Creationist Wisdom #347: The Bible Teacher

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in an unnamed Gannett newspaper hosted at — possibly the Journal and Courier of Lafayette, Indiana — and it’s titled Running Down Evolution.

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. However, there’s a brief biographical sketch of the letter-writer at the end describing various occupations he’s had, and the last item on that list says that he “has taught the Bible in a local church for over 12 years.” Okay, here we go:

The Wednesday Journal and Courier Opinions Page carried a guest column by Mark Levinthal, titled, “Running down evolution without fact, without reason.” I was amazed that it got published, because it had no hyperlinks embedded in it to substantiate the various and sundry assertions it posited. Whenever I submit a column to the J&C, they challenge me to provide corroborating sources, and if you read them online, those statements are highlighted as hyperlinks.

Here’s the earlier column that today’s letter-writer is complaining about: Running down evolution without fact, without reason. It’s a well-written defense of something we wrote about before: Statement from Ball State University’s President. Ball State University’s President, Jo Ann Gora, had said that intelligent design is religion, not science. Today’s letter-writer doesn’t like it, or the column that defended it. He starts with that column’s conclusion, about which he says:

The exciting conclusion of it is this:

[He quotes the conclusion:] “Finally, the theory of evolution was not designed to or claimed to explain the origin of the universe or the origin of life, but to explain the observation that all the current living organisms (on Earth, at least) had a common ancestor 3.8 billion years ago.”

What’s wrong with that? You’re about to find out:

The Theory of Evolution has been credited for over a century to Charles Darwin’s magnum opus, “The Origin of Species.” The controversy revolves around the word, “Origin.” “Natural Selection” is separate from “origin.” Natural Selection is adaptation, not origin. Mr. Levinthal uses the word twice in his concluding paragraph to assert that “origin” was never at issue. Why then is it in the title of the seminal work that spawned the debate?

Hey, yeah — Darwin’s title includes the word “Origin.” So it’s supposed to be about the origin of the universe! Bet ya never thought about that, did ya? Let’s read on:

I’m not a scientist. [We wouldn’t have guessed that.] But I’d be willing to wager a week’s wages that no laboratory has ever observed and recorded new information added to the DNA of any species of anything that developed new features. DNA is a language in and of itself, much more complex and intricate than any computer program ever devised by man. Of all the computer programs you use, of all the apps on your phone, I guarantee you that none of them ever spontaneously manifested themselves from an amalgamation of random electrons floating through the universe.

He makes one powerful point after another. The letter continues:

Mr. Levinthal [who wrote the earlier column] posited as an example, “The widespread use of antibiotics in agriculture creates a natural selection for the resistant bacteria.” I hate to point out the obvious, but the term, “creates” negates “natural selection.” The conditions he cites were created, not evolved.

The letter-writer strikes again! This guy is good! Here’s more:

In terms of origins, the theory of Evolution differs nothing from the theory of “Spontaneous Generation,” which was refuted in the 1800’s through the advent of the microscope. It defies the laws of bio-genesis and causality.

Spontaneous generation and the imaginary law of bio-genesis are both discussed in our Common Creationist Claims Confuted. As for evolution violating the “law of causality,” we’ll need to give that some thought. Of course, that’s not a problem for six-day creation, so Darwin’s the one in trouble. Moving along:

Levinthal writes, “In Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover, U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III ruled, ‘Intelligent Design cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents’… ‘is not science and cannot be adjudged a valid, accepted scientific theory as it has failed to publish in peer-reviewed journals, engage in research and testing, and gain acceptance in the scientific community.’”

Again, I am not a lofty judge of a U.S. District Court, nor am I a credentialed university professor. I don’t know what credentials a jurist has to distinguish science from mythology, since that is not their bailiwick. Nor am I able to enumerate the tenets of the so-called theory of intelligent design.

If the letter-writer is neither a scientist nor a federal judge, and he admits that he can’t describe intelligent design, why did he bother to write his letter? Oh, wait — he decides to wade in anyway:

From a layman’s perspective, I have to assume it can be summarized as, “There is evidence of intelligent design inherent in nature.” OK, the judge says that’s religion. Fine. What religion? Hindu? Mormon? Zoroastrian? Muslim?

