AIG Reacts to “Your Inner Fish” Episode 3

We’re not going to spend much time on this, because it’s so bad that it’s not even amusing. The only reason we’re bringing it to your attention is because it’s the only creationist reaction we’ve seen to Episode 3 of Your Inner Fish, hosted by Neil Shubin, which aired a few days ago.

It’s from the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (ol’ Hambo’s online ministry), and the author is Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell, a creationist gynecologist. We posted about her reaction to Episode 1, and we ignored what she said about Episode 2 — but if you want to see that one at the AIG website it’s here: Review: Your Inner Reptile.

The creationist gynecologist’s critique of Episode 3 is Review: Your Inner Monkey. It’s rather long, but all she does, over and over again, is dismiss Shubin’s evidence by saying it doesn’t show her anything. She claims that his interpretation of the evidence is based solely on his presuppositions. She also claims that everything he sees is God’s work, and any similarities we share with other species are merely because the creator likes to re-use his designs.

Really, that’s all she says. And she insists it’s Shubin who suffers from presuppositions! Here are a few excerpts, with a touch of bold font added for emphasis:

Shubin’s case rests entirely on the assumption that all life evolved from a primitive common ancestor. As we examine his parade of proofs we shall see that it is this starting assumption, not the evidence in the human body as he contends, that determines his conclusions.

That’s how it starts. She doesn’t know the difference between an assumption and a conclusion. It gets worse. For example:

Swinging from the trees to a fossil bed in Wyoming, Shubin introduces us to the lemur-like Notharctus. Like a lemur’s, the hand of Notharctus featured long fingers with fingernails (as opposed to the paws and claws of many other animals) and a thumb set at an angle to the other digits. This is the deepest human-like hand shape in the fossil record.

Such a hand is great for gripping the thinner branches of a tree. But what has this hand to do with human history? Nothing. Shubin maintains this primate made a handy evolutionary innovation that humans eventually inherited, but that interpretation is rooted in evolutionary presuppositions. Nothing in the study of living things shows such transitions from one kind of creature to another.

Did you notice that? We’ll repeat it: “Nothing in the study of living things shows such transitions from one kind of creature to another.” What’s she saying? Monkeys don’t give birth to humans? We have no idea if that’s deliberate slime or just creationist silliness. Let’s read on:

The human hand—perfectly suited for power and precision but without the extremely long fingers of an arboreal animal—shares some features with the lemur. Those common designs, however, are exactly what we expect from our Common Designer, the Creator God of the Bible, who made land animals and man on the same day, the 6th day of Creation Week about 6,000 years ago.

Uh huh, they’re just common designs. Here’s another brilliant statement on the subject of our bipedal gait:

But even if Lucy and her cousins did have a more versatile anatomy than some other apes, tiptoeing through the jungle didn’t make anything ape-like turn into a person. Nothing could. God created Adam and Eve, the first humans, in His image the same day He created apes. We have His Word on it.

What about all our back problems? This is her explanation — and bear in mind that she’s a physician:

The human back is designed for the way God designed us to walk. The fact that our bodies wear out does not link us to an evolutionary past. Back problems — like every other malady — are consequences of living in a sin-cursed world.

This is great creation science! Here’s more:

Having decided that all life must be explained without a Creator, evolutionists must believe increasingly complex creatures came into being through a series of interconnected events, even though such events are not seen in living creatures. Having already decided that all living things share a common evolutionary ancestry, they view embryologic development as a pattern providing evolutionary insight and interpret common designs as evidence for their position. The evolutionary starting point determines how they interpret comparative anatomy and genetics and essentially predetermines their conclusions.

As we warned you, Mitchell keeps saying the same thing over and over again. Now we come to her inspiring conclusion:

The Bible, in the book of Genesis, records God’s eyewitness account of the six days in which He created all things. What we observe in anatomy, paleontology, and genetics is consistent with what we read in God’s Word. We understand the presence of common designs in a marvelously biodiverse world as the glorious expression of our Creator’s wisdom, power, and creativity. The human body, even with all the things that do go wrong with it in a sin-cursed world, is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). When we get the starting points right, we can see the truth about our origins and better understand the rest of what the Bible tells us about our need for a Savior.

What must it be like in her gynecological practice? We don’t know, of course, but based on the foregoing, we imagine the typical examination goes something like this: “That looks horrible! My diagnosis is that you are suffering the consequences of sin. My prescription is prayer — lots of prayer. And repentance. If that doesn’t work, then your condition is the incurable result of divine will. There is nothing more to be done.”

