Creationist Wisdom #539: Science Fiction

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Morning Call of Allentown, Pennsylvania. It’s titled Evolution relies on suppression of truth. The newspaper has a comments feature. It’s located to the right of the letter.

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. His first name is Francis. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

Is evolution science? Briefly, the Merriam-Webster definition of science says: “The state of knowing: knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding, covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method.” Evolution more closely matches the definition of science fiction — a genre of fiction dealing with imaginative content.

Creationists usually cite the third or fourth listed definition about fervent belief and then claim that science is a religion. But even with a fairly decent definition, Francis still blew it. Wait until you see what else he has for us:

Evolutionists want us to believe that random events, starting with a hypothetical big bang, produced everything we see today, including the ordered and complex biological realm of life.

Uh huh. Let’s read on:

Creation, as recorded in Scripture, is in keeping with everything we observe on Earth and in the universe. The intelligent design of God is seen in his handiwork, and expounded beautifully in Psalm 19.

Francis is right. Creationism is in keeping with everything he observes — if he chooses to remain ignorant of everything we’ve learned since the observations and writings of those living in Mesopotamia 3,000 years ago. He continues:

What about the rather extensive fossil record? Forgeries notwithstanding, it has not turned up even one organism in a transitional phase (going from one species to another).

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! He wants a fossilized crocoduck. Hey, Francis — take a look at Wikipedia’s list of transitional fossils. Here’s more:

Furthermore, fossils are formed by rapid burial, as in a cataclysmic flood, and found in sedimentary layers caused by hydrologic sorting, not by millions of years of slow deposition.

Aaaargh!! Well, death by burial in a mudslide is rapid, and there’s a good chance that the corpse will fossilize — but that process takes time, and the sequence in which they’re found in their various layers is utterly inconsistent with a single flood event.

Ah well, now we come to the end:

Evolution, as with all other subversive movements, relies on relentless propagation of lies and misinformation, while suppressing the truth.

Subversive movement? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Great letter, Francis!

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

28 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #539: Science Fiction

  1. Hydrologic sorting
    I haven’t seen that in a long time.
    That’s a violation of the creationists’ “2nd Law of Thermodynamics”.
    Unless God deliberately designed the order of the fossil record to have the appearance of millions of years of speciation and extinction.

  2. TomS says:

    Hydrologic sorting — I haven’t seen that in a long time.

    The word “hydrologic” is a clue that he’s been reading flood nonsense from old Henry Morris.

  3. What? He didn’t use ‘the more advanced animals were faster getting to high ground before they were overtaken by the flood and that explains the order of the fossil record’?

    It was especially impressive that the grasses were able to outrun the velociraptors.

  4. Sure, grasses had some get-up-and-go, but have you noticed the flowering plants that sped past a whole slew of animals?

    Sadly, there must have been a loss of information in their genomes.

  5. michaelfugate

    If science is “knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding”, then we know Francis and his creationism are light years from science. But then again we knew that before his letter…

  6. What is the latest excuse for the complex specified information in the ordered pattern of the fossil record?
    That is, one which doesn’t cause snickers.

  7. Again — why do newspapers keep publishing these asinine letters? Are all these editors that ignorant?

  8. Mike Elzinga

    It goes in cycles. Currently the Republicans are in charge of both houses of Congress, they are the majority in most state legislatures, and there is an upcoming Presidential election.

    As a result of far Right Wing activity over the last few decades, the Republican Party is chocked-full-of-nutcases these days, they are being supported by Big Money – thanks to the US Supreme Court – and they think the time is ripe to push their sectarian anti-science agenda.

    As the election season gets closer, expect to see lots more of this kind of crap being pushed in local newspapers.

    As a state official in Florida, you can’t use the expression “climate change” without losing your job and being forced to submit to a psychiatric examination.

    Guess what comes next if the Republicans sweep the next election.

  9. retiredsciguy asks: “why do newspapers keep publishing these asinine letters?”

    I’ve seen far worse, but I don’t bother with them. Here’s one of those, if you care to see the stuff I think is too crazed to bother with: Explore science.

  10. The word “hydrologic” is a clue that he’s been reading flood nonsense from old Henry Morris.

    Indeed it is! One of my first run-ins with Henry Morris was asking him why “creation scientists” weren’t staging “hydrological sorting” experiments with animal corpses to see if their differential buoyancies (as I scrambled to get myself credit for coining yet another impressive “creation science” technical term) would reproduce the familiar sequences of the fossil record. Of course, he never gave me a straight answer. The nearest non-scientist within earshot, Dr. John Whitcomb Jr., retorted with something like, “Full-scale experiments require labs and facilities. The evolutionists aren’t going to divert any of their grant monies to verify the validity of flood geology!” [Yeah, those evilutionist meanies are tight-wads.] I think I replied with something like, “You don’t need grant money if you start with donated roadkills and brought them to Duane’s next pool party.” [Yeah, I was a young smart aleck back then. Now I’m an old one.] John also brought up the differing abilities of living things to escape rising flood waters and that “We would expect the dinosaurs to find safety on higher ground more readily than the slow-moving, primitive tetrapods and that is exactly what the fossil record shows.” I remember saying to John, “Yeah, that probably explains why the fast-running flowering plants outraced the dinosaurs and got buried above them in the fossil record.”

