Creationist Wisdom #242: Canadian Surprise

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Victoria News located in Victoria, British Columbia. The letter is titled Evidence for infinite alternatives lacking. We’ll give you a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. As we usually do we’ll omit the writer’s name and city.

The letter begins by referring to two earlier letters. The first was Believing in theory of evolution requires faith, which says “I have examined the theory of evolution and rejected it.”. That was followed by Evolution happens naturally, regardless of where faith lies, by John Taylor, and he seems quite sane. After mentioning them both, today’s writer says:

John Taylor’s letter disputing [the earlier creationist’s letter] contains its own contradiction. He talks about the animal breeders who developed different types of domestic animals and who inspired Darwin’s famous theory.

But Taylor’s example obviously requires very intentional and rational breeders. Darwin’s theory, however, depends on countless tiny, random variations turning out many higher orders of living beings purely by chance.

Random variations, purely by chance. Well, within the limits of organic chemistry, that’s how mutations occur, but the letter-writer left out natural selection — which isn’t random at all. Darwin never thought that natural selection involves nature going “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” to decide which individuals live long enough to reproduce. Anyway, today’s letter-writer continues:

Precisely because the odds – as calculated by various mathematicians – are so staggeringly against the present orderliness evolving in this way, some proponents of the godless explanation for life have resorted to the science fiction story line of an infinite number of universes to improve those odds.

Lordy, lordy. We haven’t seen that before. The conjectured multiverse is an attempt to respond to the fine-tuning argument, a/k/a the anthropic principle. In our humble opinion, the multiverse is an unverifiable solution to a non-existent problem. Opinions may vary about that, but the multiverse has no relationship to the theory of evolution. Let’s read on:

If there were such an infinity of universes, surely on one of them, or so goes the theory, life could have evolved in such an unlikely way.

That’s the letter-writer’s understanding of a connection between the multiverse and evolution. But no one claims that the presently-existing biosphere needs such an “explanation.” Life on earth, once it existed, could have evolved in any number of different ways. No one claims that the species we see today were mandated by evolution — not in this universe or any other. Well, creationists certainly think so, but that’s their problem, not ours. The letter continues:

Evidence for this infinity of alternatives is completely lacking, of course: that is why we say faith is involved in the evolutionary theory.

Yeah, okay. Here’s more:

Even more faith is required when you realize that Darwin’s theory, like Darwin himself, is ultimately the product of random chance variations, at least according to the theory.

What? Anyway, now we come to the very surprising end that our title promised you:

On the other hand, according to [the creationist’s letter], God created Darwin in His own likeness – with reason. And He created all life likewise in a rational, ordered and loving way, which is the true meaning of the Genesis account of Creation – a way that easily includes evolution.

That’s a very strange ending — Genesis plus theistic evolution. Ah well, that’s how it goes in British Columbia. It’s good to see that the US isn’t the only place where such people are to be found.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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7 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #242: Canadian Surprise

  1. NeonNoodle

    That’s pretty much what I was taught at my Roman Catholic grade school, before I left the faith altogether. Evolution is a God-created mechanism, one that is not necessarily at odds with religion.

  2. Off Topic (SC, you will enjoy the illustrations):

    http://io9.com/5906922/in-the-1870s-charles-darwin-was-the-theme-of-a-downright-deranged-mardi-gras-parade?tag=secret-history

    “In the 1870s, Charles Darwin was the theme of a downright deranged Mardi Gras parade…”

  3. I agree with the writer that evidence for alternate universes is lacking – some say we may never have actual evidence, even if it is true. Who knows if that hypothesis will stand the test of time.

    But what the bleep does that have to do with evolution? Does the writer actually think, even for a moment, that physicists who hypothesize multiverses do so to help out their poor suffering biologist friends? That they’re not actually working on legitimate cosmological problems?

    A better question is, “does the writer actually think?”

  4. Gabriel Hanna

    “The conjectured multiverse is an attempt to respond to the fine-tuning argument, a/k/a the anthropic principle. ”

    I disagree that this is what the multiverse responds to. That’s creationist propaganda, and we’ve heard it so long maybe we forget it’s a lie.

    The multiverse is analagous to electric fields. If we assume their existence it becomes a lot easier to figure other things out. If there are no fields, charges all the across the universe from each other somehow know where they are and put out forces accordingly.

    Likewise, if the multiverse is not there, somehow particles figure out all the possible things they could do, and somehow conspire with each other to do something collectively that is equal to a weighted average of all the possible things. If the multiverse IS there, then each particle does its own thing.

    That is what the multiverse is an attempt to–not explain, exactly, but look at in a potentially more fruitful way.

  5. aturingtest

    Gabriel Hanna: “…charges all the across the universe…”
    Jai Guru Deva. Ommmmm…
    Now that I’ve got that out of my system…
    This guy’s letter? Weirdest. Strawman. Ever.

  6. Gabriel Hanna says: “I disagree that this is what the multiverse responds to.”

    I’m sure you would know. But I always see it in the context of a rebuttal to the fine-tuning issue, so I assumed that was its origin. I yield to your expertise.