We spotted this one a couple of days ago at the website of WorldNetDaily (WND), the creationist outfit we already described this morning, so we won’t repeat ourselves. The article is titled Is evolution a crazy idea?
Because it’s published by WND, it won’t spoil things for you if we disclose that the conclusion is “yes.” But we find it especially amusing that the article appears beneath a banner that proclaims its author, Robert Ringer, to be “A Voice of Sanity.”
Who is Robert Ringer? At the end of the WND piece there’s a paragraph about him. It says:
Robert Ringer is a New York Times No. 1 best-selling author and host of the highly acclaimed “Liberty Education Interview Series,” which features interviews with top political, economic and social leaders. … To sign up for his one-of-a-kind, pro-liberty e-letter, A Voice of Sanity, click here [link omitted].
That “Voice of Sanity” banner seems to be for Ringer alone, because that’s the name of his email letter. There’s also an entry about the guy in Wikipedia, Robert J. Ringer, which informs us:
A devoted admirer of Ayn Rand, Ringer wrote his most politically-oriented work, Restoring the American Dream (1979), which dealt with various problems in the United States, and offering solutions through a laissez-faire free market libertarian perspective.
That sounds like he ought to be an intelligent fellow. Perhaps he was. But after we dig into his WND article you can reach your own judgment. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
I don’t have a religious dog in the evolution fight, so from a very young age I came at the theory of evolution from an intellectual, common-sense point of view. Even though I was predisposed to believing in evolution, what I found when I began reading up on the subject was that virtually every book began with the premise that evolution was a fact.
How much “reading up on the subject” did he do if he doubted the fact of evolution? Our guess is “not much,” because look what he says next:
To my surprise, however, the more I read, the more evolution sounded like something out of “Aesop’s Fables.” Inanimate matter “evolving” into an animal, and an animal evolving into a human being? It seemed to me to be an idea that required a size extra-large imagination.
His reading must have been limited to Jack Chick comics. Next he gives one of the standard creationist arguments — using a monkey at a keyboard — to show how “the odds” are against evolution, after which he concludes:
It doesn’t matter how many chimpanzees or how much time you allow, not even one line of one great work could come into existence through pure chance. Given that you are infinitely more complex than a single line in a book, what are the odds that you, with all of your billions of precise, specialized cells, accidentally evolved from “primordial soup” over a period of a few billion years?
We can understand that Ringer never read our post, The Inevitability of Evolution (Part III), but that contains no original arguments. It also appears that he never heard of Richard Dawkins’ Weasel program. In other words, Ringer doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Building upon that flimsy foundation, he goes on to claim:
Thus, evolution in a random universe – i.e., a universe without a Supreme Power Source – would appear to be a mathematical impossibility. As with such phenomena as wind and gravity, it would seem that the only way evolution could have come into existence is through the work of a Higher Power that is beyond human understanding. Not an old man in the sky, as atheists like to mockingly portray this Power, but an invisible, conscious source of power that man can never hope to comprehend.
To summarize so far, having proclaimed the impossibility of something we know to be perfectly possible by understandable and natural means, Ringer takes a wild leap into the uncharted beyond and declares that Oogity Boogity! is the only sensible answer.
Then he quote-mines Stephen Jay Gould, as creationists often do. We’ll skip that. Next — now convinced that his logic is undeniable — he states his “conclusion” yet again:
[A] religionist has no reason to fear evidence that supports evolution, for it is almost certain that evolution, if there really is such a thing, is not powered by randomness, but by a Supreme Power Source that we can never hope to understand.
Now we’ll go to Ringer’s final paragraph. He anticipates criticism, but it won’t bother him:
Now, you’ll have to excuse me while I put on my flack jacket and prepare for the backlash that is sure to come from angry readers who either view belief in a Higher Being as a sign of an irrational mind or believe that I’m an apostate for not sticking more closely to scripture. Or, to borrow from Jon Huntsman, just call me crazy.
As we said at the beginning, the amusing thing about this is that Ringer writes under a banner proclaiming him to be “A Voice of Sanity.” We report, you decide.
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