    [I told ya I was a smart aleck back then. I was already on John’s bad side for pointing out that even the King James Version translators usually rendered the Hebrew word ERETZ as land, country, region, or even wilderness outside of the early chapters of Genesis–thereby indicating that the translators were simply yielding to prior translation traditions in the creation and Noahic flood pericopes. That lapse in consistency together with major changes in the most common meaning of the English word earth as it trended from “opposite of the sky” and “the ground” and “what a farmer tills” in 1611 to a popular meaning of Planet Earth for most English-speakers today. Improving the translation and removing the ambiguity about ERETZ would have meant no GLOBAL flood in Genesis! Yews, John Whitcomb knew his ancient Near Eastern languages and lexicography sufficiently well to understand this–but he wasn’t about to let linguistic evidence and some young nipper get in the way of a briskly-selling The Genesis Flood nor spoil his first taste of semi-fame outside of his small Grace Brethren Church fellowship-denomination which founded and supported the seminary which paid his salary. And he certainly wasn’t going to tolerate correction from a lowly university Lecturer who didn’t even have tenure, and who had “a rebellious spirit.”

    [Yes, I should have left my rebellious spirit back home with its leash tethered to my kitchen sink-pipe. By the way, you may have heard of my rebellious spirit’s famous grandson, popularly known as Glenn Morton’s Demon. That was all my fault for putting off getting my rebellious spirit “fixed” when I still had that half-off coupon and before his adult fangs came in.]

    Somehow, I could never talk any of my “creation scientist” friends into putting a Theory of Differential Buoyancy to the test, even though I could easily imagine the article’s title in some prestigious “creation science” journal: The Theory of Differential Buoyancy Together with Vertebrate Flood-Escape-Coefficients Fully Explain Order of the Fossil Record. Not until decades later did I start seeing the following copy-and-paste appearing on many “creation science” websites:

    In an unpublished experiment at Loma Linda University, a dead bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian were placed in an open water tank. Their buoyancy in the days following death depended on their density while living, the buildup and leakage of gases from their decaying bodies, the absorption or loss of water by their bodies, and other factors. That experiment showed that the natural order of settling following death was, from the bottom up: amphibian, reptile, mammal, and finally bird. This order of relative buoyancy correlates closely with “the evolutionary order,” but, of course, evolution was not the cause. Other factors influencing burial order at each geographical location were: liquefaction lenses, which animals were living in the same region, each animal’s mobility before the flood overtook it, and the animal or plant’s shape (how much fluid drag from the upward flowing water lifted the organism).

    Seeing how the experiment was “unpublished”, I tried to track down the “non-citation”. Unfortunately, only a few websites bothered to provided a footnote and those footnotes merely referred the reader to other creationist websites. Eventually I at least found an attribution, if not an informative primary source citation:

    18. Personal communication, Dr. Karen Jensen, 8 January 2001.

    Looking further, I eventually found “100 Reasons to Choose Biblical Creation Over Evolution” expanding upon the above:

    This was seen in an unpublished experiment at Loma Linda University, and reported on by Walt Brown (“In the Beginning”, 7th Ed. p. 141) after speaking to Dr. Karen Jensen on January 8, 2001.
    Harold Coffin, “Origin by Design”, p.81

    Don’t ya just love how “creation science” depends upon second and third hand recollections of a creationist friend of a creationist friend? Of course, after seeing that Walt Brown (Mr. Hydroplate Theory) was involved, I can’t really blame anybody for wanting to keep the “citation” as vague as possible. Harold Coffin, an actual scientist with a legitimate zoology Ph.D., may not be as dependably comical as Walt Brown, but his courtroom testimony ranks as some of the most honest that one could probably ever expect to hear from a YEC-flavored denialist. In his deposition in McLean vs. Arkansas Board of Education Dr. Coffin, admitted that were it not for the Bible he would have determined from the scientific evidence alone that the earth was very old. (Isn’t it great when a “creation scientist” freely admits that his conclusions about the age of the earth come from ignoring science? It’s almost as if “creation science” isn’t real science at all!)

