Creationist Wisdom #254: Lies, All Lies!

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Busselton-Dunsborough Mail, a weekly newspaper in Busselton, Western Australia. The title is Evolution devoid of scientific evidence. 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. Here we go:

Tom McAuliffe wrote recently on belief systems (May 16). He made it clear that his is evolution.

That earlier letter is here: Evolution is fact and scientifically grounded. It’s quite rational, and thus it triggered today’s letter, which is not. Stay with us and you’ll see, as the letter continues:

[T]he quality of being well informed should be fundamental to persons who make doctrinal statements in the guise of being scientific, people such as the very public, very vocal Darwinist Richard Dawkins who Tom McAuliffe seems to mimic.

Oooooooh — Dawkins! Let’s read on:

In his most recent letter this person states as fact, the principles of an often quoted fantasy of Darwin, of which he wrote in a letter to a friend, the section in parenthesis are Darwin’s also:

[The letter-writer purports to quote from the 1887 edition of the life and letters of Charles Darwin:] “But if (and oh! What a big if!) We could conceive in some warm little pond, with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, light, heat, electricity etc, present, that a protein compound was chemically formed ready to undergo more complex changes”

Maybe Darwin did write a letter in which he elaborated on his “warm little pond” conjecture. If so, today’s letter-writer doesn’t like it. The letter continues:

This idea has been discredited by evolutionists such as SJ Gould and Fred Hoyle.

Hoyle (of Hoyle’s Fallacy, a/k/a “tornado in a junkyard”) was an evolutionist? Who knew? And did Gould reject the chemical origin of life? Anyway, here’s more:

Consider your simple bacteria from Darwin’s pond, this blob of protein then had to become many proteins and nucleotides, (complex compounds), forming themselves into the necessary organs inside the host organism, and develop a genetic code to provide for every aspect of its physical existence before the bug could even reproduce itself. This had to happen in the life span of that very first organism or, no life, no evolution!

Wow — everything had to happen all at once! That’s a powerful argument. Moving along:

Evolution is devoid of the scientific evidence and is in a litany of misrepresentations, fakes, and straight-out lies.

Ain’t it the truth? And now we come to the end:

It becomes more impossible as knowledge increases, as has the now discredited “big bang”, which for decades we were assured was proven mathematically.

First evolution, now the big bang. Lies, all lies! So there you are, dear reader.

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

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31 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #254: Lies, All Lies!

  1. As an encore, the letter writer proves that Do means Don’t and Don’t means Do, and gets himself run over at a crosswalk.

    (with apologies to Douglas Adams)

  2. When you live in Western Australia, its a long long way to the library.
    Just you, the sheep, the stars, The Old Testament and the letter writer’s meth.
    Hey, the NY Times has a very good piece on microbacteria ecology
    in the human body today as it relates to the emerging microbial ecology field in medicine. Turns out that there is something called The Microbiome Project that has been mapping human body bacteria DNA to support identifying how understanding them that might assist in treatments of various illnesses. Apparently it might be better to be target specific and to introduce, “good” bacteria , than nuking everything with an antibiotic.
    Evolution, bah humbug. Lets get back to some nice Biblical plagues, its good for the creationism business.

  3. SC, I have some comments on your writing style.

    First, when most evolutionists take apart creationist writing, they start at the TOP of the creationists essay, and go through it in order, paragraph by paragraph, pointing out the falsehoods, in order. I feel this is a bad style, because creationists know to jazz up their first few paragraphs with some science jargon and maybe some facts that are not inaccurate.

    But all creationist arguments logically depend upon factual falsehoods (as well as God-of-the-Gaps logic). The thing is that they bury their most outrageous and most crucial falsehood about four-fifths of the way down through their essay. The really important falsehood, which I call “The Howler”, is always near the bottom.

    I feel your writing (and all anti-creationist writing) would be more effective if we read creationist articles backwards, starting at the bottom and moving up. Or, better, just find the Howler, go straight to the Howler, start with the Howler. I want to know what is this creationist’s Howler by paragraph #1 or #2 in your blog posts. Personally, that’s what I want.

    Gimme the Howler quickly. No foreplay. I want it, and I want it now.

