Creationist Wisdom #543: Dem Bones, Dem Bones

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the fifth biggest-selling regional evening newspaper in Britain, the Shropshire Star of Ketley, in Shropshire. It’s titled The reason we cannot take Darwin’s theory as gospel. An icon will take you to the newspaper’s comments feature, which seems to be quite active.

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’ll use only his first name, which is David. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

David is complaining about an earlier letter. We’ll ignore that one, because David’s rebuttals are amusing enough to stand alone. He says:

Just because the theory of evolution is flavour of the month and many people believe it does not make it a fact, particularly as the more scientific discoveries made are turning more and more real scientists away from this unproven theory.

Uh huh. The real scientists are abandoning evolution. Then he asks:

Does he [the earlier letter-writer] believe Sir Fred Hoyle’s Steady State theory that the universe has always existed? Or does he believe in the Big Bang theory which flies in the face of the first law of thermodynamics?

Wow — that’s a difficult choice. If only there were another possibility! Oh wait — David offers us one:

Unless he believes in a first cause, a being outside of the universe, who created everything from nothing, he is in a fix.

Ah. Problem solved. He continues:

The Bible tells us in the very first verse, that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” A few verses later it tells us that God finished His work of creation and rested on the seventh day. There are an increasing number of scientists who do believe that in six days God created all that was created. Their numbers run into many many thousands.

Only thousands? Why not claim there are millions? Here’s the part where we got our title:

Darwin’s theories make a very good narrative but not very good science. The chances of getting just the 200 plus bones in the human body in the right order by chance are so infinitely small as to make this an impossibility.

Hey — we never ran into that argument before. Then David shows us his math:

The number of combinations for this are staggering, 1x2x3x4x5x6…x200! That would be written as 10 with 375 zeros. Suppose the universe is 10 billion years old, and a new attempt to get them in the right order is made every second, there would only be time for 1,018 attempts!

Huh? There are only 1,018 seconds in 10 billion years? Ah well, now we come to the end:

His theory is so weak that it cannot stand on its own which is probably why any challenge to it in the school classroom or university lecture hall is forbidden by government and academia.

It’s good to see that the Brits can make a valuable contribution to our collection. Thanks, David.

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

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20 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #543: Dem Bones, Dem Bones

  1. For your further entertainment, here’s the song: Dem Bones Dem Bones Dem Dry Bones.

  2. michaelfugate

    Maybe he was going for 10 to the 18 attempts, but the notation confused him?

  3. “The chances of getting just the 200 plus bones in the human body in the right order by chance are so infinitely small as to make this an impossibility.”

    The tornado in the junk yard trick? Everything created in situ says he? Poor fellow. I suggest he play the old game of “Operation” and try to pick out the bones without getting zapped.

  4. Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the fifth biggest-selling regional evening newspaper in Britain, the Shropshire Star of Ketley, in Shropshire.

    This is sad. Charles Robert Darwin was himself a Salopian, and probably the most distinguished thinker to come from Shropshire.

  5. But we have now seen a true miracle!!!!!
    His stupid is so thick that the fact he can write a complete sentence is a true miracle!!!

  6. A few little points.
    The beginning of Genesis, traditionally translated as “In the beginning, God created”, is actually very obscure. One translation would go something like, “When God began to create”. Or “In the beginning of God’s creation”. Observe that the narrative begins with there being a wind over water.
    Secondly, of course, the Bible – and no imaginative creationist story – tells us about the choice of the order of the bones – not even the vision of Ezekiel.

  7. “There are an increasing number of scientists who do believe that in six days God created all that was created. Their numbers run into many many thousands.”

    Whatever such people may be, they aren’t scientists.

    “Darwin’s theories make a very good narrative but not very good science. The chances of getting just the 200 plus bones in the human body in the right order by chance are so infinitely small as to make this an impossibility.”

    But of course it wasn’t by chance, but by natural selection operating over many, many generations atop a myriad physical, chemical and biological processes which help to shape living things. The “just by chance” argument is made either by the utterly ignorant or by cynical types who know it’s wrong but use it to dupe the rubes.