    Why didn’t Dr. Karen Jensen publish the results of her ground-breaking experiments in corpse buoyancy and fluid drag dynamics when they so wonderfully confirmed “flood geology” and “flood paleontology”? Inquiring minds want to know! Surely Ken Ham could spare some grant money from the $25+ million which pours into the Answers in Genesis coffers each year. (And that’s not even counting the donations allocated to the upcoming Ark Park.) And isn’t it time for The Discovery Institute to finally be responsible for an actual scientific discovery? Otherwise, the public might start to think that The Discovery Institute doesn’t actually do real science or make any discoveries at all! And surely dead animals shouldn’t cost all that much. Besides, AIG could encourage their creation science supporters to modify their pets’ living wills so that, upon their demise, their bodies would be donated for the purpose of “creation science” research.

    After all, giving up plans for open-casket funerals for Fido and Fluffy would be a small price to pay in order to support cutting-edge creation science research.

  11. Professor Tertius discusses “hydrological sorting” to explain the fossil sequence in the geological record.

    That reminds me of my own “theory,” which is far superior: Creatures died in the Flood and were buried according to their sinfulness — the simplest creatures dying first, with minimal suffering, and the more complex creatures dying last, to prolong their agony — thus their appearance higher in the geological strata.

  12. michaelfugate

    Are all reptiles equally dense (e.g. pterosaurs)? We know some mammals of the primate persuasion are really quite dense. Shouldn’t they be at the bottom of the heap?

  13. @Professor Tertius
    were it not for the Bible he would have determined from the scientific evidence alone that the earth was very old.
    If that were the determinant, then it would be expected that one would have not let the scientific evidence alone override the Biblical testimony that the Earth is fixed and the Sun moves about the Earth.
    As everyone thought that for a couple of thousand years. (I would be interested in hearing of anyone from 500 BC to AD 1500 who thought that the Bible did not testify to geocentrism. I know that there were a couple of Christians who considered heliocentrism, but did they claim Biblical backing?)
    Or I would be interested in how powerful the scientific evidence is which allows one to override Biblical testimony and accept heliocentrism.

  14. > “Furthermore, fossils are formed by rapid burial, as in a cataclysmic flood,
    > and found in sedimentary layers caused by hydrologic sorting, not by
    > millions of years of slow deposition.”
    ————–
    Were you there? [thanks to Hamster the Liar for that]

    Nonscientist buffoons who hate reality don’t have any say when it comes to matters paleontological. Ways of increasing the chances of becoming a fossil include: 1) having hard parts; 2) being buried rapidly; 3) being buried deeply; 4) being buried in a low-oxygen environment. Most of the fossil record represents hard parts, so number one in that list is the most significant factor.

  15. > “What about the rather extensive fossil record? Forgeries
    > notwithstanding, it has not turned up even one organism
    > in a transitional phase (going from one species to another).”
    —————-
    Yeah – notwithstanding all the forgeries made by CREATIONISTS.

    Oh – and by the way, Francis Fried-Brain, EVERY fossil is a transition from something to something else. How many fossils are there? Billyuns and billyuns. (RIP Carl Sagan)

    Please – free yourself from the shackles of willful ignorance and superstition. Delight in the wonders of reality around you.

  16. @Professor Tertius
    Anyway, even if the experimental evidence would show that there are natural explanations for the complex specified ordering of the fossil pattern, that would turn out to be evidence that the “2nd Law of Thermodynamics” can be violated by a natural process.

    (Not to mention that we all agree that the Laws of Thermodynamics apply as least as far as stopping intelligent engineers from building perpetual motion machines. So, there has to be something more than intelligent design involved to explain the appearance of order.)

  17. Holding The Line In Florida

    The comment section is wonderful. Only one Godbot and she/he is getting slammed! Evidently sanity rules in Allentown!

  18. “Evolution, as with all other subversive movements, relies on relentless propagation of lies and misinformation, while suppressing the truth.”

    Our letter writer needs to look up the psychological concept of href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological projection”>projection.

  19. “If that were the determinant, then it would be expected that one would have not let the scientific evidence alone override the Biblical testimony that the Earth is fixed and the Sun moves about the Earth.”

    But… does the Hebrew Bible actually speak in astronomical geocentric terms? Once again, ERETZ is too often mistakenly assumed by moderns to refer to planet earth rather than the the opposite of sky. Plus, is a reference to a “fixed” ERETZ really any different than my saying “this is as solid as the ground I’m standing on” despite the fact that this very ground shakes from earthquakes every now and then? So am I lying or just inconsistent or something else?

    Of course, that didn’t stop Latin Vulgate reading clerics, for example, from trying to proof text their cosmology. Yes, plenty of theologians went to great lengths to rally support for their beloved Ptolemy. Plenty of theologians have made fools of themselves in all kinds of ways. We can all agree with that. But sometimes the Biblical text is the source of the confusion and sometimes it’s not (but gets blamed any way.)