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

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19 responses to “AIG Reacts to “Your Inner Fish” Episode 3

  1. Christine Janis

    One serious error in Mitchell’s “it looks like evolutionary change but it’s really God’s plan” soliloque on “Your inner reptile”

    “These two mammalian middle ear bones and the lower jaw ordinarily form from Meckel’s cartilage, which is part of the first pharyngeal arch, and as mammals develop the ear bones are pulled into their proper position. Thus, these opossums are not recapitulating 300 million years of evolution, as the program teaches, but only developing in the way mammalian embryos do.”

    Nope. Only one of those bones (the articular, = the malleus) forms from Meckel’s cartilage. Basic human embryology. Learn some science, Dr. Mitchell.

  2. I don’t think our creationist Ob-Gyn could find her own [Edited out] with one or both hands.

  3. Is Mitchell board-certified (or whatever Drs. are) to practice medicine? Scary.

  4. The whole truth

    Yes, scary, and there are surely many other doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel that are just as screwy as she is.

  5. If I were a woman in need of medical attention, and I saw this idiot headed for me, I’d run like hell. She’s a deluded moron and a [Edited out], [Edited out], and a [Edited out].

    A perfect example of a physician who has not a scintilla of an idea of what science is and how it works. Sad, really. A useful idiot for Hambo’s scam though.

  6. OK – googling Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell surfaced this interesting article, in which she argues that abortion is justified in some cases – and she is arguing against a Christian writer. That’s an unusual position for a fundamentalist. In this case, she is deferring to her training as a obstetrician, rather than her indoctrination into the bazaar world of Christian fundamentalism. Per the article, she (and her husband) represent the views of AIG.

    She claims to be pro-life, but is willing to rip a baby out of the womb piece by piece. “Would I do it with a good conscience? – yes, in a heartbeat.”


    This lady can blithely comment on issues that she knows nothing about, such as evolution, but when it comes to something she does know something about, she is, well, rational.

  7. Is it bad that the phrase “creationist gynecologist” makes me snicker? I keep envisioning an immaculate consultation with the mother-to-be.

  8. The Bible, in the book of Genesis, records God’s eyewitness account of the six days in which He created all things.

    On what basis is this? Does the Bible say this? One can scour the accounts in first chapters for anything this: “This is the record of God’s eyewitness account”. No, it just says that this is what happened.

    The Bible does tell us (Acts 7:22), “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.” There are places in the Pentateuch (but not, i think, anywhere in Genesis, not in the creation accounts) we are told that God told Moses to write specified things. There are some people who say that this was handed down from Adam to a chain of patriots to Jacob (with just as much justification)

  9. Pope retiredsciguy enquires

    Is Mitchell board-certified (or whatever Drs. are) to practice medicine?

    Well, she is most definitely certifiable (def. 2)

  10. SC says “which aired last weekend.”

    Either you’ve confused this with “Cosmos” or you only work two days a week. “Fish” aired on Wednesday.

  11. Mark Germano says:

    “Fish” aired on Wednesday.

    Right. I was confused. It’s fixed now.

  12. @TomS:

    I’m always amazed at your knowledge of the Bible. For all I know you could be making it all up, but that’s highly unlikely, because if you were, many people would come out of the woodwork to correct you. One thing that I increasingly notice in my 17 years of closely following the “controversy” is how people on both pro- and anti-science sides love to talk about religion, the Bible, God, etc. And how I’m one of that tiny minority that doesn’t. Unfortunately even I often find it hard not to get sidetracked when everyone else “takes the bait.”

    But every now and then we need to step back and look at the big picture, and see how counterproductive is it to dwell on religion, and how “creationism” (including ID, academic “freedom” etc.) is a “religious view.” Anyone who does not fully agree within a minute or 2 can be written off as beyond hope or in-on-the-scam. But I’m convinced that that describes less than half of those who have doubts about evolution. The rest don’t want to year about religion, or the more comical evolution-deniers like YECs, geocentrists and flat-earthers. Yet the media loves them, especially AiG, which has been getting an Arkload of free publicity since the Ham-Nye debate. That feeds the common misconception (one I had too in the 90s) that YEC is the only “alternate view” out there. Not only is it not the only one, it’s not even the majority one; most evolution-deniers-on-the-street favor some form of OEC. And most deniers and non-deniers are completely unaware of the fatal contradictions within “creationism”, and the increasing coverup, perpetrated mostly “behind the scenes” by the DI.

