We usually won’t embarrass letter-writers by using their full names — unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures, but this one is an exception. His name is Neal Caldwell, and in his letter he describes himself as a physicist. We found some information about him at the website of the Tennessee Inventors Association: Neal Caldwell of Dalen Products, which describes him as “a local inventor and owner of Dalen Products, a company located in West Knoxville.” Regarding his status as a physicist, it says: “He started out going to engineering school and quickly moved to working for Robertshaw Controls in Knoxville.”
That’s somewhat ambiguous, but the website of the Knox Area Rescue Ministries, of which he’s a Director, says: “He is a graduate of Knoxville High School and the University of Tennessee, with majors in physics and mathematics.”
He wrote an earlier letter to the same newspaper back in June of 2011, and somehow we missed it. That one is Evolution doesn’t add up. It’s even funnier than today’s letter, but we’ll let you enjoy that one by yourself. Oh, in that letter he describes himself as a “physicist/mathematician.”
Anyway, in today’s letter Caldwell says he’s physicist, and he seems prominent enough for full-name treatment. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!
The letter “Evolution’s scientific proof is overwhelming” is interesting but significantly misleading.
We can’t find the letter he’s talking about, but we don’t need it. Then Caldwell says:
Given that evolution has multiple meanings, it is easy to choose ones to claim scientific proof. Two simple ones that cooperate are change over time, and micro-evolution (small changes that accomplish tiny results, explaining bacteria becoming resistant to drugs, the reshaping of finch beaks or changes in coloration to aid survival). These are, as the [other] writer says, overwhelmingly proven.
Then what’s the problem? Let’s read on:
But evolutionary tidbits fall dramatically short of proving evolution’s ability to account for life’s diversity and complexity, which is, of course, where the real argument lies. Since most life forms appeared suddenly in the Cambrian period, with zero evidence of Charles Darwin’s required gradualism, he certainly might amend his adjective to underwhelming.
Lordy, lordy — Caldwell is overstating what happened in the Cambrian, and at the same time he’s ignoring the inevitable cumulative effect of all those “micro” changes. He’s also ignoring the fossil record and DNA evidence. He continues:
As we learn more about life’s unbelievable complexity, the writer could say he believes that Darwin did it, but science itself would remain embarrassingly un-affirming. If I were to assert that such complexity could only have been designed, I would have perhaps more standing in the provable scheme of things than the [other] writer would in his materialistically based speculations.
Right — science is “embarrassingly un-affirming,” but Caldwell’s claim of non-materialistic design is provable, so it has far more standing. This guy is amazing! Here’s more:
The more we learn about life, the more it escapes naturalistic explanation. We have not the least idea how DNA came into being, then not even a scenario about how it could have been encoded with the information of life, such encoding in the simplest cell being magnitudes greater than everything Microsoft spent years designing into its Windows platform.
No, life does not “escape naturalistic explanation.” It hasn’t been created in the lab — not yet — but only creationists claim that it’s a supernatural miracle. And of course he mentions “information,” whatever he thinks that is. Hey, Caldwell — DNA is not a computer program. It’s a perfectly natural string of atoms in a huge molecule, most of which seems to do nothing, and its functions aren’t miraculous.
Here’s one final excerpt from the end:
As a physicist, I believe that science increasingly points toward a creator God. Disputations aside, we might all agree that each of us has an overwhelming personal belief.
Well, dear reader — do you have an “overwhelming personal belief”? It’s clear that Caldwell does, and he thinks you do too.
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