Creationist Wisdom #666: Barnum and Bailey

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears at the website Canada Free Press, located in Toronto. What we found is actually a column, but we’ll treat it as a letter. It’s titled The theory of evolution is based on belief. They have a comments section.

As you may have noticed, the last letter in our collection was number 664. As we’ve been approaching the 666th entry in our collection, we were hoping for something especially goofy, but we were worried that the right letter wouldn’t appear when we needed it. This is the one we were looking for, so we’re giving it the numerical place it deserves by temporarily skipping number 665. The next one will have that number.

Unless the letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name, but this one is an exception. His name is Charles Wills. Canada Free Press says:

Charles Wills is a retired Engineer. Since retirement, he has devoted much of his free time to reading and researching world and biblical history. He enjoys reading and collecting old books, especially textbooks published before the turn of the 20th century, as well as writing about the wealth of information hidden in them.

Charley’s reliance on old books will soon become apparent. Excerpts from his column will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

Recently, I found out that my daughter had lost her faith in God due to the teaching of evolution in public school.

Gasp — it’s every parent’s nightmare! Let’s read on:

What I find disturbing is that parents have no say over the curriculum being taught in the public school system. On top of that, the local school board has no control over the content in the textbooks. The author of the text has full control over it’s content, and nobody, that I can find, has the power to question it, and no one has the power to validate the information within the textbook. Publishers print the best selling textbook regardless of the honesty and integrity of the information within it.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Charley continues:

Fortunately, my daughter regained her faith, but many of her friends were not as fortunate. After thinking about the effect evolution had on my daughter, I got angry and fired off a letter to several people in the local school system. I am enclosing a copy of my letter. Please feel free to use the letter or use any part of it.

We are all thrilled that Charley’s daughter was saved from the depravity of evolution! And we are grateful to Charley for providing us with his letter, which many of you, no doubt, will copy and send to your own school system. What follows is that letter:

The theory of evolution is based on belief. The physical evidence presented to support evolution has been discredited as hoaxes, and includes Haeckel’s embryo chart, Piltdown man, and Nebraska man to name a few. It’s interesting to note that the evidence for Nebraska man turned out to be a single pigs tooth that was dug up in Nebraska.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We told you about Charley’s obsession with old books. All the issues he raised have been debunked for generations. See Piltdown Man: The Creationists’ Savior. As for Nebraska Man, his popular image was the creation of a newspaper illustrator, which was promptly criticized by the biologist who first suggested the tooth he found might be hominid. He reportedly called the illustration “a figment of the imagination of no scientific value, and undoubtedly inaccurate.” The error in identifying the tooth was discovered three years later. “Nebraska Man” never achieved general acceptance by scientists, even during the brief period when the press was running wild with it. TalkOrigins debunks it here. TalkOrigins also discusses Haeckel’s drawings in their Index to Creationist Claims, and again here: Wells and Haeckel’s Embryos.

Ready for more from Charley’s recommended letter? Okay, here it comes:

There’s no real evidence to support evolution, and that makes it a belief, not a scientific fact. Moreover, if I dug up the bones of an ape, or a chimpanzee like Lucy, how would I know that this animal ever had any offspring, or that the offspring lived long enough to procreate? I could conclude that the monkey was the last of it’s [sic] kind, or an ancestor of chimpanzees, and my conclusion would be more scientifically valid since it isn’t based on a presupposition. Digging up old monkey bones and passing them off as the remains of an ancestor of man, without any evidence whatsoever to support that conclusion, is not science; it’s idiocy!

Isn’t this great? Moving along:

In addition, all the false evidence presented to support evolution doesn’t say much for the theory, but it does call into question the integrity of people presenting known hoaxes as science. Having to falsify evidence to support the theory, should cast a dark shadow over it! In light of the fraud evolutionists continue to perpetuate to support the theory, one has to conclude that the theory is a hoax because it’s based on hoaxes, misrepresentation, misinterpretation, and conjecture.

And now we come to the end:

In conclusion, since known hoaxes are still being cited as scientific proof for the theory of evolution, then it’s a forgone conclusion that the character and integrity of science is no better than the people who perpetuate these hoaxes and call it science. Based on all the available evidence, I have to conclude that evolution is the Barnum and Bailey side show of science, and should not be taken seriously, and certainly should not be taught in public schools.