    So keep pounding way with asking the “whats, whens, wheres, hows..” and how reproduction (designer intervention or not?) could be the ultimate Achilles heel of “creationism.” The activists will evade the questions of course, but that’s the whole point – to show the public which side is trying to hide something, and demanding unearned “handouts.”

  13. SC says of our favorite ob/gyn:

    We have no idea if that’s deliberate slime or just creationist silliness.

    Why does this have to be an either/or? I suggest it is both.

  14. Aha, so the essence of cretinist “science” is that the world is as it is because Ole Grandy made it so, as revealed in an old book. Any discordant observations are merely apparent and must be tortured until they fit into the Ole Grandy scheme of things.

    More within the ambit of Dr Mitchell’s area of, er, expertise, one may well wonder how she would slot into her Ole Grandy paradigm the global annual demise of around 40 million human foetuses and infants through miscarriage and crib death. That’s more than 100,000 a day, every day, worldwide. Not being a theologian or au fait with the latest trends in theodicy, such awful profligacy seems to me an indicator of loss of control at the very least, if not imperfect design.

  15. Dr. Mitchell’s retort of Inner Fish is laughable. The argument that similar designs for similar creatures by the same creator isn’t viable in the least. The reason is simple there are examples of parallel evolution that end up with similar functionality but the actual “design” is completely different. A good example is the eyeball which is an example of parallel evolution in both the vertebrates and the higher mollusks. In the former the eyeball evolved from brain resulting in optic nerve blocking some of the retina causing the blind spot, while in the latter it evolved from skin and no blind spot. Assuming there is one designer (blessed be He) the notion that this is from sin entering the world is completely crackpot.

    Some have suggested that creationist professionals are incompetent or stupid etc. It is more apt to see them as clinging to their childhood religion that they were indoctrinated with before they had the skill and logic set of adults as a defense.

    I also wanted to point out that Bill Nye debate was not free publicity. Bill Nye did get his appearance fee estimated around $50,000, which he donated to science charities. Not free but Hambo got his money’s worth.

  16. Troy: “Dr. Mitchell’s retort of Inner Fish is laughable. The argument that similar designs for similar creatures by the same creator isn’t viable in the least.”

    It’s only laughable to those who invest a few minutes’ thought. Unfortunately the great majority of nonscientists who have no problem with evolution do not give it even that little thought, and are almost as susceptible to such misleading sound bites as those who doubt, or are unsure of, evolution. As for the “common design” argument, its problem is not one of not being “viable in the least,” but one of being both untestable and not mutually exclusive with evolution. The fault of those who make that argument is not that they believe it (if they even do) but that they are either parroting, or deliberately pulling, a bait-and-switch.

  17. @Con-Tester:

    The “bad design” argument is just as misleading as the “common design” one. I suppose one could speculate that Satan is the real designer, and is holding God hostage while “designing” my bad back, eyesight, etc. But that’s at best a total waste of time, as it is untestable, and has no bearing on evolution or of any of the mutually-contradictory, thoroughly discredited creationist “theories,” including the “not even wrong” ID scam. The only potential utility of “bad design” is to illustrate common descent – which some anti-evolution activists concede (or play dumb about) anyway.

  18. @Christine Janis — Good point. I wonder where the good Dr. studied gross anatomy. And didn’t she learn about the recurrant laryngeal nerve? It’s elongated path makes no sense except in light of evolution. The only reason I can think of that the sky fairy made it go that way is so it warns people they are about the die from lung cancer when the metastasis from it swells the lymph nodes around the loop in the recurrant lyryngeal to give them a very horse voice without a sore throat!

  19. @Frank J: Yes, that’s my point in two halves: First, the world is not at all as one would expect from Ole Grandy with all his/her/its supposed magnificent traits, so either he/she/it has seen fit to grace us with an oddball sense of what makes good design/sense, or Ole Grandy isn’t in charge and never has been. The other half of my point is that one can speculate oneself into all sorts of peculiar positions, none of which meet the demands of qualifying as a scientific proposition. Still, I am curious to know how Mitchell and Hamfist would go about rationalising away the staggering waste of incipient humans against their assumed background of Ole Grandy being the all-powerful commander-in-chief. Epicurus framed the question much more generally, and after two millennia it still remains unanswered — despite Alvin Plantinga’s best efforts.