Creationist Wisdom #394: Multiple Blunders

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the La Crosse Tribune of La Crosse, Wisconsin. The letter is titled Evolution nothing more than a theory. Nice title!

We don’t like to embarrass people (unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures), so we’ll omit the writer’s full name and city. We will mention that his first name is Stephen. We Googled for his name, and all we know for sure is that he writes a lot of letters-to-the editor. We’ll give you a few excerpts from his latest, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. Okay, here we go:

Contrary to the column by Jeremy Fejfar (Sunday’s Tribune) [he refers to this: Truth of evolution not up for debate], Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution cannot simply be deemed to be the truth by force of popular opinion. If evolution is true, it would be Darwin’s law of evolution, not Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Aaaargh!! How difficult is it for creationists to learn that scientific theories never “graduate” to become laws? See Scientific Hypothesis, Theory, Law Definitions, and also Definitions of Fact, Theory, and Law in Scientific Work. But that’s not Stephen’s only blunder. It’s the first of many. Stay with us:

Fejfar is free to think up an experiment to prove the theory, although no one else has in the past 150 years.

Hey, Stephen, there’s no “proof” in this business — science isn’t geometry. There is dis-proof, of course; that’s what happened to this list of superseded scientific theories. In science, confidence in theories (not faith or belief) is earned by repeatedly testing their predictions — for example, see The Lessons of Tiktaalik. Let’s read on:

His appeal to the fallacy of authority opinion as proof is politics, not science. This faulty view of science is why we are presently plagued with so much corrupt and junk science.

No, Stephen. It’s not an appeal to authority — we leave that technique to creationists. Rather, our confidence in evolution is based on observable evidence — mountains of it. Stephen continues:

Anyone not ignorant of the history and development of science would know past accepted as truth theories, such as the phlogiston and ether theories, later were totally discredited. Evolution could be another.

Yes, Stephen, that could happen. All theories are tentatively accepted. What you need to dis-prove evolution is to present us with solid, verifiable evidence — e.g., something like the elusive Precambrian rabbit. Here’s more:

Darwin said that an example of an organ or organism that could not be developed in stages would disprove evolution. Many such questions have been asked without any scientific explanation, such as the origin of the eye or the rotary motor flagella.

Aaaargh!! Darwin never had a problem with the Evolution of the Eye. As for the flagellum, so beloved by the Discoveroids, that’s no mystery either. Behe’s claim that it somehow is “irreducibly complex” was demolished in court — see Kitzmiller v. Dover: Michael Behe’s Testimony.

Stephen isn’t doing very well, but he thinks otherwise. Here’s how he concludes his letter:

It is much easier to claim the debate as closed than to support your unscientific biased assertions and claim them as rational, reasonable and scientific. I’ll stick with Socrates, who observed that the fool knows all things while the wise man knows what he does not know.

[*Sigh*] Plato wrote that Socrates once said something like: “I appear to be wiser than he, because I do not fancy I know what I do not know.” Unlike Socrates, Stephen does claim to know what he doesn’t know. So who’s the fool here?

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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4 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #394: Multiple Blunders

  1. “His appeal to the fallacy of authority opinion as proof is politics, not science. This faulty view of science is why we are presently plagued with so much corrupt and junk science.”

    Here he’s explicitly talking about the Dishonesty Institute and the ICR, isn’t he?

  2. Stephen, Darwin theorized that it is natural selection that causes evolution, so the “theory” part is natural selection, not evolution itself. There is such a preponderance of evidence showing that life on earth has been constantly changing from simpler to more and more complex forms that evolution itself is accepted as fact by all who study that evidence with an open mind without preconceived notions based on religious belief.

  3. Ceteris Paribus

    Don’t put too much pressure on Stephen way up there in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His head is still spinning trying to figure out why, if ice hockey evolved from lacrosse, there is still lacrosse.

  4. Holding the Line in Florida

    The comments are generally ripping the boy a new one when last checked. Hurrah for the North Country!