  8. michaelfugate says: “Maybe he was going for 10 to the 18 attempts, but the notation confused him?”

    I didn’t do the math, but I looked it up. There are 31,536,000 seconds in one year (of 365 days). If you multiply that by a billion, or 10 billion, you won’t get anything like David might have been trying to write.

  9. @Eric Lipps
    they aren’t scientists.
    Myself, I prefer not to make this a matter of personalities.
    I rather point out the undeniable fact that, even though how large a number of brilliant and well-informed people who have been hard at work on this problem for all these years, they have not come up with an alternative to evolution.
    No account of what might happen in the world of life so that things turn out the way they are: for example, that all of those bones end up in that order, among all of the vast possibilities possible if evolution were not providing constraints on life.
    There is no such account, and, from what we see is being said, there is no prospect of there being any account which does not mention evolution.

  10. Having a difficult time believing any letter could be as bad as the excerpts make it appear, I read the entire letter at the paper’s website.

    It is that bad. In fact, it’s worse. If there were an objective method of rating all 543 of your Creationist Wisdom letters, this would have to be among the five worst. You certainly have a strong stomach, my dear curmudgeonly friend.

  11. retiredsciguy says: “You certainly have a strong stomach”

    It’s not so bad. The letters are a lot more fun than writing about ol’ Hambo. Hey, the letters are more than 10% of the blog posts. After 200, I said I was going to stop doing them and everyone protested.

  12. michaelfugate

    I got an estimate of 3 x 10^17 and kind of rounded up to 1 x 10^18, but it could have just pulled it out of Uranus.

  13. Just because the theory of evolution is flavour of the month…

    150 years is now equal to a month. This guy is truly awful at maths.

  14. His “math” is so far off, it’s not even wrong! It’s not even math!
    To anyone who is numerically literate, he sounds like a typical creationist – or one of the 3 stooges pretending to be a math professor – badly.

    They should stay away from using numbers to defend their nonsense. It never adds up and it makes them look even more foolish. But apparently, to them that’s a status symbol.

    1 year (as used in astronomical computations) = 365.25 days/year x 86400 seconds/day
    = 31557600 seconds/year

    10 billion (10 x 10^9) years = 315576000000000000 seconds
    or 315 quadrillion 576 trillion seconds

    That value of “1,018” puzzles me.

  15. Hmm, methinks a more apt title for this entry would be Dem Boneheads.

    10^18 seconds is the order of magnitude of the universe’s age (13.7 billion years). Possibly, the newspaper didn’t reproduce the letter faithfully. Also, it may be a bit of, er, dry humour, seeing as it was published on 1 April…

  16. “His theory is so weak…” Hmm, is Davy boy talking about his own theory? In any case, his argument is so weak and incoherent that it doesn’t even rise to the level of “wrong”!

  17. 8 billion scientists believe that the earth revolves around the moon, which is the center of the universe. These can be found on the planet Kolub, which is just south of Jupiter. And they would prove it with *real science*! – if they didn’t happen to exist on the ethereal plane, where science is not needed – once you’re there, it all just enters your head. I have proved this to myself, using arithmetic – 8 plus a bunch of zeros equals 8 billion! There! try to prove me wrong! go to planet Kolub and see for yourself!

    (Well, I tried to ‘make this stuff up,’ but I admit that Dave’s original is much funnier!)

  18. “What the deuce is it to me?” he interrupted impatiently: “you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.”
    Sherlock Holmes in A Study In Scarlet

  19. Mike Elzinga

    The problem may be in the inability of the newspaper typesetting to print an exponent properly.

    Ten billion years is 3.16 x 10^17 seconds, which the author may have improperly rounded up to 1018 (i.e., 10^18); but then it got printed by the newspaper as 1018.

  20. Mike Elzinga

    Aha! Exactly as happened when I tried to use tags to make an exponent.