Creationist Wisdom #621: The Next Paradigm

Today’s second letter-to-the-editor is yet another response to the newspaper articles we wrote about a couple of weeks ago: Ten Years After the Kitzmiller Case, regarding 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.

Like a couple of other letters we wrote about recently, this one also appears in the York Daily Record. It’s titled Design is a different paradigm. 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 — we posted about one a couple of weeks ago: #615: Kitzmiller, a Travesty — but he still doesn’t qualify for full-name treatment. His first name is Larry. Excerpts from his new letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

I agree with [an earlier letter] that some members of the 2005 Dover school board were wrong to emphasize their religious motivations for offering students a glimpse of the scientific problems faced by Darwinian evolution. The religious aspect is objectively irrelevant to the scientific issues, yet the ill-considered reference to religion enabled the judge to rule as he did.

Ah, the religious motivation of the school board was irrelevant, and it confused the judge. Larry is going to discuss the scientific issues. As we remarked about his earlier letter, “This could have been written by the Discoveroids. Maybe it was.” That’s true of today’s letter also. He says:

The horrible thought crime which cost Dover Township $1 million was to state in class that credible scientific dissent from Darwin’s theory really does exist, and that interested students could read about it in the library. This hardly amounts to “teaching of intelligent design in science classes,” let alone to trying to “stop the teaching of evolution,” as [the other letter] implies.

Oh? Suppose the school board had mandated that a message be read in science class telling the students to read the bible for a credible scientific alternative to Darwin’s theory. That’s not very different from what they did — recommending Of Pandas and People. They’re both creationist books. But Larry doesn’t agree. Let’s read on:

The stale cliche that Intelligent Design theory is really religion overlooks the fact that some of the scientists currently at work developing the design paradigm are not theists (believers in God) let alone Christians. This is about the scientific detection of design in nature, not about worshiping a designer.

Pure Discoveroid drivel. Larry continues:

Design is a completely new paradigm which considers inputs of form or information into natural systems, above and beyond purely mechanical causes. Therefore it is incompatible with the dominant Darwinian paradigm, and supporters of the latter will invariably discredit it, mostly without fair consideration.

Oooooooooooh — it’s above and beyond purely mechanical causes. Yes, of course. That’s because the designer — blessed be he! — is supernatural. Here’s more:

As for the fossil record, the examples of intermediate forms given by [the earlier letter] do not address the problem. Sure, there are analogies between current and extinct species, like tigers and saber-tooths, or elephants and mastodons. And yes, it is possible to construct sequences of fossil species, from earlier to later in the geological record, which appear to be possibly developmental in nature, running from simpler to more complex, or from smaller to larger brains — as has been done with human species. But the species comprised in these sequences are generally quite far apart in geological time, and what is missing is any evidence whatsoever of the billions and billions of mutant species that should appear in between the reference fossils in the neat textbook diagrams — if Darwin’s theory were true.

Aha — there are no intermediate fossils! Or at least, not enough to satisfy Larry. Moving along:

I am not specifically familiar with the fossil fish with crocodile head and rudimentary feet mentioned by [earlier letter]. But like all other fossil species it doubtless developed some adaptive variations and then went extinct, without any subsequent record of randomly mutated species in between it and the species it was supposedly evolving into.

We assume that’s a reference to Tiktaalik. Larry doesn’t know about it, so it’s not important. Another excerpt:

Things have gotten even worse for Darwin’s bright idea since the advent of biochemical genetics. By mapping the genomes of diverse species, it is possible to calculate the theoretical number of mutations separating one species from another. It turns out that Homo sapiens is closer to several lower animals than to the higher apes, assuming Darwin’s notion of evolution by mutation from species to species.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! And now we come to the end:

So there is nothing absurd, nor inherently religious about design science: it is simply the paradigm of the next scientific revolution (See Dembski, “The Design Revolution”).

Wow — hard core! How would you like to debate that guy?

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27 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #621: The Next Paradigm

  1. I think your instincts are right, Curmy. This letter sure sounds as if it was written by Klinghoffer. If not, Larry has found a way to channel Kling’s snark.