    I won’t repeat a dissertation here but this is yet another instance where the passages I complain about and the passages “everybody” complains about are very very different.

    Meanwhile, we all talk about sunrise and sunset without any feelings of hypocrisy or being “totally wrong”. Cross-cultural bigotry is alive and well. And don’t the Australians realize that they live “down under”–even though they don’t? (After all, they are no more “down under” than Europeans are. Or are they? Can you answer answer this? Think about it.)

    Let he who is without figures of speech and the “best” frame of reference cast the first stone.

  20. Creatures died in the Flood and were buried according to their sinfulness

    Who could be against a merit-based flood-escape coefficient?

    Hmmm, I’ve been thinking about writing a wacky “peer-reviewed” article for a “creation science” journal–and see just how much I could get away with. Curmudgeon’s merit-based explanation for the fossil record just might be a good angle for it.

    First I need to come up with my “creation scientist” name, perhaps something like: I. B. Yeque or perhaps even Dr. Reed Yohr Bibel, recently appointed to the Kruger-Dunning Chair of Hydrological Theology.

    I’ve already decided that my “flood geology” research will be made possible by a generous grant from the Gen. Lee & Fortuna Nuttly Charitable Trust of the Witt-Owett Foundation.

  21. @Professor Tertius
    I was responding to a person who took a “literalist” position with regards to the age of the Earth rather than what he conceded was the scientific conclusion. It is at least as defensible to point out the meanings of the word YOM, etc., and that there is at least as much precedent for “non-literalist” readings of the texts taken as supporting YEC, as your suggestions about geocentrism. And the scientific evidence for “deep time” is at least as accessible as that for heliocentrism.
    I was pointing out that there must be some reason, other than Bible-vs.-science, for accepting YEC, for that principle would at least as well lead to accepting geocentrism.

  22. Third Prof, you’re essay on hydrologic sorting is once again fascinating.

  23. Professor Tertius says:

    I need to come up with my “creation scientist” name

    Don’t use Dr. Wu Hu. That one is mine.

  24. @TonS: “What is the latest excuse for the complex specified information in the ordered pattern of the fossil record”

    Hold it right there. Are you saying water isn’t intelligent? How would it remember its homeopathic information if it wasn’t smart enough to be an intelligent fossil layer designer? Checkmate, atheist! …*poop*…flutter flutter.

  25. michaelfugate

    I taught a non-majors biology course at a satellite campus of a two-year college (1994) not too far from Loma Linda U (Seventh Day Adventist) and the guy before me was a LLU graduate. I got a copy of his syllabus which he wouldn’t supply to the one permanent science faculty member (a chemist). He spent over half of course on the “two-model approach” – needless to say the Chemist was appalled. All of the state schools nearby were very leery of LLU graduates when they applied for teaching jobs. Another SDA school in the area LaSierra U has had its biology program criticized from within for not being creationist enough.

  26. @Ken Phelps
    You have given us the long-sought-after theory of Intelligent Design.
    Not only does water account for the violation of the 2LoT in the fossil record, it also accounts for snow flakes. And it also accounts for ice floating on water (a violation of the Law of Gravity). And water is the necessary element for life.

  27. @michaelfugate
    The LLU grad (assuming he had an undergrad degree in biology) would have been a graduate of La Sierra, which was billed as the liberal arts campus of LLU (primarily a biomedical center) for some years, but has since returned to its original name. I graduated from the “real” LLU, and the religious influence there was trivial relative to the undergraduate SDA colleges, and certainly did not enter the professional curriculum (except perhaps by omission) .

    My undergrad (in the ’70s) was at Walla Walla, another SDA college. One of the small epiphanies that led me out of the valley of the shadow of religion was, oddly enough, in Bio 101. In answer to a question regarding creationism, the prof gently explained that while we all accepted Jesus as our savior…yada yada…the bio curriculum was meant to acquaint us with stuff that appeared in the lit of biology, and that the truths of…blah blah…did not actually appear in said literature. This was big time news for me, and precipitated a landslide of decompartmentalization over the next couple of years.

    I have followed the ongoing re-intrusion of the mindlessly conservative wing of the SDA church into the minutiae of academics at LaSierra and elsewhere with dismay. I seriously question whether a bio prof at LS or WW would be able to give such an honest answer today, let alone teach any meaningful evolutionary content..

  28. michaelfugate

    He had been a LLU graduate student – with at least a masters in biology. I never meet him – all I saw was a syllabus. I had a couple of LaSierra undergrads in a comparative anatomy vertebrate class which was evolutionarily based to the hilt and they never batted an eye.