    Secondly, please don’t respond to the Howler with only sarcasm. Please correct the Howler with some facts succinctly described, PLUS sarcasm. Sometimes you do this; sometimes you give us only sarcasm, which can get tiring.

    The falsehoods and errors at the start of the creationist essay are usually minor and not crucial to their logic; we can deprioritize those and address them near the bottom of our refutations, if there’s time and space.

  4. Spector567

    Ah but the point here is not to correct the creationists errors. They don’t care and they will not read this blog. the point is to mock them.

  5. Diogenes says:

    Gimme the Howler quickly. No foreplay. I want it, and I want it now.

    Sorry. Creationist letters-to-the-editor are an art form, and must be appreciated as they roll.

    Secondly, please don’t respond to the Howler with only sarcasm. Please correct the Howler with some facts succinctly described, PLUS sarcasm.

    I’ve been through hundreds of these things, and many of my readers have come along for the whole ride. The refutations have all been given before, some of them dozens of times, so I often don’t repeat that, as virtually everyone around here knows that stuff. But I always lay on the sarcasm, which is sometimes all the letter deserves.

  6. @Diogenes: Seconded.

  7. @ The Curmudgeon: Sorry, I posted before your response appeared on my screen.

  8. NeonNoodle

    Secondly, please don’t respond to the Howler with only sarcasm…

    If anything, SC should be commended on his restraint. Many of these letter-writers deserve to be throttled, not just ridiculed. And sometimes there are too many “howlers” to choose from. What’s a curmudgeon to do?

  9. NeonNoodle

    I was going to add that in my experience, militant creationists (the kind who write indignant letters to the editor) come equipped with a kind of logic forcefield. Facts and reason bounce right off them, like bullets off Superman. You’ll never sway those minds, or what there is of them. Sarcasm is at least fun. I think the bigger issue is to point the way for the next generation, which seems to respond well to humor (i.e; The Daily Show, Colbert Report, etc) as a learning tool.

  10. Well I will say I like curmie’s style alot. However, I will also say that Diogenes
    appears to be a thoughtful and skilled student of language and argument,
    and, it would appear, has strong opinions on style. I don’t write well, so, I learned something. Howler monkeys, an interesting ecologic niche.
    Kind of like a creationist. Yell a lot at signs of intelligent life around you and you may survive.
    Until an eagle grabs you from above.

  11. “Howler” I like that. It reminds me of laughing loudly.

    I have found that when a creationist argument is presented and I don’t know how to refute it, I quickly discover how through Google and thinking.

    However, when refutations are presented by the SC they are often very helpful and appreciated.

    Perhaps someday the Curmudgeon would accept guest articles for his blog and Diogenes erudite writing could be featured.

  12. NeonNoodle says: “Sarcasm is at least fun. I think the bigger issue is to point the way for the next generation, which seems to respond well to humor”

    Right. If I approached this stuff with grim seriousness, determined to point out every error, it would be very boring, and I would have burned out long ago. I can only keep going because it’s fun. And I agree, ridicule can be a very effective method of communication. Besides that, it’s safer than insults, which are cheap and easy, and can sometimes get a blogger in trouble. Additionally, ridicule hurts more. Creationists can easily shrug off insults, but they desperately want to be taken seriously — no one likes being laughed at.

  13. I have nothing against sarcasm! I love sarcasm. However, if you watch The Daily Show, they show a clip of a politician saying Thing #1 today, and then IMMEDIATELY a clip of same politician saying the opposite two years ago. The less time there is between contradictory statements, the more devastating the effect.

    Evolutionists just miss this point. For example, Troy Britain “Playing Chess with Pigeons” just wrote a beautiful, beautiful, detailed post on gill slits, embryology, the left recurrent laryngeal nerve, etc. and the lies creationists tell about them. Wonderful.

    But poorly structured! He quotes a creationist, and then presents facts contradicting said creationist 13 paragraphs later! For example, creationists say: “Evolutionists teach that embryos breathe through their so-called gill slits”. Troy Britain contradicts: the ONLY scientist who EVER thought embryos breathe through their gill slits was Louis Agassiz… and he was a creationist.

