Creationist Wisdom #299: The Second Law

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears at the website TC Palm, which hosts several Florida newspapers and doesn’t bother to identify any of them, but their weather reports are for places like Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, and Stuart, Florida. It’s titled Evolution theory takes leaps that are not possible for species. 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:

The Jan. 19 letter from Dan Vignau rebutting Joseph Hagan’s Jan. 7 letter contains misinformation.

He’s talking about this: Generations of research have backed up what Darwin deduced. That was a good letter, but we never blog about those because they’re no fun. Today’s letter, however, is a different matter. It continues:

Vignau uses breeds of dogs as an example of how evolution works, but then correctly calls it selective breeding, which is NOT evolution but the forced change to an organism caused by artificial means.

We know all about it, and so did Darwin. He started with human selection of animals and farm products, which is observed to cause changes in future generations of the species involved, and then he devised a theory about how natural forces also select for inherited effects. But you know all that. Let’s read on:

It can be deliberate, as the case with dogs, or accidental, as with hake crabs of Japan.

Those crabs are a good example of unintended selection by humans, and we’ve never seen the subject mentioned by one of these letter-writers before. Carl Sagan referred to them in his famous “Cosmos” series on television. Wikipedia mentions that in their article on Heikegani. See also Samurai Crabs. The letter continues:

Vignau states Charles Darwin didn’t have a theory until he visited an isolated area with life-forms never seen before. Not quite.

Yes, quite. Darwin’s five-year round-the-world voyage on the Beagle occurred when he was right out of divinity school. He didn’t conceive of his theory of natural selection until he read Malthus, a couple of years after his return home. Here’s more:

What Darwin found, among other things, were finches of many different species unlike those anywhere else.

Good grief! Darwin found a whole boatload of specimens, and the finches were relatively trivial — although much has been made of them since. Moving along:

As a side note, all the finches were, in fact, the same species. Darwin based his findings on the differences in the beaks. Recent research has shown they are all the same species but have adapted different beaks to coincide with the niches to which they have adapted.

Darwin had considerably more evidence than those finches. By the way, they’ve been classified into several species — and technically they’re not finches. You can read about them here: Darwin’s finches. Another excerpt from today’s letter:

As with many others, some use “evolution” to describe what is really adaptation. There have never been any data showing evolution itself. Evolution, the idea that everything evolved from a simple organism to the more complex, has never been observed anywhere in nature.

How does “adaptation” occur, and how does that differ from evolution? The letter-writer doesn’t tell us. As for his claim that evolution has never been observed, we won’t bother refuting that again; we’ve done it too many times already. On with the letter:

This is where the second law of thermodynamics comes into play. It is correct to state that evolution violates the second law since this law is a statement on entropy. Everything runs down, not up. Evolution, by definition, is an upward process. Therefore, it violates this law.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We won’t waste your time refuting that either. Besides, the letter-writer is obviously correct — that’s why the whole universe is nothing more than plasma. That ol’ second law has degraded everything. And now we come to the end:

Cats don’t become dogs; mice don’t become elephants. There is no proof of evolution from lower to higher forms of life or from one family of animals to another as required by evolution.

So there you are, dear reader. Cats don’t become dogs, adaptation isn’t evolution, and the second law of thermodynamics too. This was quite a letter.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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12 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #299: The Second Law

  1. Evolution, the idea that everything evolved from a simple organism to the more complex, has never been observed anywhere in nature.

    You got us. We have never observed every single living thing evolving from a single, simple organism. [facepalm]

  2. How often there are arguments supposedly against evolution which turn out to be at least as good as arguments for Scientific Storkism.

  3. Alex Shuffell

    So the writer believes in evolution but just calls it adaptation because he has one of those insane creationist taught ideas of what evolution actually is. The second law of Thermodynamics violate evolution but not adaptation, even with his insane straw-men posse he’s still contradicting himself.

  4. @TomS. Please help me. I’m losing the will to keep going. And it’s not the “creationists” but fellow “Darwinists” who are making me lose hope.

    If this 2LOT-parroting clown really thinks that “leaps” are “impossible” for species then he needs to take it up with Behe, who makes it clear in “Edge of Evolution” that he does not. Maybe families and orders, but not species. Even then he makes it clear everywhere that whatever “leaps” do occur, do so in-vivo. So if this clown doesn’t think he shares common ancestors with dogs and/or dogwoods, that’s another whine he needs to direct to “blessed Be-he” not to “Darwinists.” As for “impossible” he needs to whine to Dembski for formalizing the a bait-and-switch with “improbable.”

  5. Jim Thomerson

    Creationist comments like the above examples seem to me to be the result of a mix of ignorance, stupidity, and dishonesty. if mostly made in ignorance, the creationist can learn better, should they wish to. If stupidity, perhaps the creationist could find understandable simplified explanations. If dishonest, best we can do is not let it go unremarked.

  6. Mice DO become Elephants. Or at least there is good reason to think they can do so in a quite modest amount of geologic time.

  7. Tomato Addict says: “Mice DO become Elephants.”

    Yes, they do. Mouse to Elephant in 24 Million Generations.

  8. doodlebugger

    This IS a very good letter SC. As Ken Mercer., the recently voted out
    failed vice chairman of the Texas SBOE so precosciously stated
    ” Have you ever seen a cat _ rat? “Game, set and match. Thanks for sharing Ken!

  9. doodlebugger

    Tomato Do mice become elephants or just make friends with lions?

  10. Ceteris Paribus

    Maybe someday a creationist will send a letter to the editor explaining how it happens that it is totally against the 2nd law of thermodynamics for deceased bodies to become zombies that go walking around the earth. And maybe even take great joy in sneaking up to our doorsteps if they have a mind to.
    But the creationists will also need to show how it is perfectly OK with the second law for equally dead bodies to get teleported someplace up in the sky, where they just play harp music all day and won’t bother us a bit.

  11. Jim Thomerson: “if mostly made in ignorance, the creationist can learn better, should they wish to.”

    My experience with rank-and-file evolution-deniers is that most do see where they were mistaken, and move on. Some just backpedal from “scientific” creationism to Omphalos (they still believe it, but admit that the evidence doesn’t support it, either “not yet” or “God is testing out faith”). Others who still need to cherry pick “evidences” backpedal from YEC to OEC. But most simply concede evolution, common descent and all.

    The problem is that most of the people who are on record are not rank-and-file deniers, but anti-evolution activists. Some may be irreversibly self-deluded, but some are just in on the scam.

  12. Ceteris Paribus: “Maybe someday a creationist will send a letter to the editor…”

    The letter-to-the-editor writer is a fascinating “transitional fossil” between rank-and-file evolution-denier and anti-evolution activist. Most write one letter, then when shown their embarrassing misconceptions, never do it again. But those who have crossed the line into activism will just use the experience to quietly abandon the arguments that fool the fewest members of the audience. They’ll learn to say as little as possible about what they think happened instead of evolution (not just “whodunit” but what, when how, etc.), and keep the focus on promoting unreasonable doubt of evoluton. Unfortunately the double standard that you point out is obvious to us, but most nonscientists, inlcuding most who accept evoluton, will simply not notice.