We don’t like to embarrass people (unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures), but we’ll do it in this case. The letter-writer is Chris Major. He’s a bit of a public figure, because in this news story: UI students awarded SME scholarships, we found him handing out scholarships for the University of Idaho on behalf of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, of which he’s the new Coeur d’Alene chapter chairman. He seems to be an environmental engineer. We’ll give you a few excerpts from his letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!
Chris is responding to a couple of earlier letters, which seem to have been responses to an earlier letter of his. One of the letters he’s responding to is EVOLUTION: Don’t put God in box. Chris says:
[E]volution tries to answer the questions we’ve discussed by appealing to evidence. The problem is, Mr. Ortmann [earlier letter-writer], there is little to no evidence confirming Darwinism. We see microevolution and minor adaptation, extinct species and our modern animals, but how come we do not see mutations proving to be advantageous or transition species in the fossil record, for starters? I’ve talked with two high school biology teachers and a former neonatologist on this subject and they say that we have no evidence proving helpful mutations.
Chris needs to talk to a few more people. Better yet, he needs to pick up a basic biology text. Anyway, then he tells us:
When a child has Down Syndrome or Cystic Fibrosis, for example, we never look at that and say “Wow! That evolution thing is working!” In addition, we have no evidence in the fossil record or modern observations of species with “helpful” mutations. In addition, we have never found fossils showing the transition of species. We do not observe animals adapting on a macroevolutionary scale.
Yeah, no beneficial mutations. Try checking this out, Chris — it’s easily found in the TalkOrigins Index to Creationist Claims: Claim CB101 — Most mutations are harmful. As for not literally observing macroevolution, well … duh! That sort of thing requires thousands of generations. We do observe evidence of it in the fossil record and in DNA. This is high school stuff. Let’s read on:
I understand that species don’t evolve overnight – that’s a given regardless of stance on the theory. We do see microevolution, as I explained earlier. What we cannot see, nor have past evidence for, is macroevolution. How does changing a few proteins eventually transform primordial soup into a species like Homo Sapiens?
Aaaargh!! We won’t bother with that. Chris continues:
The question is, how long [does evolution require]? The average human body has 37.2 trillion cells (stat courtesy of the Smithsonian) with over a billion different molecules and who knows how many atoms. How could those assemble in random, unguided steps? It would take a nearly infinite amount of time. The probability of randomly assembling a protein of 300 amino acids is 1 out of 2.04 x 10 to the 390th (courtesy of the TalkOrigins archive). Most scientists calculate any probabilities of 1 out of 10 to the 15th as nearly impossible.
Not too stubborn, is he? Here’s more:
As for taking the Bible literally, how do we read the newspaper? Literally. If the writer says an event happened, we assume that the writer meant to communicate a literal event. If a novel writer writes about an event, real or fictional, we assume the event is literal (true is another question). We assume writings are literal unless the author indicates otherwise. Following this logic, there is reason to believe that the Bible can be taken literally.
Aaaargh!! Moving along:
Defending the Bible would require a separate letter to the editor and is a debate for another time. For the time being, God is not in a box because by definition and the Bible, He is a being of perfection that cannot be contained. He can create a complex universe because by definition and the Bible, He is complex. This is rational thinking.
Aaaargh!! Another excerpt:
[One of the former letter-writers] admitted himself that the universe is complex. So how can a concept of randomness create a universe, yet something more complex like humans cannot? Neither can truly create – a Being greater than both force or human is the only adequate answer.
Aaaargh!! And now we come to the end:
In addition, where is the scientific evidence against the creation account in the Bible? Evolution is not evidence – it is called a “theory” for a reason. Here is where I agree with [the other letter-writer] – this place is where science ends and where we need to find an answer outside of the natural to explain the origin of the natural.
This letter is a striking example of why one should never attempt to debate with a creationist.
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