    Brilliant refutation, but it’s at about paragraph #25!!!

    I want the Howler! Go straight to the Howler! Do not pass Go! Do not collect $200!

  14. Jason Lane says: “Perhaps someday the Curmudgeon would accept guest articles for his blog and Diogenes erudite writing could be featured.”

    No need. He has his own blog. Check it out: Diogenes’Lamp.

  15. Thanks for the plug… Obviously I haven’t posted for a while… But I AM going to get back to it.

  16. I must say I enjoy the light-hearted tone of this blog. Creationists are very irritating – I especially get wound up over the bald-faced lies in most of their epistles – so it’s rather therapeutic to just settle back and have a good laugh at them. We also get into some rather good debates in the comments section, and a number of the regulars clearly know their stuff, so whatever logical fallacies, lies, quote mines, etc. there are in the subject are quickly pointed out by the commenters if they are not directly addressed by SC.

    The humorous tone of this blog, from SC and most of the commentors, also makes it a welcome place to participate in discussions.

    Besides, if there is a howler, I like to build up to it rather than have it at the beginning. To put it first would be like telling the punch line before the joke.

  17. Going in chronological order also makes it easier to refer to the original letter.

  18. I understand this opinion. But personally, I feel creationists are much, much better at rhetoric than we evolutionists are. Sure, they suck at science, but man they know how to be succinct, how to craft a slogan, how to sum up in a one-liner (what they perceive to be) the self-contradictions of evolutionary theory.

    Consider the creationists line, re: dating of fossils: “They (evolutionists) date the fossils from the strata, and date the strata from the fossils! Circular logic!”

    Man that’s succinct. Of course it’s bull, scientifically. But it does succinctly describe their beliefs about stratigraphy (if not stratigraphy itself.)

    If they can sum up our (alleged) self-contradictions in one-liners, why can’t we sum up their real self-contradictions? Of which there are plenty. They contradict themselves CONSTANTLY.

    But we don’t exploit it! Every time they contradict themselves, we should craft a perfect little one-liner to sum up their nonsense.

    Things like:

    “Evolution cannot be falsified. This evidence disproves it.”

    “No scientist dares speak out against the dogma of evolution. Here are some quotes from scientists “admitting” evolution is false.”

    “Creationism can never be disproven because it is based on the absolute truth of the infallible Word of God! Creationism should be taught in public schools because one man’s opinion is as good as another.”

    “If scientists don’t describe in detail every kind of evidence that supports evolution, that means there is no evidence for evolution. If scientists do talk about the evidence for evolution, they’re ramming their atheist religion down our throats.”

    And many, many others.

    [adapted with thanks from KentHovind.com]

  19. Diogenes wrote: “… if we read creationist articles backwards, …”

    .way that sense more make even might They

    As for the Howlers, I often can’t get past the first paragraph of Creationist babble, much less dissect the finer points of how wrong they are. The sentence or two is generally enough to kick me into full sarcasm mode. I suppose that’s not good argument practice, and maybe it is laziness on my part not to bother with the long diatribes.
    On the plus side, I skip a lot of long diatribes.

    That said, I am currently pondering responding to a long diatribe – practically three whole sermons worth from some AiG goon in response to my short and very tempered sarcasm at a Nature.com article. I should probably let it go, but he was so amazingly sanctimonious that it makes me want to take some more pokes at him.

  20. Where was that, TA?

  21. @Diogenes: Here, which takes you to the comment I originally responded to, and the next two comments are mine. There is a mildly uninteresting backstory. The long-winded Creationist is “Bonesiii Dromer” (but that’s sort of obvious).

  22. will Fraser

    TA I’ve learned that leaving a tomato on the kitchen window sill makes for an awesome BLT.
    I’d get some toast and bacon working before
    you slice up that 3 sanctimonious letter tomato.
    Will

  23. Oh, and I replied to Dromer later on, which really set him off. 😉
    I might add that the Nature Community Guidelines seem to be pretty strictly enforced, as our friend Gary Hurd got banned there. I carefully toned-down my first-draft responses before posting. Hopefully a bit still shines through?

  24. @WIll: Don’t you know tomatoes are dangerous? You should leave such things to the professionals.

