Creationist Wisdom #553: Without Excuse

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Chronicle-Journal of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. It’s titled When the engine of evolution stalls. The newspaper doesn’t have a 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 think he’s the treasurer of the Westfort Baptist Church, but that’s not enough for full-name treatment, so we’ll use only his first name, which is Keith. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

Keith begins by referring to an earlier letter, the author of which “got at least one thing right in his letter, and that is that evolution is not rocket science.”

What does Keith mean by that? He says:

Rocket science is based on testable, repeatable experiments and observation as well as trial and error, whereas evolution is an atheistic faith-based religion that tries to explain life on this planet without invoking the supernatural.

Ah, so that’s what evolution is. Let’s read on:

The problem is, that the more we know about life and how complicated it is, we realize that life is not primarily about chemicals but about information, copious amounts of information in the DNA of every living cell.

Oooooooooh — information! See Phlogiston, Vitalism, and Information. Keith continues:

The so-called engine of evolution, mutation, cannot create new information but can only degrade that which already exists.

Uh huh. Except that we know how it’s done — see How One Gene Becomes Two Different Genes. Here’s more:

Everything we know about information is that it only comes from an intelligent source.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Actually, everything we “know” about this kind of pixie-dust information comes from the Discovery Institute, which we’ve never seen described as an intelligent source.

And now we have arrived at the climax of Keith’s letter:

It seems the closer we look at the wonder of life the more we realize that the Bible rings true when it says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

So there you are, dear reader. If you disagree with Keith, you are without excuse. And you know that that means — the Lake of Fire!

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

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13 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #553: Without Excuse

  1. The newspaper doesn’t have a comments feature.

    No wonder, if this is typical of the letters it publishes.

  2. Charles Deetz ;)

    How does one shut down this ‘information’ argument, or redirect it to a worthwhile discussion of actual science?

    If I ask Keith about the complexity of the information that life has in general, does it make sense that a singular designer could have come up with DNA, then ‘programmed’ it, then created a mechanism to build based on the program, then have fully-designed animals result from that program, then make sure that all those animals can interact with each other in an ecosystem, and a system to recreate these animals that doesn’t need the designer’s help any more? And all this on one planet of billions specially placed and sized for life? And then this very technical creation gets summed up by the creator in a few paragraphs of a book that doesn’t even cover all the kingdoms of life the creator created.

    All Keith’s got to come back to me is godidit … and that, I would hope, would feel like a lame cop-out even to him.

  3. Creationist Wisdom #548 was also brought to us by the good people at the Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay. I wonder if this was designed.

    Someone call Dembski.

  4. michaelfugate

    Lake of Fire for me then.

  5. Doctor Stochastic

    The creationista (or intelligent designerista) use of the term information involves an intentional conflation of the term as used by Shannon and by The Prisoner. Their characterization of information is also nonsense. Both type of information, the mathematical formula (from communication theory) and the loose use of the word in common talk, can be increased or decreased. It’s trivial to come up with an example where both adding members to a group can increase or decrease information content or erasing can increase or decrease information.

  6. @Doctor Stochastic: Information, as in The Prisoner? You won’t get it! By hook or by crook, we will. One of my favorite TV shows ever!

  7. @Doctor Stochastic
    Not only is it obvious that “information”, in any sense that anybody can think of that answers to the needs of the creationists, can increase or decrease in the ordinary working of the natural world …
    The creationists themselves rely on the increase or decrease of “information” to make their point. So we don’t have to rely on assuming some meaning to the term.
    It is the only case that I can think of when anyone proposes a law of nature and immediately points to failures of the law. Rather, as one would expect, first give reasons to expect the law to be obeyed.
    It is rather, unfortunately, commonplace to introduce a term without giving a description of it. And it is common enough to assume without reason that a neologism has a referent, common enough to have a name for the fallacy: reification.

  8. Whenever creationists claim that “information only comes from an intelligent mind”, I think of the Evolved Antenna:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolved_antenna

    In short, NASA used an evolutionary algorithm to find the optimal shape for an antenna they needed. The result looks pretty bizarre, but it works and has been flown in space. It outperforms traditional designs “intelligently designed” by humans.

    On AIG I read that evolutionary algorithms running on computers only work when there is a “predetermined result”. Yet NOBODY IN THE WORLD knew beforehand what the optimal antenna design would be before they actually ran the program, so how can the result be “predetermined”? The evolutionary algorithm, completely dumb and unintelligent as such, generated NEW INFORMATION. Indeed, it surpassed human engineers simply by running through countless random variations of the antenna shape and constantly building on the ones that proved to be ever so slightly more functional. In the end, a highly refined design emerged.

    Deal with it, dear creationists: It does NOT always take an “intelligent mind” to generate information or (the semblance of) design.

  9. “degin” > design, of course. Oh great voice …?

    [*Voice from above*] That and another typo have been fixed. All is well, my son.

  10. Creationists are given to using observations which tend to weaken their position as if they were irrefutable evidence for “Intelligent Design”.
    Two examples:
    No scientist has been able to design, starting from scratch, a living thing. As if this means that only intelligent design can do it.
    Engineers have been known to copy a feature which arises by natural processes in living things to solve a problem which they have not been able to solve by their clever designs. As if this means that intelligent design can do more (rather than less) than nature.

  11. Rocket science is based on testable, repeatable experiments and observation as well as trial and error, whereas evolution is an atheistic faith-based religion that tries to explain life on this planet without invoking the supernatural.

    Well, now. I don’t know about science being “an atheistic faith-based religion” (are there religions which aren’t faith-based?), but of course it “attempts to explain life on this planet without invoking the supernatural.” That’s kind of the whole point of science: that if something exists, it’s part of nature, and that therefore “supernatural” is a word without a referent.

    “Keith” doesn’t just have a problem with evolution; he’s got one with science in general, like the dimbulbs in Kansas a while back who tried to open the door to teaching creationism in public school science classes by redefining science to embrace supernatural explanations for natural phenomena.

  12. Holding The Line In Florida

    @abeastwood, “I am not a number, I am a free man!” The best show ever made. Ah our age shows!

  13. Well, well, well! Creacrap finally is getting off the bottom of its deep, deep pit!

    First law of biogenesis: ” life only comes from other life or an intelligent source.”
    Second law of bionegenesis: “new information only comes from an intelligent source.”

    I’m impressed.

    TomS demands: “first give reasons to expect the law to be obeyed.”
    Why, god of course.

    Hnohf makes a bold claim: “It outperforms traditional designs “intelligently designed” by humans.” Aha! I recognize god’s hand.

    ” Yet NOBODY IN THE WORLD knew beforehand what the optimal antenna design would be ”
    Oh yes, somebody did: god.