  2. michaelfugate

    I am having a hard time deciding if he is dumber than a post or a rock….

  3. This is about the scientific detection of design in nature…
    Yes indeed, those who support Intelligent Designism are feverishly working on detecting god, oops, I meant the cregreat designertor.

  4. Charles Deetz ;)

    @ michaelfugate … bag of hammers.

  5. Charles Deetz ;)

    The bar has been raised: billions and billions of intermediate fossils are needed to prove evolution. And each one a mutant. Try lining those up in a tree you crazy darwinists.

  6. some of the scientists currently at work developing the design paradigm are not theists (believers in God) let alone Christians

    OK, Larry: name one.

  7. Derek Freyberg

    @michael fugate (#2):
    “Thicker than two short planks”, I think.

  8. @michaelfugate (#3): Dumber than a tongue-tied turtle.

    Re-reading this letter, I’m even more convinced it was written by the Discovery Institute, and Larry is either just a pen name or a conduit for the DI.

    Just look at the wording —

    “…offering students a glimpse of the scientific problems faced by Darwinian evolution.”

    “The horrible thought crime which cost Dover Township $1 million…”

    “The stale cliche that Intelligent Design theory is really religion…”

    “This is about the scientific detection of design in nature, not about worshiping a designer.”

    “Design is a completely new paradigm …”

    Design is a completely new paradigm??? What guy sitting in his parlor in York, Pa. reading his local paper is going to come up with a line like that? There are probably only three people in York, Pa. who can define the word “paradigm”, let alone use it correctly in a sentence. You hit the nail on the head, Curmy — “Pure Discoveroid drivel.”

    Design may be “a completely new paradigm”, but it is backed by not one iota of evidence.

  9. “bag of hammers”
    You almost got it right, how about a “bag of *broken* hammers”?

  10. Christine Janis

    “Sure, there are analogies between current and extinct species, like tigers and saber-tooths, or elephants and mastodons.”

    Seriously poor analogies. Tigers and saber-tooths are in different subfamilies within Felidae, elephants and mastodons are in different families within Proboscidea.

    But, then, when you know nothing, why not flaunt it.

  11. @retiredsciguy:
    Design may be “a completely new paradigm” …
    No, the difficulty is not that there is no evidence. No, the difficulty is that “there is no there, there”.
    The critical terms are empty. Like a advertising campaign, “Chocolate Frosted Sugar ombs are neat”. Or, like a negative political campaign.
    I can’t think of any intellectual “paradigm shift” which was solely, “There is something fatally wrong with the old idea.” (Yes, political revolutions have at least begun with that.) There was something fatally wrong with the Ptolemaic model, but until Copernicus came up with an alternative, it remained.
    Yes, the arguments against evolution are silly, and self-contradictory, and without evidence, but aside from all that, they are not for any alternative: What happens in the world of life, when and where, why and how, so that things turn out at they are, rather than something else?

  12. SC: “Wow — hard core! How would you like to debate that guy?”

    It’s certainly tempting to show how all his misconceptions are shot down in “Index to creationist claims,” but I’d patiently defer that until I ask him a few hard questions about his own “theory,” starting of course with whether he agrees with “design” hero Michael Behe that it’s still “~4 billion years of common descent.” Then I’d ask whether there ought to be “equal time” for his “theory” in class (I’ll ignore the court rulings that it’s inappropriate for religious reasons). When he says “yes!” I’d reply with “Then why did you not give equal time to the answers to your misconceptions?”

  13. “retiredsciguy: “Re-reading this letter, I’m even more convinced it was written by the Discovery Institute, and Larry is either just a pen name or a conduit for the DI.”

    Thanks. I’m glad someone has the patience to read the drivel, and take the time to analyze what “kind” of denier the author is. So another way to debate him is to be a Loki troll, in this case to play the role of a flaming Biblical young-earther, and ask if he agrees that all “kinds” were Created by God independently (not via common ancestors) ~6000 years ago. In fact it would be great to have this troll in a tag team with the one asking whether he agrees with Behe. Certainly he’d try to weasel out of answering either. But that’s the whole point. The pathetic evasion would alert all but the most hopeless deniers (only ~half of all of those readers who would otherwise fall for his sound bites) that he is trying to pull a fast one.

