Creationist Wisdom #356: Thought Experiment

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Chillicothe Gazette of Chillicothe, Ohio. It’s titled Evolution doesn’t pass ‘thought experiment’ test. 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, but we will inform you that he writes a lot about the pulp and paper industry. Okay, let’s get started:

Some movements have obtained the caché of being “cool,” and hence have become accepted as the absolute truth — without rigorous examination by learned, unbiased parties. … We’ll tackle evolution this week.

This should be good. We’re told that evolution has been accepted without rigorous examination, only because it’s “cool.” Today’s letter writer is going to set us straight. It’s about time someone did this. Here it comes:

In the case of evolution, these absolutes include: the theories were created by humans; the theories are refuted by humans; there are many species of living things on the earth; new species continue to be found; some species appear to be close relatives to humans, such as gorillas (we share 98 percent of their DNA); scientists continue to look for a “missing link” between humans and similar species; and there has not been one scientific study attempting to find the missing link between giraffes and fresh water perch.

If that last item surprised you, the letter-writer explains:

I threw in the giraffes and perch because I find it curious that nearly all the efforts to establish evidence of evolutionary links involve humans. I leave it for you to ponder why this is.

He’s right, of course. All of biology is the study of human-ape evolution. Nobody bothers to do anything else. Let’s read on:

Evolutionary theory would have us believe that somewhere there was a pot of primordial soup from whence we all came. Of course, we are left hanging on the question of how this porridge came to be — scientists have no time to ponder that. Anyway, suppose this porridge did magically appear somewhere. Now, this porridge, to follow the theory, had to be nonorganic because the next piece of theory requires it sit around for a few zillion years. Organic matter could not survive that long.

Right — organic matter just doesn’t survive very long. We assume that if he had time, the letter-writer could easily explain away certain discoveries, such as Super-complex organic molecules found in interstellar space, and Astronomers discover complex organic matter in the universe. Oh — wait a minute! He’s already done that. Get this:

If you doubt this, conduct your own experiment. Take a small bowl of milk and sit it on your kitchen countertop for two weeks. I suspect you will find it has degraded. Milk is organic.

Excellent! We continue:

Do cells mutate and become something they were not (another essential element of evolution theory)? To this we can say with full certainty, “yes.” Anyone who has had cancer, including me, will agree with the idea that cells mutate. However, that is not the right question.

Okay, what’s the right question? He tells us:

The right question is, “Do cells mutate into something useful?” like, say, an eyeball, or a skunk or a giraffe? An affirmative answer to this is an essential cornerstone of the theory of evolution. To my knowledge, there is no concrete evidence of this.

This guy knows what he’s doing. He’s got us on the run! Here’s more:

Albert Einstein was no doubt a great physicist and mathematician. He wrote equations that, despite my years of engineering calculus, physics and chemistry, I barely can understand. Yet, Einstein always believed the proof of his theories required the ability to explain them to children. For this he conjured up “thought experiments” which are clear, concise and even my 4-year-old grandson can understand.

The proof of a theory requires explaining it to children? And that’s why Einstein used thought experiments? We never knew that. It’s amazing what one can learn from a letter-to-the-editor. Moving along:

This was his test: Any theory must stand up to the rigors of the simple thought experiment. Evolution theory does not pass this test.

Don’t you feel stupid, college boy? Your brains have been blown out — Bada-bing! — all over your nice Ivy League suit. And now we come to the end:

So, the next time someone throws evolution theory at you, I suggest you ask them for the simple “thought experiment” version. And never, never let them tell you, “You are too stupid to understand.” Einstein would not have stood for it.

Great letter. A splendid addition to our collection.

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

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16 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #356: Thought Experiment

  1. I believe that ‘thought experiments’ are the only type of experiments that creationists are capable of.

  2. What our intrepid letter writer of Chillicothe, Ohio neglects in his “thought experiment” about Einstein’s “equations that, despite [his] years of engineering calculus, physics and chemistry, [he] barely can understand” is that Einstein was ably helped along by Marcel Grossman who was unable to explain absolute differential calculus to his 4-year-old grandson. That’s where general relativity totally comes adrift. 😉

    The easy and brash facility with which stupidity and ignorance manage to trump good science in the layman’s mind will be our undoing yet, I fear.

  3. Caché — I don’t entirely follow the writer’s intent either. I think he means to say that evolution is secretly held to be cool by the scientists who have been captured by it… 🙄

  4. … We’ll tackle evolution this week.

    Maybe this is a weekly humor column.

    I wonder what else he’s subjected to “rigorous examination by learned, unbiased parties.” The moon landings, perhaps?

  5. Thought experiments? Creationists? Clearly impossible as it requires thought.

  6. Just for the record, the TimeTree app indicates that the last common ancestor of the giraffe and the perch lived just about 400 million years ago.

  7. “Caché”?

    I suspect he meant “cachet.”

  8. So evolution fails the thought-experiment-experiment, it can’t be explained to children. Einstein’s theories of relativity can be explained to children, so it’s true, even though the writer admits he doesn’t understand it himself … ?

  9. Creationists can’t do lab experiments because they don’t have labs, and they can’t do thought experiments because…

  10. Ceteris Paribus

    “a pot of primordial soup”

    Mmm – Primordial soup! Can’t beat it on a crisp autumn day, with maybe a little grating of primeval Parmesan cheese on top, and a slab of aboriginal multi-grain bread, just out of the oven.

  11. “Take a small bowl of milk and sit it on your kitchen countertop for two weeks. I suspect you will find it has degraded.”

    Methinks he’s been drinking too much of his of his experimental results and his mind has degraded, though it doesn’t have far to go.

  12. The comments on that column are great. Here’s my favorite:

    A breathtakingly brilliant article. I love these parody websites, where gifted young writers pretend to be dim witted old codgers who don’t know their genes from their jeans. They seem to be able to construct the most incredibly incoherent arguments full of non sequiturs and logical fallacies and wrap them up in nonsense just for our amusement. Well, this beats The Onion for laughs this week. Excellent, well done Chillicothe Gazette, you have made my evening.

  13. “Thompson, who graduated from Hillsboro High School, is a consultant in the pulp and paper industry and also a columnist.”

  14. “Take a small bowl of milk and sit it on your kitchen countertop for two weeks. I suspect you will find it has degraded.”

    You may also find that the milk has a bunch of life-forms in it, that weren’t there when you first poured the milk. Not that this is evolution, mind you. Just a thought expiriment.

    And I’m pretty sure Einstein believed in evolution, didn’t he?