Creationist Wisdom #714: Totally Incoherent

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in The News & Observer of Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina. It’s titled Assumptions and faith. The newspaper has a comments section, but there aren’t any yet.

Because the letter-writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is Carlton. We’ll give you some excerpts from his letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

After saying that he’s responding to an earlier letter (which isn’t relevant to anything he says in his letter), the fun begins:

Where is the reproductive process that creates new genetic material?

We assume Carlton knows about the process of reproduction. He seems to be asking about the source of new biological features. Ah yes, his next sentence clarifies it:

Simple rearrangement of existing genetic material, which is observable, is not verification that over time a chemical reaction became modern man.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! “Simple rearrangement” results in mutations, some of which can be demonstrated to enhance an organism’s abilities. But Carlton doesn’t recognize that. Let’s read on:

Where are the thousands of transitional life forms in the fossil record necessary to evolve life that extracts its oxygen only from water to a life form that extracts oxygen only from air?

We don’t need fossils for that, although they exist. We have Lungfish. Carlton continues:

Yes, tadpoles become frogs. Still for reproduction, their eggs are hatched back in the water. Where is the fossil record of thousands of life forms over millions of years that shows somewhere along the way some frogs decided to reproduce without going into the water?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Frogs didn’t have a meeting at which they made that decision. Carlton may not know it, but he’s asking about the Evolution of reptiles from amphibians, which is well understood. Here’s more:

Since evolutionary theory sees similarity of body structure as a process, can you show that this conclusion is a logical necessity?

Similar body structure is certainly an indicator of biological relationship, but who claims it’s a process? Where did that come from? We’re given a clue about what’s on Carlton’s mind in his next sentence:

Certainly there are many other explanations for the similarities.

Oh — we get it. Carlton is desperately looking around for something to show that he ain’t no kin to no monkey. He wants no part of that “process.” Anyway, now we come to the end:

How do the myriad assumptions necessary to the evolution construct differ from “faith”?

The “evolution construct.” BWAHAHAHAHAHA! What a letter! How would you like to debate with Carlton?

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

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13 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #714: Totally Incoherent

  1. “How would you like to debate with Carlton?”
    Like this.

  2. Creationists expect, or pretend to expect, that if evolution were true every generation of every species would leave fossil remains. And they don’t. So creation believers triumphantly use the absence of this billion-year bonepile as proof that evolution didn’t happen.

    What if evolution supporters were to ask where Noah’s bones were buried? Or those of Adam and Eve? Creationists certainly wouldn’t accept that their inability to produce those remains proves the events of Genesis didn’t happen.

    Of course, creationists do claim to have found evidence of the Flood, and even Noah’s Ark, but their claims always turn out to be worth less than the green crayons used to scribble them. If they held themselves to the same standards they use with evolutionists (I really hate that term), they’d have to pack it in.

  3. I think that creationists think that a transitional form is an entity that doesn’t belong to a species, or is not capable on its own, or somehow exhibits a peculiar status of transition (in a way that real species don’t). It has, for example, a half an eye, which has no function.

  4. Dave Luckett

    Creationists like to pretend that they are holding science to its own claims of objective observation of reality. Of course they need make no such claims about their own view. Those views, they cheerfully admit, originate in faith, not observation of evidence. It’s science that claims that its conclusions are evidential. Very well, then; let it show this by evidence in each and every separate case, but creationists can simply answer “faith” in each and every one, and this is not a double standard.

    (Well, at least that’s how they argue once they have been driven back into the final fortress of faith. They make sallies from it from time to time, trying actually to argue the evidence. They’re usually clever enough not to do this in front of audiences who actually know and understand that evidence, mind. In front of others, they invariably fail miserably, although some of them are too ignorant or blind to perceive their failure.)

    So we have Carlton taxing science about what it doesn’t know. Except that for much of his discourse, what he’s actually doing is taxing science about what he, Carlton, doesn’t know. He doesn’t know how amphibians evolved into reptiles, and he thinks nobody does. He’s wrong.

    But here’s the thing: he could pick other transitions for which there is little or no fossil evidence, and make the same argument for them. Would he still be wrong? Is it invalid to assume that the same natural process observed to operate elsewhere is operating in those cases, too?

    Yes, of course he’d be wrong, and of course that assumption is valid. Evolution of the species is observed in the lab and in the field and in the fossil record, not once or twice, but thousands of times. The specifics of the process are known from millions of observations of a dozen converging lines of evidence. Extrapolation from so large and firm a body of evidence is so ordinary and uncontroversial as to be irrational to deny it.

    But Carlton is irrational. He is trying to argue that because nobody saw one particular tree fall – the specific tree that he picked – that trees never fall.

    Fail. Ludicrous, miserable failure.

  5. I would normally state how stoopid this dude is, but it is worse than that! Its not so much stoopid as EXTREMELY lazy! He has willfully decided NOT to read even a few preschool books that talk about how this works, much less go to a real school and learn something.

  6. Suppose we did have those “thousands of fossils.” Suppose we could line them up, the entire sequence, and study them. Let’s imagine, finally, that the most recent bones we have belonged to a recently deceased ancestor of Carlton, and he was present when the grave was opened.

    The challenge for Carlton would be to start with that skeleton and walk down the line, from one skeleton to it’s parent, and mark the points at which a parent gives birth to a child of the next species. The skeletons will eventually look quite different from where Carlton started, but where, exactly, did the change occur? Which of those skeletons was that “transitional fossil?” Which of the skeletons exhibited the “new information” that didn’t exist in its parent? At any point along the way, the skeletons look pretty much the same.

    I don’t think creationists get this concept – that scientists classify life into species and other divisions as a tool to help understand how life forms are related to each other and for other purposes. Naming something doesn’t change what it is. A modern human and it’s ancestral species are the same animal – simply viewed at different points in its history.

  7. @Ed
    I’ve attempted to use a gray scale chart to demonstrate this effect. At any point on the scale, the two point next to it seem identical but the far ends are black and white. It’s a nice visual aid, but hard core creationists will say that it’s still a color, so it doesn’t really change.

  8. Creationists think that evolution requires either a transitional organism like TomS describes above, or a new species created wholly formed from another, like a chimpanzee giving birth to a human, or an alligator from a frog.

    Depending on who’s asking, sometimes it is necessary to prove both.

  9. Aside from the yuck factor (who wants to be related to a monkey), one of the major objections to evolution is a lack of understanding what the transition is between species. IMHO.

  10. That letter is textbook Dunning-Kruger Effect all the way down.

  11. I was just at the New Mexico Natural History Museum and they showed a small creature that had amphibian and reptile characteristics. They can’t tell which it is though, because the fossil does not tell you where it laid its eggs, land or water.

  12. Just ran across this article which might be of interest:
    New theory, embryo geometry, proposes explanation for how vertebrates evolved
    The authors’ paper is given.

  13. Ed speculates: “Suppose we did have those “thousands of fossils.”
    Then creationists immediately would point out that thousands of transitional fossils are missing.