The cornerstone of all creationism, whether young-earth, old-earth, flat-earth, or intelligently designed earth, is the claim that the creation of life is so impossible by natural means that it had to be the result of supernatural activity.
In all their trivial and nonsensical variations, creationists peddle an imaginary solution (their magical designer) for imaginary problems — the “impossibly” fine-tuned laws of nature, the “impossibility” of life, of evolution, etc. For every problem that does not exist they have an untestable solution that solves nothing. It’s an up-to-date version of an ancient scam — swamis, gurus, sorcerers, and shamans have always been selling non-existent solutions to imaginary problems. Well, sometimes the problems were real (explaining the day-night cycle, lightning, disease, etc.) but the proffered explanations were useless.
Virtually nothing was understood before the rise of science, so mystics were easily able to claim that only a supernatural agent could be responsible for whatever phenomenon was at issue. This kind of explanation (which literally explains nothing) is popularly known as the God of the gaps. As Albert Einstein said in an often-republished article titled Science, Philosophy, and Religion:
To be sure, the doctrine of a personal God interfering with natural events could never be refuted, in the real sense, by science, for this doctrine can always take refuge in those domains in which scientific knowledge has not yet been able to set foot.
When life is literally created in the lab from non-living material, as it eventually will be, the creationists will then be scrambling around for lesser mysteries which can be attributed to their mystical agent. There’s no shortage of those — the origin of the universe, the laws of nature, human consciousness, etc., but none have the same popular appeal as the origin of life.
Whenever scientists make progress in that particular area, and they do (see, e.g., Origin of Life: Three Recent Studies), creationists are sure to be screaming. Thus the desperate cries of disbelief a year ago when Craig Venter announced that his lab had created a bacterial cell with a synthetic genome. See: Creationists React to Venter’s Breakthrough, Part 6, which links to our earlier posts in that series.
The granddaddy of all origin of life research is the famous Miller-Urey experiment of 1953, which synthesized organic compounds from inorganic precursors, and which definitely belongs in science textbooks. Our last post about it was Discovery Institute: Ignore the Miller-Urey Experiment!
That article, like today’s, is by Casey Luskin, everyone’s favorite creationist. Casey is the only non-fellow among the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
Casey’s latest is titled Miller-Urey Experiment “Icon of Evolution” Alive and Well in Proposed Texas Instructional Materials. He says:
In his path-breaking book Icons of Evolution, biologist Jonathan Wells exposed how many textbooks keep recycling inaccurate evidences for chemical and biological evolution (the “icons”) long after their pull date. … A prime example is the Miller-Urey origin of life experiment.
Four publishers — Apex Learning, Cengage Learning, School Education Group (McGraw Hill), and Technical Lab Systems — have proposed instructional materials for Texas that perpetuate classic errors about the famous experiment.
Imagine — science textbooks with “classic errors” (according to Casey and Wells). You know who Wells is. If not, see The Genius of Jonathan Wells.
Casey then repeats what he said three years ago when we last posted about him and Miller-Urey, only now he has science texts in Texas to complain about. As we read it, his big complaint is that those texts don’t have a section for Casey’s (and Wells’) objections. The essay ends up with this:
The big question now is whether the Texas State Board of Education will force publishers to correct this misinformation. More than a decade after Icons of Evolution — and more than a half-century after Miller-Urey — isn’t it time for students to get an accurate description of the facts about this 1950s experiment?
We won’t do it because it would be far too easy, but someone else might respond with something like: “Hey Casey, after more than a century and a half since Darwin published Origin of Species, isn’t it time for you Discoveroids to give up on creationism?”
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