Creationist Wisdom #880: Evolution Is Impossible

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the North Platte Telegraph of North Platte, Nebraska. The letter is titled Evolution just 1 theory, and 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, some bold font for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Here we go!

John begins with straightforward answers to two questions which he puts in quote marks:

“Is nature purposeless, a product of random chance?” The laws of nature have a law-giver (God). “Can non-living materials create living things (spontaneous generation)?” Nope.

Then, having declared what is obviously The Truth, he says:

Yet, our schools basically teach that they do when they teach molecules-to-man “evolution.”

Egad — this is an outrage! After that he tells us:

Creationists such as myself [we already guessed that] believe in “natural selection”’ and mutation.

Really? Then what’s the problem? John continues:

But natural selection selects from what already exists.

Yes, of course it does. What’s going on here? Let’s read some more:

Survival of the fittest isn’t the same as arrival of the fittest.

Aha! It’s arrival of the fittest that’s the problem. Here’s more:

Mutation is a copying error in the DNA; life is going downhill, not uphill. Molecules-to-man “evolution” is dead in the water.

Now we understand! And with that all cleared up, we come to the end:

When we teach one view of origins, rather than an alternative view (special creation), it’s no wonder our kids are being indoctrinated. Does anyone else care?

Well, dear reader, John certainly cares. Do you?

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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49 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #880: Evolution Is Impossible

  1. Michael Fugate

    Is a “living” DNA molecule different than a “non-living” DNA molecule?

  2. “Mutation is a copying error in the DNA; life is going downhill, not uphill.”

    Mutations do not have a preferential direction. We have tricolor vision due to a mutation to the genome for the cone cells of our nocturnal bicolor ancestors. John is projecting since creationism always goes downhill and continually looks backwards (pun intended).

  3. The idea that natural change is downward, unless directed by intelligent design, along with the acceptance that there is natural change within “man-kind” (“micro-evolution”) is the basis of eugenics.

  4. Michael Fugate

    One wonders what creationist preacher inspired this letter. It is pretty clear that John doesn’t understand random mutation and natural selection. Apparently he has never resorted to trial and error to solve a problem, but through his superior intelligence has managed to never once make a mistake and always obtained the correct result the first time.

  5. “The idea that natural change is downward, unless directed by intelligent design, along with the acceptance that there is natural change within “man-kind” (“micro-evolution”) is the basis of eugenics.”
    It’s also the basis of the “philosophy” laid down in My Struggle.

  6. Michael Fugate

    I guess the implication is that only God can produce a “good” mutation, but, as TomS mentioned recently, it is like claiming that only God can produce a “good” hand at poker. You will always get a “bad” hand unless God intervenes. Odd.

  7. I suggest that it is better to admit that you don’t understand, then to pretend that you have an explanation that doesn’t explain.

  8. Pete Moulton

    TomS: You won’t proselytize many by admitting that you don’t understand, and that’s a problem. Religion’s a grift just like any other scam, and for it to work you need a lot of marks.

  9. Eric Lipps

    John begins with straightforward answers to two questions which he puts in quote marks:
    “Is nature purposeless, a product of random chance?” The laws of nature have a law-giver (God).

    So what? Why could God not have set up the laws of nature to allow life to emerge and develop naturally

    Oh, but that’s not what the Bible says. Again, so what? The Bible says the earth is flat and the sun goes around it (except, of course, when Joshua commanded it to stand still). Creationists, who otherwise demand that Scripture be read literally, do all kinds of bobbing and weaving on this issue.

    “Can non-living materials create living things (spontaneous generation)?” Nope.

    “Nope.” Yeah, that’s a mature, literate response.

    Guess what? That assertion has never been proven. Pasteur showed that certain common claims about spontaneous generation (e.g., that flies arise spontaneously from rotting meat) were untrue, but the more fundamental question was not really answered (though grade-school and high-school textbooks generally insist that it was, when they touch on the subject at all).

    In the modern world, any primitive life which somehow arose spontaneously would probably not last long enough to be detected. It would be eaten.

