Creationist Wisdom #987: Discoveroid Fan

Today’s letter-to-the-editor comes from a source we’ve never visited before — the Mennonite World Review, which says it’s “an independent journalistic ministry that has published a newspaper since 1923. Serving Mennonites and the global Anabaptist movement.” Your Curmudgeon knows virtually nothing about Mennonites (except for what’s in that Wikipedia article), so we’re willing to learn.

The letter is titled Evolution utterly deficient in credible evidence, and they have 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 George. 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!

I view Zachary Headings’ search for the compatibility between science and the Bible (“Two-Texts Idea Resolves Science-Faith Quandary,” Sept. 2) as a commendable enterprise, but he seems unaware of the assist Christians (and all theists) are getting from scientists who for more than 40 years have been challenging the status of evolutionary theory as science.

George’s link goes to a completely different article, also by Zachary Headings (described as “a marketing associate at Mennonite Mission Network”): Star Trek and faith: a cosmology of reconciliation. Zachary Headings is a bit of a Trekkie, and not at all hostile to science. George says:

In 1985, Michael Denton’s Evolution: A Theory in Crisis outlined the lack of scientific data in support of the major axiom of evolutionary theory (a materialistic view of the origin of life, with step-by-step development beginning with an accidental electric charge to a primordial soup). He pointed out the wrong conclusions of evolution’s supporting assumptions, such as the role of mutations and natural selection. He argued that natural laws, the fine-tuning of our planet for the existence of life and the complexity of cells all point to an inescapable conclusion: Everything that exists was designed by a ­super-intelligent designer. Denton’s book was the impetus of the movement among scientists called Intelligent Design.

Ooooooooooooh! Intelligent design is an “inescapable conclusion”! After that bombshell, George tells us:

For me, the most critical data concern the role of mutations and natural selection. Evolutionary theory maintains that mutations can cause substantial changes over time leading to a progression to different or more powerful species. Research on mutations since the 1970s shows this to be false. [Gasp!] Most mutations are negative; the few that are positive are so minor they would not advance the development of new species.

Why haven’t we been told this before? Our professors lied to us! George continues:

Mutations do not provide the means for progression but only degradation. Read John Sanford’s Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome.

We never heard of that book before. It’s surprising he didn’t recommend Behe’s latest book which makes the same claim — see Behe Is Triumphant! Ah well, let’s read on:

The data are mounting against evolutionary theory. [Mounting!] Since it is utterly deficient in credible scientific evidence [Utterly deficient!], why are biblical scholars so prone to say God could have used it as the creation process? Intelligent Design researchers point out that a multitude of entities had to come together at one moment to create a single cell.

Evolution is doomed! Another excerpt:

Most of what I have learned on this subject can be found in books by researchers and writers who are part of the Discovery Institute (discovery.org).

Really? We never would have guessed. BWAHAHAHAHAHA! George finishes his letter by recommending another Discoveroid book:

A new book by Stephen Meyer, The Return of the God Hypothesis: Compelling Scientific Evidence for the Existence of God, should be a most interesting summary of Intelligent Design’s conclusions.

The Discoveroids mentioned that a month ago — see Discoveroids Are Now Out of the Closet. It’s not available yet, but George doesn’t care — he likes it anyway.

So there you are, dear reader. At least one Mennonite is impressed by Discoveroids’ version of creation science. They must be congratulating themselves in Seattle for this great intellectual triumph.

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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9 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #987: Discoveroid Fan

  1. Sounds like George, et. Al., could write glowing reviews of Meyer’s book right now, even though it won’t be released until next year. Maybe Amazon will accept pre-book release reviews?

  2. “Most mutations are negative; the few that are positive are so minor they would not advance the development of new species.”

    This is an untruth made out of a selected truth and a partial truth, one after the other. Together, they’re a demonstration of why the truth is all the truth, and why retailing partial truth is the most effective way to lie.

    Most mutations are in fact benign, ie, neutral in environmental fitness or sexual selection terms. Every member of every species has dozens to hundreds of them, and they make no difference. Of the remainder, a majority are harmful. They are either quickly fatal, or else are detrimental to survival long-term, and also to prospects for mating and producing progeny. A minority, overall, are beneficial – they actually increase fitness in the environment and/or chances of mating success. The effect is always very small – large mutations are always detrimental. One beneficial mutation does not create a new species. But the cumulative effect of such mutations AND THEIR SELECTION, over generations, eventually does.

    Population geneticists showed from fieldwork and mathematical treatment of the results that even small increases in fitness result in markedly greater reproductive success. Such mutations rapidly spread through the population. Harmful mutations, on the other hand, are rapidly culled, either through the non-survival of the individual or through lack of reproductive success. It was also shown that the incidence of beneficial mutations need only be very low, and the increases to fitness very small. That work was done in the 1930’s – eighty years ago – long before anyone knew how mutations occur or were inherited. All that was known was that they did occur, and were inherited. The rest followed.

    The two statements in the quoted words are collectively a lie. They are a subtle and cunning lie, caused by selective and partial treatment of the truth. So, we are told, did the serpent lie to Eve in the Garden. The Father of Lies has no truth in him. By repeating lies like this one, George has become his agent.

  3. chris schilling

    George was probably born with between 80 to roughly 120 mutations (depending on which biologists you consult) that his parents didn’t have. If all these mutations were as “negative” as George maintains, he probably wouldn’t still be here — for which I, for one, would be profoundly grateful.

  4. I grew up in a Mennonite community and went to a Mennonite college – so Curmy, I could probably answer most questions you might have! Since George lists his homes as Grand Rapids and Venice FL, my guess he is an old geezer snow bird – the Amish love Pine Craft and Sarasota, and the Mennos love Sarasota and Venice. I found a George Janzen in Venice, age 88, so that might be him. If he went to college, he apparently did not study too much science. All of the Mennonites that I know who are still engaged in the church subscribe to the BioLogos understanding of evolution.

  5. Michael Fugate

    https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/scientists-may-have-found-the-cure-for-the-common-cold-203439831.html
    What’s more, rhinoviruses are tricky: They’re prone to mutations, which make them more likely to be drug-resistant and help them “evade the immune surveillance brought about by previous exposure or a vaccine,” according to Stanford.

    Are these mutations beneficial? Do they result in proteins with reduced function? How does the virus keep reproducing, if it is saddled with a high mutation rate and mutations which are almost all detrimental?

  6. @MichaelF needs to learn once again that he can’t beat creacrap: “rhinoviruses are …… prone to mutations, which make them more likely …..”
    Obviously the creationist god created viruses this way to remind humans of their sinful nature. Plus this is a clear example of variation within a kind – the virus remains a virus. This

    “the few that are positive are so minor they would not advance the development of new species”
    is by no means refuted by your example.

  7. @MichaelFugate
    As I understand it, not just rhinoviruses, but all RNA viruses, have very high mutation rates, because RNA replication is much more error-prone than DNA replication. Their gamble is that, provided they can produce sufficiently many offspring, it doesn’t matter that 90% of them carry lethal mutations, provided that some very few have a fair chance of beneficial mutations.

  8. Michael Fugate

    Yes, but that is population-thinking – something creationists never engage in…

  9. Of course not. Populations of viruses consist of individual viruses and they remain viruses. Show me a virus turning into an elephant, please. Checkmate, evilutionist!