Study the perfectly symmetric crystalline molecular structure of various elements and say there is no evidence of design there. Examine the poetry of flowers and engineering of insects and say no one thought that stuff up.

Although the letter-writer admits that he knows nothing, he neatly demolished the Kitzmiller case and the foolish arguments of all who deny the theory of intelligent design. This guy is smart! And he’s not done yet. He’s saved his best arguments for now:

Again, from the perspective of origins, the theory of Evolution has been likened to a tornado hitting a junkyard and randomly producing a 747, or a monkey sitting at a typewriter, randomly producing a Webster’s unabridged dictionary. In comparison to the complexity of DNA code, these scenarios are much more probable than an ostrich morphing from fungi. There’s no religion involved in merely pointing out the preposterous in the assertions of academia.

Great stuff! If the letter-writer thinks evolution is ridiculous, then it is ridiculous! Let’s see if there’s anything else worth excerpting. He says: “No transitional species have appeared in the geologic column. None. Zero.” That’s boring. Hey — this is good:

Apparent discoveries, producing the graphic we’ve all seen of a fish coming out of the water, progressing to a reptile, then a monkey, then a man, were all refuted after the advent of carbon-14 testing.

Wow — carbon-14 testing has disproved evolution! Betcha didn’t know that. There’s more to the letter, but we’ve excerpted enough. This was a good letter. It had an original argument or two, so it’s a fine addition to our collection.

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

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9 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #347: The Bible Teacher

  1. The Bible Teacher proclaims

    In comparison to the complexity of DNA code, these scenarios are much more probable than an ostrich morphing from fungi

    Sounds like a worthy addition to the ‘Crocoduck’ menagerie: Behold, the Mushrich!

    ….Or maybe it’s an Ostroom?

  2. The guy claims a lack of knowledge of the subject, then proves it.

  3. Christine Janis

    “Apparent discoveries, producing the graphic we’ve all seen of a fish coming out of the water, progressing to a reptile, then a monkey, then a man, were all refuted after the advent of carbon-14 testing.”

    This one’s a keeper! Doesn’t the author realise that he’s negated all possible credibility?

  4. the theory of Evolution has been likened to a tornado hitting a junkyard and randomly producing a 747

    But isn’t that precisely what the grand intelligent designer supposedly did? Didn’t start from little bits and add components, nope, did it all in one fell swoop, no ancestors, no fossils, nuthin’, straight from the pile of dirt.

  5. Megalonyx offers: “Behold, the Mushrich! ….Or maybe it’s an Ostroom?


  6. Stephen Kennedy

    His arguments make one wonder how he managed to graduate from high school with a 1.75 GPA since that would imply that he did not fail all of his courses, just most of them.

  7. The Bible Teacher is Mike Van Ouse, who writes a regular column in the Lafayette, Ind. Journal & Courier. A few days previous to the excellent letter that you referred to, “Running down evolution without fact, without reason”, Van Ouse had written a column blasting Ball State president Gora for her calling Intelligent Design a violation of academic integrity. It was the usual creationist, anti-science diatribe.

    Van Ouse’s credentials? He’s a machinist at a local gear-manufacturing factory.

    I had posted a link to the “Running down evolution without fact, without reason” letter a couple of days ago in the “Ball State Alumna” thread.

  8. Here’s the previous Mike Van Ouse column in the Lafayette, Ind. Journal & Courier that I couldn’t find at 1:18 am.

    It’s the column that Mark Levinthal responded to in his guest column, “Running down evolution without fact, without reason” referred to above.

    Van Ouse has in the past written mainly about his personal experiences, and at times can be humorous. This column plugging ID demonstrates clearly he should stick to writing about subjects he knows something about.

  9. retiredsciguy says: “Here’s the previous Mike Van Ouse column”

    Despite the earlier link you provided, I failed to follow through to pick up on the earlier episodes, so I arrived in the middle of the drama. Thanks for the context.