  14. “Design is a completely new paradigm.”
    Really? I seem to remember a certain theologian called Paley and his Watch.

    I don’t think Larry’s letters come from Seattle. Not even Klinkleclapper would pull of the howler mentioned by Realthog.

  15. Pope Retiredsciguy contemplates:

    Re-reading this letter, I’m even more convinced it was written by the Discovery Institute, and Larry is either just a pen name or a conduit for the DI.

    Perhaps some reader of this blog, with access to some plagiarism-detecting software such as used in academia, could run a little comparative analysis of ‘Larry’s’ letters and the various screeds pumped out by the DI?

    I also would not be surprised if Common Descent were discovered thereby…

  16. And no one should be surprised that I have yet again made a hash of my html tag thing-a-mabobs in the previous post.

    And yet again, I must humbly beseech The Great Invisible Hand of Correction to miraculously intervene and rectify my egregious error.

    As Blanche DuBois so nearly said, “I have always depended upon the kindness of an Editing Arranger”…

    [*Voice from above*] Once again, I stretched forth my mighty hand ..

  17. Larry says “Things have gotten even worse for Darwin’s bright idea since the advent of biochemical genetics”, demonstrating, in case anyone was curious, that he knows as little about genetics as he does about evolution. Why are so many creationists so ignorant and proud of it?

  18. Congrats! You managed to vomit up ID/Cretard talking points, you must feel sooooo clever.

  19. Let us not forget that it was the school board’s action in forcing the teachers to teach something which they could not in conscience support.

  20. michaelfugate

    I stuck it in to safe assign plagiarism tool and got a 0% match…

  21. @retiredsciguy:
    As to knowledge of “paradigm”, is there any indication that anybody in the DI knows what a paradigm is, or cares?

  22. @TomS — I think “paradigm” is one of their favorite buzz words. When they use words that hardly anyone understands, they think it makes them look smart.

  23. @retiredsciguy –
    Yes, I agree with you. It comes from the use by Thomas Kuhn of “paradigm shift” to describe the structure of scientific revolutions. I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to make that jibe at ID.
    BTW, the Wikipedia article notes that its use in marketing language is nearly meaningless.
    I don’t know where Wikipedia has come up its list of several examples of scientific revolutions.

  24. It turns out that Homo sapiens is closer to several lower animals than to the higher apes, assuming Darwin’s notion of evolution by mutation from species to species.

    I don’t know where “Larry” picked up the notion that “it turns out” that humans are more closely related to “lower animals” (and if evolution didn’t happen and all species are equally old, how can there be “lower” ones?) than to apes, and I’m not sure he does either.

    And Darwin didn’t say a word about mutation. The idea that mutations could introduce new traits (information!) came later, from other people.

  25. Christine Janis

    ‘I don’t know where “Larry” picked up the notion that “it turns out” that humans are more closely related to “lower animals” ‘

    I think I know where this comes from. I’ve seen a bit of creationist hot-footing between apples and oranges.
    There’s a publication out there that says that mice share 99% analogous genes with humans.

    Now — if you compare that with the gene sequence identity between chimp and human (98.6%) you get to claim that evolutionists are wrong (as usual) and humans are actually more closely related to mice.

    Of course, if you compare apples with apples, the gene sequence identity between human and mouse is around 85%.

  26. There are cases where there is a confusion when measuring the distance between things which are contemporaneous and those which are from different times. Chimps and humans are different because of their divergences from their common ancestor – 5+ million years each for a total of 10+ million years; while the distance from humans and an extinct primate could amount to less than 10+ million year’s distance.

  27. Techreseller

    The challenge at the end by SC was would you like to debate this guy. I was raised with a Code of Chivalry. One of the precepts of that code was that it was improper to fight with an unarmed man. As the writer of this letter is clearly unarmed intellectually, a debate (fight) is by definition unfair.