    I probably should have sliced this guy up two weeks ago, but I’ve been a busy Solanaceae. Having just skimmed his comments again, I’m tempted to put him in the Time Cube file and leave it alone.

    But …
    At one point he asks me to “Look in the mirror, and listen to your conscience, sir.”, and this where he shows real arrogance. Why does a Creationists assume I haven’t already consulted my conscience?

  25. Diogenes says: “I feel creationists are much, much better at rhetoric than we evolutionists are. … Every time they contradict themselves, we should craft a perfect little one-liner to sum up their nonsense.”

    The liar always has an advantage in a controlled debate environment. It’s not rhetorical skill. The problem is that it’s so much easier to lie than to correct the lie. I could, with one word, claim that you were born out of wedlock. To correct me you’d have to run around gathering documentation. By then I’ve gone on to give five more revivals and I’ve uttered 500 more lies.

  26. aturingtest

    Bottom line- “goddidit’ is just so much easier to understand than the science, which doesn’t, after all, actually even deny that; it only tries to explain how he did it, if you just must presuppose him to begin with. If the science concerning “how?” was as easy to understand as the dogma(s) surrounding “who?”, there would be, for most reasonable people, no conflict between the two. So when TA’s Droner complains that “evolutionists” aren’t giving creationism a fair hearing, by not reading their arguments, he “scorns” science, himself, by projecting on to it his own inability (or unwillingness) to consider it: and he overestimates his own capacity to even get what science is saying.

    TA, I read some of that exchange between you and Dromer (I mentally labeled him “Droner” about halfway through his first little speech). When he began with “Evolutionists need to learn that scorn has no place in science.
    Scientists have been making this mistake over and over again throughout the years — scorn against plate tectonics, expanding universe, round Earth, etc. It is wrong, and you need to stop it”, I had an absolutely mad fit of giggles, picturing him with prim and pursed mouth, wagging his finger and saying “you boys just stop it now, do you hear me?” After that, I’m afraid my eyes glazed over and rolled up to the back of my head.

    (BTW- I though your response to his “scorn” comment – “Scientists are first and foremost scornful of science. Old ideas and concepts are constantly torn down and replaced by new knowledge based on evidence”- was perfect. Of course, he didn’t get that, either.)

  27. Science in general needs better PR.

    Alain de Botton suggests learning from religion. They are far more effecient in spreading information and maintaining it.

  28. mickthephysicist

    I really do wish people who disagree with something would at the very least do everyone a favour by finding out what it is they disagree with…

    It really is face-palming to see someone disagree with things that are imagined nonsense to begin with!

    The most embarrassing thing is that they oft quote some really famous individuals (usually the same list of Gould, Darwin, Dawkins, Einstein etc.) and the really funny thing is that none of them have actually read a word of the stuff with the exception of the quote mine they copied and pasted.

    It reminds me of a country hick standing outside a cave with a sick prodding the darkness and giggling since he thinks there is no bear in the cave and it makes him look really brave to the other morons around him. Now if science were to respond by reaching out of the cave and clobbering him over the head it’d give the other idiots something to think about!

    In my analogy there what I am suggesting is that science should lobby back! treat governments with the disrespect they have earned as hard and with as much threat as the creationist lobby does… a quick threat of “play ball we will export our research and the patents that go with it to china” would do the trick rather nicely!

  29. mickthephysicist says: “treat governments with the disrespect they have earned”

    They’ve certainly earned it. But when they get desperate, we end up with the Manhattan Project and NASA. They don’t turn to preachers. But that requires desperation. Otherwise, they’re quite happy to pander to the low end.

  30. @Tomato Addict: Brian Josephson, forsooth. What a day. When men of science go wrong they go really wrong, don’t they? Or women too (lloking at you Lynn Margulis).

  31. @Gabriel: At least Josephson acknowledges the fundamental philosophical different between science and religion, even if he disagrees with it. He also tried to get evidence to support his belief (the Mind-Matter Unification project). Josephson might be a little nutty, but he is still better than your average Creationist.

    For those still interested, or exceptionally bored, I posted another response to Mr. Droner the Creationist at Nature (scroll WAY down for it).