Creationist Wisdom #276: The Challenge

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Anderson Independent-Mail of Anderson, South Carolina. The letter is titled Reader offers challenge. 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. Okay, here we go:

In the last several years, I have written numerous letters to the Independent Mail in support of biblical creation and in opposition to Darwinian and punctuationalist evolution.

Ah, hard core! That’s what we all admire. The letter continues:

In none of those letters have I suggested that there is disagreement between the laws and principles of true science and the doctrines and principles of true biblical Christianity.

The letter-writer has a horribly abstruse prose style, but he seems to be saying that “true science” agrees with the bible. Of course — how else would he know it’s true? Let’s read on:

I will, without apology, state that there is strong disagreement with regard to the philosophical beliefs of the majority of secular scientists and the provable facts of science.

After more than two readings, we think the letter-writer is telling us — unapologetically! — that scientists don’t have any facts to back up their beliefs. Creationists don’t have that problem, of course, because the facts are all on their side. The letter continues:

Consider the concept of natural selection. When Darwin proposed natural selection as the mechanism of evolution in 1859, many scientists believed that they had found the proof of evolution and that God could be dismissed. But creationists wrote of natural selection years before Darwin. It was described as a conservation principle, that is, nature’s way of preventing the propagation of harmful mutations.

The letter-writer offers no names for those prescient creationists, nor does he explain how his dubious history has anything to do with the validity of natural selection as the principal mechanism of evolution. Here’s more:

In fact, Darwin’s mathematical theory did not explain the “survival” or the “arrival” of the fittest.

That, dear reader, is the sentence that salvaged this letter from oblivion and persuaded us to add it to our collection. Read it again. See if you can figure it out. What is there to explain about “survival”? If a critter doesn’t die before it reproduces, it has survived. As for the “arrival” part, we don’t know what he’s talking about — but it’s probably covered, somewhere, in “Darwin’s mathematical theory.” Moving along:

In essence, it stated that the “most fit” would produce the most offspring. The corollary was that those which produced the most offspring were the “most fit.” This is nothing but circular reasoning. It is “proving” evolution true by “assuming” that evolution is true.

Ah yes, survival of the fittest is a tautology — circular reasoning. Except that it’s not, and that ancient creationist clunker is discussed here, in the TalkOrigins Index to Creationist Claims. Another excerpt from today’s letter:

I repeat my challenge. Choose your venue. Provide one indisputable, irrefutable fact of science that proves evolution.

He wants one fact — just one. One fact is so much easier to dismiss than millions of them. We’ve already described the foolishness of that demand — see Where’s the Proof — Evolution’s “Smoking Gun”? And now we come to the end:

I contend that any supposed evidence for evolution can by refuted from the fields of science.

That’s his contention. We imagine he fantasizes that some champion of evolution will step forward and offer Piltdown Man as evidence, and — like a character in a Jack Chick comic — he’ll triumphantly show that it’s a fake. Such are the dreams of creationists.

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

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12 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #276: The Challenge

  1. I would have left the moron a bit o’ evidence but comments are disabled.

    Typical.

  2. Jim Thomerson

    I have a hobby of writing occasional letters to the editor. I have made it a practice; however, not to write in response to other letters.

    It worth mentioning that the various hoaxes, such as Piltdown man, have been refuted by scientists, not creationists.

  3. How interesting. The Anderson Independent Mail which printed Mr. M’s letter is just across the Savannah River from Paul Broun’s “straight from the pit of hell” Liberty Baptist Church. Once in a while, however, a creationist gets a fact right. Mr. M’s “creationists [sic] who wrote about natural selection” before Darwin quite possibly refers to British naturalist Edward Blyth (see Wikipedia) who in the 1830s proposed something like stabilizing selection. In Blyth’s view Providential design eliminated non-adapted forms that deviated from the created type. [OMG! He proposed that natural selection was intelligent design!!] Of course, this is just serves to show how logical natural selection is to a good naturalist, whatever his ideology, so long as he has not been poisoned against it, and how close this religious guy came to understanding biological evolution but blew it because of his creationist bias.

  4. These letters you find all seem to be from the South, where fundamentalism is in full swing. Interesting that the papers that publish them seem to relish in the anti-science stance of the writers, or are they publishing them just to show how stupid people can be?

  5. Ceteris Paribus

    @DavidK

    Stupidity is not confined to geographic location. It is just more out in the public in the US South where there is no winter and plenty of leisure to write letters.

    In the North the stupids are way to busy stocking their survival caves with freeze-dried food, and hoarding ammunition against the coming Canadian Socialist invasion to bother with sending letters to the editor.

  6. @ Ceteris Paribus….
    The Canadians are coming. Beware!!!!

    Age might also be a factor in the letters. A lot of people retire to the southern states so there is probally a greater number older people with a lot of time on there hands.

  7. @Ceteris Paribus

    Does this mean as global warming progresses, the stupids will migrate north, and New England will become indistinguishable from the deep south?

    Canada may need to beef up their border security.

  8. Ceteris Paribus

    @Ed: Interesting question. Anecdotal evidence suggest that stupids do not have a very good sense of direction, and may never get to New England.

    For example, the nickname “Hoosier” was said to have been given to emigrants from Kentucky who went north to find manufacturing jobs in Ohio and Michigan, but unfortunately got lost along the way and settled in Indiana instead.

  9. Jim Thomerson

    Simple Darwinian Fitness is how many offspring your raise to adulthood compared to the rest of your population. It is a definition. I wonder if all definitions could be considered circular reasoning, Would the letter writer think Force = Mass x Acceleration is circular reasoning?

  10. What self respecting newspaper would publish such insanity?

  11. I challenge any creationist to provide one argument in support of their position, just one, that doesn’t include lies, fibs, deliberate mischaracterizations, lies of omission, fabrications, untruths, falsehoods, demonstrable delusions, or just plain shameless ignorance about geology, biology, astronomy, physics, chemistry, science in general, or the nature of evidence.

  12. According to the letter writer, “…creationists wrote of natural selection years before Darwin. It was described as a conservation principle, that is, nature’s way of preventing the propagation of harmful mutations.”

    So, if the writer can accept this, why can’t he then accept that natural selection is nature’s way of promoting the propagation of beneficial mutations, thus leading to new species?

    W. Benson said it above — this religious guy came so close. Of course, there’s more to it than just mutations. Far, far more changes come about through the re-shuffling of genes as a result of sexual reproduction, but the result is the same — some individuals within a species have traits that give them an advantage, and they then are more likely to pass those traits into the next generation.