier. I’m researching the lineage and morphologies of tyrannosaurs and boy does it help that now none of the 12 or so species separated by continents and a hundred million years or so (supposedly) are all their own “kind” or something and I no longer need to worry about their non-existent coelophoid ancestor or other branches that might have come off since that would never happen. I wonder how well “They poofed into existence at an ‘unspecified’ time and by ‘unspecified’ means (unspecified to keep the evil, godless darwinistas from rejecting this paper out of hand), and their similarities to other groups (dromaeosaurs, coelophoids, etc.) is some ‘unspecified’ coincidence.” Yeah that’ll work.

  3. The discovery of background radiation caused the macro-evolutionists to “create” the Big Bang Theory which, unfortunately, disagrees with the First Law of Thermodynamics.

    1. the “Big Bang” Theory was promulgated at least 35 years BEFORE the Cosmic Microwave Backgroun Radiation (CMBR) was discovered by Wilson & Penzias, and was, in fact, a prediction of the theory — which Wilson & Penzias were unaware of at the time of their discovery.

    2. BB cosmology does not violate the 1st Law of Thermo (Energy Conservation) — if for no other reason than that time doesn’t exist until the BB takes place, and without time there can be no meaningful Conservation of Energy Law. Additionally, since in the Inflationary variants of BB cosmology the total amount of matter/energy in the universe is exquisitely close to zero, energy IS conserved.

  4. Longie, your understanding of the First Law is hopelessly in conflict with what the Green Bay creationist has told us. You’re obviously destined to endure agony forever in the Lake of Fire.

  5. Longshadow, do you really think something as insignificant as facts are going to get in the way of a really KILLER creationist argument?

  6. Rather strange, he trots out some of the usual creationist lines of BS and then fails to follow through with their usual conclusions that therefore God did it. Heck, he didn’t even wish us a Merry Christmas!

  7. retiredsciguy

    Albanaeon, you hit the nail on the head concerning “no transitional species”. Where in the world did the creationist’s ever come up with this argument? Hell, EVERY species in the fossil record is a transitional species! (At least, those not wiped out by a major extinction event.)

    Here’s hoping that we, too, are around long enough to become transitional species.

  8. Gabriel Hanna

    It’s not clear to me at all the the First Law of Thermodynamics would apply to the Big Bang.
    One reason is that energy and time, like position and momentum, are subject to the uncertainty principle. Another is that the laws of thermodynamics could hardly be expected to apply to extreme conditions like the Big Bang without substantial modification; just as Newtonian gravitation doesn’t.

  9. It is interesting that the originator of the concept of the Big Bang was a Roman Catholic priest, Georges Lemaître.

    I think that someone like Stephen Hawking, who is famous for his application of thermodynamics in cosmology, would not overlook the implications of the 1st law of thermo for the Big Bang.

  10. Thanks retiredsciguy. That may be what irritates me the most about creationists. They have no idea the effort real research is. Research is hours of reading obtuse guides of incredibly dry literature, spending hours hunched over some important, but tedious, project, and occasionally braving the elements to try and pry some new bit of information from nature. Weeks, months, years are spent checking and verifying conclusions and making things as close to perfect as it can be. Finally, the research is published to be torn to shreds in peer review and has to be done even better again and again until you have it right. After all this, to have some uneducated and incurious swine dismiss it all with some ludicrous statement because it conflicts with his delusions is beyond insulting.

  11. The Sensuous Curmudgeon should be summarily awarded at least 1,000 Golden Encomiums for his slogging thru the mire, ignorance, lies, and other dastardly attributes of our benighted Creationist brothers and sisters.
    As the year draws to a close, one hopes that his brain has not suffered irreparable damage in his unflagging service to reason!

  12. retiredsciguy

    Hear, hear!

  13. waldteufel says: “The Sensuous Curmudgeon should be summarily awarded at least 1,000 Golden Encomiums for his slogging thru …”

    Most kind of you, but at the moment I’m slogging through a problem of another nature. I’m re-organizing all the various tables of contents pages I’ve seemingly created at random around here. I may not recover from the effort. By comparison, shredding creationist nonsense is far easier.