AIG: The Spectrum of Perfection

When a belief system is irrational and unsupported by verifiable facts, its advocates inevitably get themselves tangled up in contradictory statements. We have a good example today. On the one hand, creationists are always claiming that we’re uniquely created to be superior to all other life, we ain’t no kin to no monkeys, we alone have a soul, mere animals have no rights, etc.

On the other hand, we get stuff like this mess from the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia: Smarter Than You Think.

It was written by Dr. Joe Francis, a name we haven’t encountered before. At the end of his article we’re told that he is: “dean of the school of science, math, technology, and health at The Master’s University …” According to Wikipedia that’s a bible college. Okay, here are some excerpts from Joe’s article, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Truman, an octopus at the New England Aquarium, could see several aquarium workers each day; but he consistently soaked only one college student volunteer with cold salty water. After taking a leave for a few months, the volunteer returned and was promptly soaked again. Truman did not soak anyone else in the interim.

[…]

Zookeepers and others who work with animals experience their smarts every day, but the rest of us miss out on these stories. We’re conditioned to assume “lower” animals aren’t smart. So stories like that about the octopus, an invertebrate, surprise us. For much of the last century, invertebrates were considered low on the scale of biological evolution and assumed to be much less intelligent than vertebrates like mammals.

[…]

This thinking stifled decades of discovery in a branch of biology called ethology, the study of animal behavior. The idea that animals generally lack intelligence can be traced back to the pagan, humanistic philosophy of Aristotle, who put all living things on a scale “treating animals as simple minded.” Even Christians like Augustine were influenced by Aristotle’s man-centered (as opposed to Creator-centered) views.

Yes, evolutionary thinking always stifles scientific progress; but creationists are moving forward. Joe says:

Creationists have come up with a different view, based on the Bible, that leads us to expect astonishing examples of intelligence throughout the animal kingdom, not merely in “higher” forms, as proponents of evolution would expect. In his book Devotional Biology, Dr. Kurt Wise calls this “the spectrum of perfection.” If God is perfect and wants to reveal his attributes in an imperfect world, how can he do that? Dr. Wise suggests that he put in place a spectrum of intelligence which, when considered together, points to his perfect intelligence. Thus, categories of intelligence are seen in God’s living creation down to the invertebrate level.

The “spectrum of perfection”? We didn’t know about that. It appears to be an original contribution of creation science. Here’s Wikipedia’s write up on the genius who figured it out: Kurt Wise.

Joe’s long essay is loaded with examples of intelligent behavior displayed by animals. We’ll skip all of that. Then he tells us:

Although God placed marvelous examples of intelligence in his creation, even among his small and lowly creatures, none can compare to the full range of abilities given to his human creation, the only creature given the wisdom to have loving dominion over all God’s earthly creation.

So what does that “theory” do for us? Nothing, really. But to the extent that creationists have been feeling inferior because they’ve made no contributions to biology, now they can point to the “spectrum of perfection” It sounds lovely — but it doesn’t explain anything, doesn’t predict anything, and it doesn’t mean anything. It’s exactly what you’d expect from creation science.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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10 responses to “AIG: The Spectrum of Perfection

  1. Michael Fugate

    From the Science Department webpage
    Doctrinally sound: interpreting science through faith rather than faith through science, including teaching a literal six-day creation and a historical Space-Time Fall

    But wait, starting soon – a Biology of Dinosaurs course! What did Jesus ride?

  2. Kurt Wise is an “appearance of age” creationist. This means he believes in a deceptive deity. Many theists reject such a notion.

  3. The spectrum of perfection, huh? Really, anybody who has studied nature and biology in the wild knows its an imperfect, brutish affair of pure survival but what would you expect from armchair pseudo-scientists pretending to be study biology from a Bronze Age relic.

  4. There are many books describing animal intelligence including the octopus. They make for fascinating reading and clearly show that their intelligence includes identification of humans, etc., so the lab guy getting squirted maybe had it coming. Their bodies are soft save for their parrot-like tooth, thus they have amazing dexterity and have been able to escape human captivity with relative ease at times. In other animals as well the intelligence factor is coming to fore, crows, dogs, etc. Not only that, but when fellow animals die they show sympathy and other emotions previously ascribed only to humans. Back to the octopus, unfortunately, many people ignore their intelligence and find them, and other intelligent species, tasty.

  5. Charles Deetz ;)

    Now if creationists would only use their God given brain power …

  6. “We’re conditioned to assume “lower” animals aren’t smart.”
    Yes, creationists like the ones from AIG are. Evilutinionists like me however are ready and willing to accept how intelligent crows and large groups of ants are.

    “to the pagan, humanistic philosophy of Aristotle”
    BWAHAHAHAHA! The great Stagyrian developed the same teleological framework of philosophy the AIG is so fond of.

  7. You didn’t comment on the best of it: ‘British evolutionist Lloyd Morgan classically declared in 1894 that we should never assume advanced mental abilities if a lesser evolutionary cause will suffice: “In no case is an animal activity to be interpreted in terms of higher psychological processes if it can be fairly interpreted in terms of processes which stand lower in the scale of psychological evolution and development.” Basically, what Morgan is saying is that simple animals evolved before more complex animals and therefore simple animals will show little to no intelligence.‘ [my emphasis] I’m trying to work out what kind of higher psychological processes could have led to the learned and appropriately named Dr Wise to imagine that Morgan was saying anything of the kind.

    Anyway, with a name like Truman, the octopus was obviously a liberal and capable of anything.

  8. Joe wants to see a spectrum of perfection. He should come over and see me. Just ask any of my old girlfriends. Wait, maybe that is not such a good idea.

  9. About that spectrum: hard-core creationists believe that the rainbow (which is a display of the spectrum by way of raindrops acting as tiny prisms, didn’t exist until after the Flood. Apparently the laws of physics were different at the time Noah, his family and all the “kinds” of animals boarded the Ark.

  10. Can you document that accusation? Genesis says “I have placed…”; I have always assumed that even the most rigid literalist would read this as meaning that God is revealing to Noah this inner significance of the rainbow, or assigning this significance to it, but not that He is fiddling the physics.

    It is easy (I have certainly done it) to criticise YECs for what they did not in fact say, but even (or especially?) those we most disagree with deserve an attentive hearing