  10. I can think of few words less applicable to evolution than “spontaneous”.

    Creationists such as John are really profound pessimists, among other things. The idea that life is running downhill- based on their myth about the Fall- should mean that each generation is genetically inferior to the previous one, including John’s own kids, if they’re unlucky enough to have been born. But I bet it didn’t stop him procreating, or exhorting others to go forth and multiply.

    Really, creationists should be in favour of abortions!

  11. @Eric Lipps
    That’s what the Bible Says
    But the Bible says nothing about evolution. It has nothing about changes in species, nor in kinds, nor about the relationship between living things, …
    Creationists can use their fallible human imagination to limit God’s action beyond what the plain text of the Bible says.

  12. Ross Cameron

    ‘Mutation is a copying error in the DNA; life is going downhill, not uphill’. So god bungled the design?

  13. @EricL puts his finger on a sore spot: “Why could God not have set up the laws of nature to allow life to emerge and develop naturally?”
    That’s the problem – as soon as you introduce a concept like god everything and anything is possible and you can delude yourself that you’ve find the Trvth. As PeteM correctly points out that’s very tempting for people who can’t stand the insecurity of “we don’t know and we don’t understand”.

  14. Who is denying that God can do anything?
    The creationists.
    They are the deniers of the omnipotence of God.
    The doctrine of (intelligent) design says, if it says anything at all, that whoever is responsible for life, they are designers of the world who are always very much hampered by the adaptability of the material in which they work, not creators of the world to whose idea everything is subject. (Paraphrasing Kant.)

  15. de Vries, geneticist who discovered mutations, writing in 1904 but referring to earlier sources: “Natural selection may explain the survival of the fittest, but it cannot explain the arrival of the fittest.”

    True, of course; selection can only operate on material already there. Does anyone think otherwise?

  16. @PaulB: I suspect that, as long as it suits them, creationists can select without any material available.

    @TomS: “Who is denying that God can do anything?”
    Once again you got it totally wrong. The creationist god can do anything that those creationists prescribe him. As for the things they don’t prescribe him, he can do them too but won’t ‘cuz reizun.

  17. Science-accepting Christian friends deplore the use of the word “creationist” to mean science-denier, since the term originally meant anyone who believed in a divine Creator. Suggestions for alternatives?

  18. Breaking news: Ol’Hambo’s Creacrap Museum and Gay Wooden Box need a few more displays.

    Must have been fun during the 40 or 365 days voyage on Captain Noah’s ship.

  19. @FrankB
    Of course, as creationism is inherently inconsistent where it is not simply incoherent, any positive characterization faces a contrary equally valid characterization.

  20. @PaulBraterman
    The original use of the word “creationism” was in the context of the origins of the human soul. It was the doctrine that each soul was individually created for each body, rather than pre-existing the body, or inherited from one’s parent(s).
    As new concepts arise, there is the need for new terminology, or else new meanings for old words. In a living language, there are ongoing changes which will persist, despite the best efforts to stop them. Etymologies are interesting, but must not be taken as infallible guides to present usage. English “leave” and German “bleiben” (stay) have the same origin.
    May I suggest for theists who adhere to the doctrine of God’s creation of all things, while accepting science’s validation of the common sense observations of evolution, that their efforts would be more productive in making the term “creationism” as obsolete as other long-forgotten oddities. No one is arguing nowadays about the etymology of “astrology”.

  21. Thanks. The Shorter OED mentions the doctrine of creation of souls. If that was a strong association from the outset and over considerable time, then my Christian friends are indeed misguided. I need to decide how deeply to go into this, since for them (and they have been very helpful in scientific matters) it is a question of some emotional importance

  22. Looks like the science education at North Platte is already pretty dismal.

    Morons like this are one of the reasons I am vocal about my atheism. Less adherence to stupid religious ideas means better education.

