Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Tallahassee Democrat of Tallahassee, the capital of the State of Florida. It’s titled Common creator explains similarities between species, and it’s the second letter at that link. An icon there will activate the newspaper’s comments feature.
Because today’s writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. We found some clues that he may have been a preacher, and he may have taught at various Christian schools, but we’re not certain so we’ll use only his first name, which is Ross. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!
Ross begins by referring to an earlier letter in that paper, about which he says:
With a few word changes, I would be able to agree with parts of Dan Marelli’s letter. He states, “Yet the basic premise that all life on earth is related to a common ancestor and that life forms vary through time is pretty well supported by real scientists.”
What “few word changes” would Ross propose? Here it comes:
A word change is needed for the word “ancestor.” The word needed is “creator.” Yes, all life on earth is related, because there is a common creator. An artist can easily recognize a painting by Leonardo da Vinci, or a musician, after hearing just a few measures, can easily determine whether an opus was written by Mozart or Chopin. This is possible because those works of art were produced by the same artistic creators.
I am similar to the monkey, not because of evolution, but because we have the same God as our creator. This explains the similarities in the various forms found in all of creation.
An “explanation” that invokes an unobserved and inexplicable miracle is a poor replacement for an explanation that relies on observed, comprehensible, natural mechanisms. Yet Ross clings to the former. Why? Two sentences from his last paragraph show his effort to appear rational:
The plethora of attempts to correct the fallacies of evolutionistic theory are too many to list. We read them often in the scientific journals as well as newspapers.
Okay, we know how weak that is, but Ross has his fantasies about a plethora of fallacies. Our question is: What’s to be done about this? Is there anything that can be said to Ross, and to all those like him? Or must we accept that such people are utterly incurable?
The obvious response is to mention Occam’s razor, the principle that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Wikipedia says:
In the scientific method, Occam’s razor is not considered an irrefutable principle of logic or a scientific result; the preference for simplicity in the scientific method is based on the falsifiability criterion. For each accepted explanation of a phenomenon, there is always an infinite number of possible and more complex alternatives, because one can always burden failing explanations with ad hoc hypothesis to prevent them from being falsified; therefore, simpler theories are preferable to more complex ones because they are better testable and falsifiable
One could point out to people like Ross that evolution is a natural process based on observed and undeniable mechanisms — mutations and natural selection. Even creationists recognize this to the extent of what they call “micro-evolution,” which changes the genetic inventory of a species from generation to generation. But then creationists complicate matters by imagining an unseen barrier that somehow stops things from inevitably proceeding through time to what they call “macro-evolution.” Their imaginary barrier is, of course, overcome by their unseen miracle worker. That’s an extremely contrived, unobserved, and untestable justification for denying an observed natural process that requires no fanciful complications. Nevertheless, lots of people seem to accept what Ross is saying.
Again we ask: Is there anything to be done about such reality denial? We know that the promoters of creationism have heard it all before, but their livelihood depends on steadfast adherence to nonsense. And among their followers are those who are incapable of rational thinking. We’re not talking about those two extremes — the charlatans and the mental defectives. What’s to be done about the large number of people who are capable of thinking, but who have been misled by creationist promoters?
So it’s time for another Creative Challenge. To win, the problem you must resolve to our satisfaction is that you must tell us:
You know the rules: A successful entry should be self-explanatory, but it’s quite all right to elaborate. You may enter the contest as many times as you wish, but you must avoid profanity, vulgarity, childish anatomical analogies, etc. Also, avoid slanderous statements about individuals. Feel free to comment on the entries submitted by others — with praise, criticism, or whatever — but you must do so tastefully.
Your Curmudgeon will decide if there’s a winner, and whenever we get around to it we’ll announce who the winner is. There is no tangible prize — as always in life’s great challenges, the accomplishment is its own reward. We now throw open the comments section, dear reader. Go for it!
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