Creationist Wisdom #729: The Challenge

We have another letter-to-the-editor today. This one appears in the Longview News-Journal of Longview, Texas. The headline is Letters on Clinton, Trump, evolution. You’ll see three letters there. Ours is the last of the three, titled “Stick to the facts.” The newspaper has a comments feature.

Because the 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 John. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

I wish science teachers would stick to teaching science in science class, not speculation on the unobserved past. [Hee hee!] One of the hallmarks of good education is simply observing what exists in the real world and trying to learn from it. Students need to be able to distinguish between fact and opinion. Promoting the current popular opinion as fact from an “expert” has led to embarrassing mistakes.

From his remark about the unobserved past, it’s not too difficult to guess what John has in mind. But first he reminds us of some “embarrassing mistakes” by experts. He says:

As a child I remember a new food product called margarine (instead of natural butter) was promoted for prevention of heart disease. Decades later we realize consumption of trans fats was the worst possible advice. Similarly the opinion about the consumption of eggs, coffee and chocolate being bad for us has flip-flopped too. Opinions vary, facts do not.

After those powerful examples of scientific idiocy, John tells us:

Evolution promoters resent any dissent despite the increasing difficulty of holding to the evolutionary bottom line philosophy of nothing plus nobody equals everything for no reason.

“Nothing plus nobody equals everything for no reason.” Yup — that’s a good description of evolution. John continues:

There are many reasons to doubt vertical macro evolution happened at all, given the incredible complexity of life all around us.

John doesn’t like vertical macro evolution. He prefers the horizontal micro-macro mambo. Now here comes the best part of the letter:

I challenge these promoters of evolution to cite any example anywhere of order and complexity arising from disorder by chance.

Well, dear reader. Are you able to meet John’s challenge? You’re not allowed to cheat by looking at Wikipedia’s article on Self-organization. While you’re pondering that, we’ll read on:

If evolution of creatures into totally different ones happened, then the fossil record should be mostly these in-between kinds (transitional forms). The fossil evidence is just not there in sufficient form to support this evolutionary idea of one type of creature turning into a totally different kind slowly over vast ages.

John thinks the fossil record should be almost nothing but transitional species. Well, properly understood, that’s mostly what it is — except for species that went extinct. And now we come to the end:

The world’s most-often quoted evolutionist is Oxford University’s Richard Dawkins and he has stated, “Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever devised in the mind of man.” Our children need education, not indoctrination.

John saved his strongest point for the end. Great letter, huh?

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

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17 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #729: The Challenge

  1. If evolution of creatures into totally different ones happened, then the fossil record should be mostly these in-between kinds (transitional forms).

    I wonder if it ever occurs to John that he himself is an example of a transitional form? And that the world around him is full of them?

  2. “Well, dear reader. Are you able to meet John’s challenge?”
    Language. Language is an essentially meaningless series of sounds that we have, over time, developed into a system of communication. “Oh, but language is designed.” No, no it’s not. It’s used with intent, yes, but that’s not nearly the same thing as design.

    If you look at any language designed by committee, be it Klingon or Esperanto, it has less success than languages that, like English, have organically and haphazardly glommed onto whatever working parts make most sense to construct a hodgepodge that works. This even holds true for French which, despite the best effort of l’Academe, does its best when allowed to flex and allow for innovation.

  3. michaelfugate

    Does John imply that because some experts have been wrong, all experts are?
    Are the studies on fats supposed to be speculation on the unobserved past?

    Is is like “All Cretans are liars. I am a Cretan.” dilemma? Are the studies showing science is wrong also wrong because they are science studies done by experts?

  4. I can understand John’s skepticism. Why, where are the fossils forms from Jan 13, -1,000,300,400 years ago, or Jan 14, same year, or Feb, or Mar for every type of flora or fauna. Every day of every year, no even every hour, etc., there should be a fossil for the creationists like John to look at and see the actual transitions in progress. Why can’t scientists produce these simple fossils? Obviously they must not exist, so John wins his argument, or so he imagines, he’ll just rely on his god of the gaps.

  5. Speaking of new fossils:
    Fossilized dinosaur brain tissue identified for the first time

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161027175858.htm

  6. John sez,
    “I wish science teachers would stick to teaching science in science class, not speculation on the unobserved past.”

    And I wish creationists would stick to talking about what they understand, not their speculation on the unobserved past.
    ……………

    “If evolution of creatures into totally different ones happened, then the fossil record should be mostly these in-between kinds (transitional forms).”