  23. @Paul Braterman
    There are interesting variations in the usage of these religious terms:
    theism – this is a surprisingly recent term – at one time, it meant an unoxothodox belief in God, someting like deism
    atheism – at one time, it did not refer to belief, but rather action – action without regard to God’s judgement
    deism – at one time, this was belief without regard to divine revelation, such as the belief of Voltaire, who beieved in a god on the basis of the “Clockmaker Analogy”. 18th century deists could refer to their god as “Providence”. Only later did deism become identified with lack of belief in providence: god, like a clockmaker, made a clock wond it up, and let it go on its own.
    I would argue that the etymologically warrented term for what we call “creationism” today would be “deism”. Obviously, that would be unacceptable to its adherents today.

  24. Here’s what I sent to my friends;

    I checked in the full Oxford English Dictionary.
    The idea of Divine creation refers specifically to th ecreatio of souls; a creationist is distinct from a transductionist. This usage persists in discussions of the history of theology.
    The more common usage of evolution-denier dates back to Darwin; one relevant use by believers, quoted by OED, is

    1913 Biblical World 41 42/2 The battle which raged between evolutionists and creationists has left the evolutionists in possession of the field.

    I regret that I cannot find support for the view that “believer in Divine creation” is an established meaning, other than in the context of creation of souls.
    I would be very happy to be proven wrong

  25. Michael Fugate

    Bible worship is an odd thing – I have heard many claim that the Bible has an answer to every question. Presumably believing the answers are also correct. Why make or believe statements that are so obviously wrong? Why attribute something to a book that calls into question the book as a whole? There are things to be gained from the Bible, but not science and history.

  26. “Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.” Ronald Reagan, whom I see as the architect of the evalengelical-republican alliance, and all that it entails

  27. @Michael Fugate
    The problem that I find in the Bible having all answers to all questions, over-riding any other source of knowledge is that essentially no one believes that.
    Who does not bring to their reading of the BIble extra-Biblical knowledge?
    The Bible speaks in terms of the common cosmology of the Ancient Near East. Is there anyone who does not re-interpret that language to be coherent with 21st-century world culture? They may say someting like, “When the Bible says such-and-such, what that really means is what science and other observations of the world tell us.” That is, at the very least, their understanding of the Bible is informed, in part, by what “everybody knows”. There is no literal firmament. There are the Americas, Australia and Antartica. Why not also allow one’s interpretation of the six days of creation to admit the possibility of other interpretaions – as did, by the way, Augustine?
    On the other hand, there is no explicit, literally intepreted, text in the Bible which rejects macro-evolution.

  28. “Science-accepting Christian friends deplore the use of the word “creationist” to mean science-denier, since the term originally meant anyone who believed in a divine Creator. Suggestions for alternatives?”
    Just christians will do for me. Even in the USA creacrappers are not representative. Also muslims and hindus can be creationists. The implication that being christian actually means “science accepting, like theistic evolution” is totally intentional. Given their inbred dishonesty, which not only goes against 9th (sometimes called 8th) Commandment but also against Jesus’ teachings as laid down in the Gospels (and many other sides of creacrap attitude do as well) tempts me to commit the No True Christian Fallacy. See, that’s how I look at creacrap.
    The more I mock Ol’Hambo, the Good Rev and the IDiots from Seattle, the more I respect folks like Kenneth Miller and Francis Collins, no matter how staunch an atheist I am.
    So we have christians and creacrappers, even if the line can be blurred.

  29. Consider the senior faculty member in a conservative evagelical school, without the protection of tenure. They may well be acquainted with the literature which does not agree with Young Earth Creationism, Arkeology, etc. Yet any deviation from doctrine is grounds for immediate dismissal. They are essentially out of a job in the only field that they have any expertise. They are too old for “retraining” in another field. Perhaps the only pension plan is run by the institution, even if they are old enough to retire.Yet how can they bring themselves to teach what they know is, frankly, destructive of a reasonable faith?

  30. Dave Luckett

    There is also “agnostic”, which today means “one who denies any knowledge of whether God exists or not”, but which I believe originally meant “one who denies that God is knowable”, a somewhat different proposition, and a heresy.

  31. According to, “agnostic ” was coined by TE Huxley.
    And then there is “adevism”, which was coined by Friedrich Max Muller.