So there you are, dear reader — letter number 666. Your Curmudgeon is pleased.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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26 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #666: Barnum and Bailey

  1. My, Charles Wills’s letter is surely a Beast . . .

    In conclusion, since known hoaxes are still being cited as scientific proof for the theory of evolution

    I wonder if he can name the “known hoaxes . . . still being cited” — or even just one of them?

  2. Curmudgeon, you have succeeded beyond your wildest dreams with this one! I revel in the irony of this quote: “In conclusion, since known hoaxes are still being cited as scientific proof for the theory of evolution, then it’s a forgone conclusion that the character and integrity of science is no better than the people who perpetuate these hoaxes and call it science. ” Which is, of course, a perfect description of creationism, not scientific evolution.

    Just for grins here is the Numberphile entry for 666: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wm8ZhvHKgT8

  3. “Digging up old monkey bones and passing them off as the remains of an ancestor of man, without any evidence whatsoever to support that conclusion, is not science; it’s idiocy!”
    Charley’s totally right! He ain’t no kin of no monkey! His ancestors were aliens! Without a Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages that goes back afor at least 200 000 years saying that Charley is a human is a belief, not a scientific fact! ‘Cuz that conclusion isn’t based on a presupposition.

  4. “Recently, I found out that my daughter had lost her faith in God due to the teaching of evolution in public school.”

    Maybe because of Charlie, but he’d never would give it a thought that the parent, i.e., he, is the problem to begin with. But then again, kids aren’t supposed to think for themselves, except in the case where they are encouraged to reject evolution.

    “Publishers print the best selling textbook regardless of the honesty and integrity of the information within it.”

    Charlie best be careful here, he’s treading on the turf of the Texas SBOE!!!

    Realhog said:
    I wonder if he can name the “known hoaxes . . . still being cited” — or even just one of them?

    Yes, sir, every instance, every fossil, turned up that supports evolution. TNTM.

  5. Once again we have a religious dim who says evilution is bad and just a faith based system which means it aint factual. And how is this different from the buyBull??? So he is saying faith based belief is evil!!!

  6. RetiredSciGuy

    Idiot savant Charles Wills laments,
    “Recently, I found out that my daughter had lost her faith in God due to the teaching of evolution in public school.”

    There’s a simple solution to that problem — don’t tie faith in God to the preposterous beliefs demanded by the creationists.

    After writing the above, I just now read DavidK’s comment, which makes essentially the same point. I was in a hurry to get my thoughts down while they were fresh in my mind.

  7. Okay, David K: What does “TNTM” mean?

  8. RetiredSciGuy

    “Charles Wills … enjoys reading and collecting old books, especially textbooks published before the turn of the 20th century, as well as writing about the wealth of information hidden in them.”

    This reminds me of a turn-of-the-century (1908) high school science text that said something to the effect that “we aren’t sure what besides volcanoes would account for the formation of mountains, but some scientists have proposed that they are like wrinkles that formed as the earth cooled.”

    I wish I still had that book so I could get the exact quote, but this gives an idea “about the wealth of information hidden in” it.

  9. RetiredSciGuy

    realthog:
    “Okay, David K: What does “TNTM” mean?”

    Perhaps its “That’s News To Me”? (I’m just guessing.)

  10. Christine Janis

    Oh no, one of the comments on the article has this standard piece of total misunderstanding:

    “There are three gradations, so to speak—hypothesis, theory, law. A hypothesis and/or a theory can be wrong or mistaken. Only a law is immutable.”

  11. A lot of people, including people who have no problems with evolution, think that the main basis for it is paleontology. And that the most important feature is the descent of humans from ancient non-human primates.

  12. A quick dyslexic look at “TNTM” and I was thinking Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
    Yes surely a letter deserving to be thrown in the lake of fire.

  13. “Moreover, if I dug up the bones of an ape, or a chimpanzee like Lucy, how would I know that this animal ever had any offspring, or that the offspring lived long enough to procreate? I could conclude that the monkey was the last of it’s [sic] kind, or an ancestor of chimpanzees, and my conclusion would be more scientifically valid since it isn’t based on a presupposition. Digging up old monkey bones and passing them off as the remains of an ancestor of man, without any evidence whatsoever to support that conclusion, is not science …”

    The fossil evidence seems pretty strong that we humans are descended from earlier apes, but so far as I know we have very little, if any, fossil evidence that chimpanzees are so descended. (Somebody please correct my ignorance if I’m wrong.) So if any species was specially created by a divine being or Unknown Designer, it would be Pan troglodytes or Pan paniscus rather than Homo sapiens.

  14. @Realthog, et. al.
    TNTM is used in colloquial terminology like etc. It is TNTM (To Numerous To Mention).