    News flash, John — they are. Every fossil species not dead-ended by extinction before a new species branched off is a transitional species, unless it’s still extant.

  7. “From his remark about the unobserved past, it’s not too difficult to guess what John has in mind.”
    That’s correct of course, but the funny part is that his remark applies to creation as well. No one observed it, because according to Gen. 1:1 there was nobody to observe it. Oh, you say a god was there? OK – but then he could have observed evolution as well and it’s back in science class.

    “doubt vertical macro evolution happened at all”
    I prefer diagonal evolution, preferably in the form of a quintic function. That has exactly as much meaning as vertical macro evolution.

    “Are you able to meet John’s challenge?”
    Snowflakes. Grains of sand.

    Rsg has an early christmas wish: “I wish creationists would stick to talking about what they understand.”
    The silence would be deafening.

  8. I challenge these promoters of evolution to cite any example anywhere of order and complexity arising from disorder by chance.

    Easy one. Check out this on-line lecture:

    Making Genetic Networks Operate Robustly: Unintelligent Non-design Suffices, by Professor Garrett Odell

    Abstract: Mathematical computer models of two ancient and famous genetic networks act early in embryos of many different species to determine the body plan. Models revealed these networks to be astonishingly robust, despite their ‘unintelligent design.’ This examines the use of mathematical models to shed light on how biological, pattern-forming gene networks operate and how thoughtless, haphazard, non-design produces networks whose robustness seems inspired, begging the question what else unintelligent non-design might be capable of.

  9. The BZ reaction:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belousov%E2%80%93Zhabotinsky_reaction
    is a classic and counterintuitive example of complexity arising spontaneously. The original was rejected by chemistry journals because chemists couldn’t believe it.

  10. Easy one. Check out this on-line lecture:
    Making Genetic Networks Operate Robustly: Unintelligent Non-design Suffices, by Professor Garrett Odell

    Yes, but let’s face it, Odell is obviously just a know-nothing factual-evidence-worshiping atheoscientificist, isn’t he? An adherent to an ungodly religion based in satanic reality? Someone who denies the fitness for office of Donald J. Trump? A demon stalking among us? A compulsive urinator? A . . .

    Stuff like that.

  11. “John” saith:

    I challenge these promoters of evolution to cite any example anywhere of order and complexity arising from disorder by chance.
    Depends on what you mean by “chance.”

    Order and complexity can arise from “disorder” via natural processes, as with crystals forming from amorphous materials. If “John” wants to call that “chance,” his argument falls flat. If he admits that crystals, to continue with that example, form according to non-chance but natural processes, his argument falls flat. If he denies that crystals form by natural processes and claims God makes them by his Word, we’re forced to believe in a Designer who created a universe whose every tiny detail He has to attend to personally rather than letting it unfold on its own with at most rare interventions.
    And if he denies that crystals possess order and complexity, he falls flat. On his face.

  12. michaelfugate

    I was going to say snowflakes…

  13. John’s challenge:
    “I challenge these promoters of evolution to cite any example anywhere of order and complexity arising from disorder by chance.”

    John is implying that evolution happens “by chance.” No, it doesn’t. Natural selection is the driving force of evolution, and it is not “chance.” It’s not by chance that the lion catches the slower zebra; it’s not by chance that the faster-growing tree gets more sunlight; and it’s not by chance that the more intelligent simian is more successful providing for its offspring, who themselves are likely to have inherited their parents’ intelligence.

    John’s “challenge” is moot. The order and complexity of evolution does not happen by chance. It is driven by natural selection, which is anything but chance.

  14. “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”
    Ecclesiastes 9:11

  15. I challenge these promoters of theistic evolution/intelligent design/creationism to cite any example anywhere of order and complexity arising from disorder by supernatural means aka magic aka god.

    This is getting so repetitive. You won’t and you can’t prove your faith-based claim by challenging evidence-based theories.

  16. @Matt
    I am curious about the evidence for a law of conservation of order and/or complexity. ISTM that we ought to have some evidence for a law before accepting it.

    Without any basis for such a law, there is no point to asking for explanations for violations.

  17. No challenge to be meet!! “…Our children need education, not indoctrination….” he agrees with us, he wants religion to not be taught in science class!!!! Excellent!!! But he sure took the long way around to get to the point!