Creationist Wisdom #615: Kitzmiller, a Travesty

You remember our post from last week, Ten Years After the Kitzmiller Case, about several articles in the York Daily Record, located in York, Pennsylvania, which were written for the coming ten-year anniversary of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the same newspaper. It’s titled Dover ID stories ‘puff pieces’. The newspaper has a comments feature, but so far there’s only one comment.

Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. He writes a lot of letters-to-the-editor, but that doesn’t qualify for full-name treatment. His first name is Larry. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

The recent series of puff-pieces celebrating the famous Dover Intelligent Design trial of 2005 consisted largely of a lot of mutual back-patting and self-congratulations on the part of the plaintiffs and the judge for their landmark defense of the secular-fundamentalist dogma of Darwinian evolution.

Secular-fundamentalist dogma — BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We should have foreseen that such a letter would show up. Then Larry says:

Now, it was clearly an error in judgment for some of the 2004 Dover school board to have publicly claimed religious motivation for their true and factual statement of 11-19-04, regarding the scientific problems confronting Darwinian theory.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Yes, an “error in judgment.” Or was it a rare moment of truth from the creationists? Let’s read on:

The missing element in the newspaper’s fluff about the case, is the actual status of the empirical fossil evidence.

Can you guess what’s coming next? Sure you can. Here it is:

Everyone admits the kind of evolution that produces variations within the species — the kind Darwin observed in his famous travels, and the kind microbiologists face when viruses and bacteria mutate into new strains. But even in the latter case, despite intensive laboratory efforts, no set of mutations has been observed to produce a new species. Nor is there any record in the rocks, of the multitude of mutated intermediate forms which Darwin’s evolution must’ve traversed, in crossing the vast spans of time between supposedly related fossil species.

It’s the micro-macro mambo and the claim that there are no transitional fossils — both in one paragraph! Those clunkers are discussed in Common Creationist Claims Confuted. Larry continues:

What we do find in the geological record is the sudden appearance of major types of plants and animals, with new and complex organs: right from the initial Cambrian explosion, and repeatedly thereafter, whole new ecosystems of species arising with a great variety of taxonomic classes and orders — right from their beginnings. Moreover, the very earliest fossils represent all of the great groups of animals except the vertebrates (rather than just a few, which would then evolve greater diversity); and the earliest fossil trees were already large, with no smaller ancestors preceding.

This could have been written by the Discoveroids. Maybe it was. Here’s more:

Finally, to the point that design can’t be science because it implies a creator, it turns out that various philosophical efforts to define science so as to rule out design also rule out Darwin’s theory.

What? Hey, this is a new argument. Observe carefully, as Larry explains what he just said:

Modern natural science routinely posits invisible causes.

Like gravity and electromagnetism? Well, yes, but they can be tested and measured, and their effects can be predicted. What’s Larry’s point? Here it comes:

Design simply posits a formative power of intellectual nature as being causative of forms within physical and biological nature — a conception well-known to Western science prior to the arrival of the celebrated geniuses of modernity.

Ah yes, Yahweh. Well done, Larry! This is the rest of his letter:

The Dover trial was a travesty of both justice and intellectual integrity, as well as a disaster for intellectual freedom in these states, where it is now, so the newspaper informs us, virtually impossible to admit in public schools the actual status of the facts regarding terrestrial biogenesis, as revealed not in the Bible, but in the fossil record. And the taxpaying citizens of Dover Township both paid the bill and suffered the price ($1 million) of daring to question a secular dogma on the basis of scientific facts.

Larry isn’t happy. Creationists never are. But his letter was delightful. Thanks, Larry!

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

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13 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #615: Kitzmiller, a Travesty

  1. Ahhhhh. . . . .the sweet sweet taste of creationist tears. Yummy!!

  2. > “What we do find in the geological record is the sudden
    > appearance of major types of plants and animals, with
    > new and complex organs: right from the initial Cambrian
    > explosion”
    ——————
    Liar. Another creationist cretin who claims to know what’s in the fossil record, but probably doesn’t know the difference between a brachiopod and a Brachiosaurus or a pteropod and a pterosaur or a diatom and a diapsid.

    The only plants in the Cambrian are algae – and many folks don’t classify them as plants. The first definite land plant body fossils are Silurian & the oldest fossil root traces of land plants are in the Ordovician.

    All of the major animal phyla definitely do NOT appear right at the initial Cambrian Explosion.
    ————
    > “the very earliest fossils represent all of the great
    > groups of animals except the vertebrates (rather than
    > just a few, which would then evolve greater diversity)”
    ———-
    Fibber. The very earliest fossils are Archean-aged (3.5 billion years old) bacteria, in the form of stromatolites and microscopic body fossils. Simple eucaryote body fossils don’t appear until the Paleoproterozoic (over 2 billion years old). In terms of animals, sponges appear well into the Neoproterozoic (well before the Cambrian Explosion). Bryozoans do not appear even close to the Cambrian Explosion. There are numerous soft-bodied animal phyla with no presence in Cambrian rocks. There are some Early Cambrian chordates preserved as soft-bodied fossils that some paleontologists classify as vertebrates (I disagree with that taxonomic assignment) – see Yunnanozoan and Haikouella, for example.
    ———–
    > “the earliest fossil trees were already large, with no
    > smaller ancestors preceding.”
    ———
    Prevaricator. The earliest land plants in the Silurian were small and simple – see Cooksonia. By the Early to Middle Devonian, land plants were getting larger. The first trees were in the Late Devonian. Earth has been forested ever since, except for occasional mass extinction/global disaster-related events that temporarily deforested (partially to nearly completely) Earth’s continents.

    The first angiosperms (flowering plants) didn’t arrive until gah-jillions of years after that – in the Cretaceous.