  32. Michael Fugate

    Anyone know where the idea of statements of faith for churches and religious colleges began – is there a model document out there? Are they a legacy of the McCarthy era loyalty oaths? Perhaps the domain name for these places should be changed from .edu to .ind for indoctrination or .rel for religion?

  33. The idea of statements of faith among Christians goes back to the Creeds and the Church Councils. The ceremonies for coronations of kings and emperors ften contained an oath. of faith or loyallty to the church – I don’t know how far back that goes. I think that there is an old tradition for faculty of a university taking an annual oath. “The oath against modernism was required of “all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries” of the Catholic Church from 1910 until 1967. ” (quoting Wikipedia “Oath against modernism”).

  34. Michael Fugate

    So the evangelicals stole it from the Catholics? I guess Pius was not a fan of Academic freedom.

    Paley? Argument from Design?
    “And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (see Rom. 1:19), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated:”

  35. Church confessions of faith go back to at least the 17th C. I don’t know how long schools and colleges have had them

  36. Re “creationist”; I can and should say “young Earth creationist” when that is what I mean, but am not going to buy in to my friends’ hope that they can defang the word “creationist” by unhistorically extendng its meaning. Young earth or Yec when the science being denied is geology;plain “creationist”, when what’s being denied is biology

  37. And IDiot when the biology denier doesn’t use Holy Scripture as “evidence”.

  38. Michael Fugate

    Creation, creationist, creator are words that can mean so many different things. A rhetorician can bank on this for support or confusion; individuals will often assume the speaker’s intention matches their own. I once tried to get the people at Focus on the Family to define or to list traditional moral values – with no luck.

    Paul, what do your friends believe their God did? Create a spark and step back?

  39. As to the question “what did God do?”, see the 1852 essay of Herbert Spencer, “The Development Hypothesis”

    My personal feeling, I don’t care whether tthey have an answer to what God does, except if they tell us that it doesn’t involve evolution, or other denial of obvious science.

  40. Just a brief note to announce that I’m back online again. The move has been chaotic, and it’ll be quite some time until we can examine and put away the nearly 75 unmarked and randomly stuffed boxes that litter this place. But somehow it will all get done. Miss Scarlett, our one remaining Doberman, has been very quiet. It’ll take her some time to adjust.

    We just made a news sweep and, as we expected, we didn’t miss much creationism news. Perhaps well be able to get something posted this evening. Anyway, the Curmudgeon is back.

  41. Michael Fugate

    Welcome Back!

  42. Ross Cameron

    Curmy, as a master mover, I had to accept the cruel lesson that I have to learn to cull my possessions. One move I made included 42 tea-chests of books. I`ve been very strict on what I`ve kept and have reduced the number to 39. 🙂

  43. “My personal feeling” is shared by many others, me including, so isn’t exactly personal.

  44. Michael Fugate, I cannot give a coherent answer to what my friends believe; however, that’s their problem, not mine, and if they are moved to reverence by the creativity of nature, I can sympathise with their emotion even though like you I see insuperable problems in envisioning a being outside nature to revere

  45. Michael Fugate

    These things fascinate me; I can’t get past the dichotomy of a God either doing everything or doing nothing. The idea of a hybrid system just makes no sense to me and I am curious how others could try to make it work.

  46. What fascinates me about the denial of evolution aka creationism are (1) the emptiness and (2) the contradictions.
    Those show up in analogy of the designer of the clock.
    For example, only a limited agent resorts to design to cope with the nature of things which are not as the agent wants them to be. “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
    etc. etc. etc.

  47. “What fascinates me about the denial of evolution aka creationism are (1) the emptiness and (2) the contradictions.”
    Well, that’s what justifies this nice blog and our comments! To think that they manage to wrote dozens (if not more) books on something that can be summarized in a few senteces!

  48. Michael Fugate

    Which is why the designer resorts to miracles?

  49. Which is why the designer of the whole universe, including the laws of nature,
    1) makes the Earth a privileged planet, for life (pending the possibility of discovery of alien life)
    2) makes the second law of thermodynamics and/or the law of conservation of complex specified inorrmation still hold on the privileged planet so that life is not possible
    etc. etc. etc.