  15. DavidK, I think I speak for many when I say: IHUDA (I hate undefined acronyms).

  16. As our esteemed Curmudgeon says, “BWAHAHAHAHAHA!”. The only person perpetuating “known hoaxes” is ol’ Charlie. And by the way, Chuckie, I quit being a Christian when I read the bible and realized the collection of bronze and iron age myths it contained. It wasn’t till a number of years later that I read On the Origin of Species.

  17. michaelfugate

    Obviously none of those old books are from the Enlightenment!

  18. @DavidK

    Thanks for the info. It’s a new one to me.

  19. There’s no real evidence to support evolution, and that makes it a belief, not a scientific fact. Moreover, if I dug up the bones of an ape, or a chimpanzee like Lucy, how would I know that this animal ever had any offspring, or that the offspring lived long enough to procreate?

    Ah, where to begin?

    Well, one might start with the fact that chimpanzees are apes, a fact of which our Mr. Wills seems unaware. Then one might move on to his claim that the fossil nicknamed “Lucy” is a chimp, which, if true, would make the biologists who’ve studied her either chumps or liars.

    Then one might address a larger issue: if evolution is such a ridiculous, easily-falsified collection of hoaxes, why did Darwin’s ideas prevail in the nineteenth century? After all, back then even many top-notch scientists bought into the Genesis story, yet over time Darwinian evolution came to be accepted by virtually all scientists. Surely if there were no meaningful evidence for it, evolution would have joined N-rays on the scientific ash-heap.

    Unless, of course, all of modern science is a satanic conspiracy intended to undermine the Christian faith as the end of days draws nigh. I suspect that’s exactly how a lot of creationists see things.

  20. @Eric Lipps

    why did Darwin’s ideas prevail in the nineteenth century?

    The alarming thing is that they didn’t. The Darwin/Wallace hypothesis was actually in difficulties into the early years of the 20th century. The popular version of history has it that then the rediscovery of Mendel’s work put natural selection back on the map . . . except you had de Vries and others producing alternative explanations.

    All of the rest of what you say is (I think) true. The strength of the theory of evolution by natural selection is not that it was accepted immediately but that, for some while after it was put forward, it was contested and discovered to be robust against any objections that were raised.

  21. @realthog
    The fact of evolution was pretty much accepted in the biological community by the turn of the century. Natural selection had a hard time, and genetics presented a challenge to its acceptance. See the “eclipse of darwinism” in Wikipedia.

  22. Thanks for the info, TomS, which seems to repeat what I just said. Evolution was largely accepted by the end of the C19; natural selection largely wasn’t.

  23. RetiredSciGuy: “There’s a simple solution to that problem — don’t tie faith in God to the preposterous beliefs demanded by the creationists.”

    Even if, for some crazy reason it was a good idea to tie faith in God to those preposterous beliefs, they could never agree on which of those preposterous beliefs to tie it to. The only thing they can all agree on is that “evolution is evil” and – always as an afterthought to justify the “evolution is evil” – has “some gaps somewhere.” Every anti-evolution argument has been (usually quietly) rejected by some evolution denier. And the positive claims for “what happened when”? That’s where it really gets comical. Deniers can’t agree on the age of life to within 5 orders of magnitude, let alone which are the “kinds.”

    It’s especially fun to ask these “wisdom” peddlers if they agree with arch anti-evolutionist Michael Behe that life is ~4 billion years old and that humans share common ancestors with other species.

  24. Eric Lipps: “After all, back then even many top-notch scientists bought into the Genesis story…”

    But an increasingly old-earth version, as they evaluated the evidence in context, not cherry-picked to “support” a predetermined conclusion, as pseudoscience peddlers have been doing for 50+ years. Real scientists back then also struggled with “kinds,” as fossil and anatomic (early molecular too?) evidence mounted. Even committed evolution-deniers of that era gradually conceded geologic time, if not common descent, before deciding that something more drastic needed to be done. The first scam was to try to shoehorn evidence into a heliocentric, young-earth compromise. The second scam, which became necessary since OEC was not going away, was the “don’t ask, don’t tell what happened when” approach that evolve into ID.

  25. Once again, some fool thinks monkeys are apes.

  26. Christine Janis

    “how would I know that this animal ever had any offspring, or that the offspring lived long enough to procreate”

    This reminds me of the old creationist trope about Archaeopteryx. That organism can’t possibly be the ancestor of bird because it fell into a lake and drowned.