    Larry the Loon here talks about intellectual integrity and scientific facts – he has neither. This provides valuable insight into creationist cult beliefs & creationist cult followers.

  3. 1. Larry the Loon really does try to use the big syllable words correctly.

    2. I don’t recall the creationists screaming about intellectual freedom at the Scopes Trial.

  4. That’s a good one – just glad I wasn’t eating or drinking.

    If they weren’t tall, we wouldn’t call them trees, would we?

    The Jepson Manual says this: “Woody plant of medium to tall maximum height, with generally one trunk from the base (e.g. Sequoia sempervirens).”

  5. @waldteufel: Is that similar to the smell of creationism burning in the morning?

  6. Charles Deetz ;)

    Whoever coined the term ‘explosion’ for the Cambrian set a wonderful trap for know-it-all creationists to put their foot in their mouth. Unfortunately, they seem to continue to talk well with that foot in their mouth and keep running on sounding like an unintelligent boob. Larry is a classic, thanks SC.

  7. What we do find in the geological record is the sudden appearance of major types of plants and animals, with new and complex organs: right from the initial Cambrian explosion . . .

    Snicker. What about Archaeopteryx? What about the assorted fossil proto-horses from Eohippus on? For that matter, what about dinosaur fossils with birdlike characteristics, including indications that the living creatures had warm blood and feathers?

    Oh, but I forgot. These are all “kinds” unto themselves killed off by Noah’s flood in 2348 B.C., or else fakes.

    Isn’t it neat when any evidence that you’re fat-out wrong can be dismissed with a wave of the wand, er, hand?

  8. Modern natural science routinely posits invisible causes.

    Like gravity and electromagnetism? Well, yes, but they can be tested and measured, and their effects can be predicted.

    Good point by the Curmudgeon but I would it also doesn’t stop scientists from positing theories as to the mechanism of these so called invisible causes unlike the religious types who inarticulately describe god as working in mysterious ways. Yeah, like that really helps in understanding one’s life!

  9. The Discoveroids are sensitive about Kitzmiller because they fled like little girls when the going got tough. Read the story in the book “Monkey Girl.” The Discoveroids turned and ran screaming to get away from Kitzmiller when the promised full, unfettered support.

  10. The difficulty with creationism is not that the mechanism is invisable. It is that there is no mechanism, and anything at all is equally compatible with it.

  11. The difficulty with creationism is not that the mechanism is invisible. It is that there is no mechanism, and anything at all is equally compatible with it.

    On the flip-side, a creationist can give us no reason as to why we should take their particular supernatural beliefs any more seriously than they take conflicting religions/delusions/myths.

    Creationists can’t even agree with each other on age of the earth, mechanism for creation, whether the “creator” is a 3-in-1 being or not, whether it wrote a book… if so, what it meant to communicate… Yet they all imagine they are experts on the unknowable AND they imagine themselves humble for believing bulls***.

    Moreover, their creators are indistinguishable from delusions or myths as far as all evidence is concerned. Scientists can’t pin them down on what they are talking about because they don’t really know what they are talking about. We know humans invent magical beings, but we have no reason to believe that consciousness of any sort could exist without a material brain (what does that even mean?!– could a rock be conscious? To me, consciousness without a brain is like sound in a vacuum– it lacks coherence.) They are incurious about science that threatens their faith– so not only do they not have alternative explanations for the evidence… they deny it even exists!

    Creationists can give no reason as to why or how this creator would exist… or what it’s made of… why do they imagine it thinks? How does it do so without a brain? Consciousness is a byproduct of evolution — it helps its possessor survive and reproduce … why would supernatural beings need such a thing? If there are supernatural beings that want people to believe certain things, why wouldn’t they just use their superpowers to communicate clearly? Even if I wanted to believe in their “creator” it makes no more logical sense than believing in Santa … and I suspect most believers believe because they fear non-belief.

    The creator concept raises many more questions than it is invoked to explain. Moreover, those who claim expertise on the subject don’t agree with each other and have no mechanism for figuring out who (if any) is right. On top of that, many think “the creator” will torture them forever if they don’t believe the right magical story about creation! This is probably even more true of fundamentalist Muslims than fundamentalist Christians.

    How can anyone be an actual expert on something that cannot even be demonstrated to exist? Yet all creationists imagine they know that a god exists … that it has a mind … that they know what it thinks (pretty much what they, themselves, think), that they know what it did … But from a scientific perspective, that’s on par with invoking Zeus as the cause of lightening … or demons as the cause of disease … or saying “it’s magic”.

    If creationists ever hope to be taken as something other than nutters, they need to learn some basic science … understand the evidence thoroughly … and have a better explanation that produces results (like DNA testing) than what science is offering. But they never do. They just feel very proud of convincing themselves that their magical beliefs are some sort of “higher truth” and that they are somehow more moral for believing the nonsense.

  12. What always impresses me about people like Larry is their sheer mind-boggling arrogance.

    I know virtually nothing about baseball, so when the subject comes up I keep my mouth shut (except perhaps to ask questions: “Er, what’s a home run?”). This is the approach any ordinarily intelligent person takes to topics of which they’re fundamentally ignorant.

    Larry quite evidently knows even less about palaeontology, stratigraphy, biology, etc., etc., etc. — and even about what science actually is — than I do about baseball (which takes some doing), and yet his arrogance is such that he feels entitled to “correct” the folks who’ve spent a lifetime studying this stuff and to broadcast his homespun conclusions in the firm belief that anyone except a maroon would trouble to take them seriously.

    The trouble is, of course, that there are a lot of maroons around, and some of them probably do take Larry seriously.

  13. “What always impresses me about people like Larry is their sheer mind-boggling arrogance.”
    Not only you – me as well. And without tears in their eyes they claim that they are chockful of christian humility.