Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Herald Times Reporter of Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Wikipedia says the town’s name means “dwelling of the great spirit.” It’s titled Topic is complex, so let’s be gracious in addressing it. An icon below the headline will get you to the newspaper’s comments feature.
Unless the letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. But today’s letter is written by David Endorf. He’s pastor of St. John – St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cleveland, Wisconsin. Excerpts from the rev’s letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!
He begins by telling us that at the request of “one of my members” he is responding to a pro-evolution letter in that newspaper. This is the earlier letter to which he is responding: Belief vs. evidence. It’s brief, and it criticizes earlier creationist letters, saying only that they offered “one misapplication of the second law of thermodynamics, one incorrect metaphor of natural selection and two out-of-context quotes from famous evolutionary biologists.” It ended by saying: “I would invite a local pastor with a strong science background to help us out here.”
The rev boldly steps forward and says:
Let’s start with the application of the Second Law of thermodynamics, using the development of life on Earth as an example. Clearly this is an increase in order, but they respond by saying that Earth is an open system so the Second Law doesn’t apply.
How does the rev deal with that? You’re thinking that surely, he’s stumped, right? Wrong! He provides an answer we’ve never encountered before:
However there is no mechanism for the solar radiation that makes Earth an open system to start life, which is what is needed to make their defense work.
Aaaargh!! Let’s read on:
For now they theorize that life must have started on other planets and seeded Earth somehow. Because of course you can theorize aliens, just not God.
The earlier letter said nothing about that. The rev continues:
As far as the metaphor goes, it’s hard to respond to that because he [the earlier letter-writer] never really states his problem with it. It was never meant to represent how evolution works, only to point out the absurdity of random chance making a complex machine. That would certainly be an extraordinary claim, which would require extraordinary evidence, as Carl Sagan reminds us.
We’ve never seen a creationist rely on Sagan before, but if anyone actually did propose that “random chance” is responsible for everything, it would be appropriate. But of course, evolution isn’t about random chance suddenly assembling complex machines — or organisms. That is a ghastly metaphor. Mutations occur according to the laws of nature — so they’re entirely understandable, albeit unpredictable, and their preservation isn’t random at all. Here’s more:
Which leads us to the quotes. This is an oft-repeated claim by evolutionists that when they comment on how little evidence there is for evolution it’s taken out of context. Now sometimes they are correct, which we shouldn’t do.
Wow — the rev doesn’t approve of quote-mining. Or does he? Actually, he defends quote mining by saying this:
However, what happens much of the time is that they object to the conclusion that is drawn. In effect they are saying that they recognize the lack of evidence for evolution but you can’t use that to conclude that evolution lacks evidence. If they put the data out there then it’s fair game for anyone to use.
Aaaargh!! Here’s how the rev concludes his letter:
The reality is that nobody in 300 words is able to address topics like these in the manner they deserve, so let’s be gracious with one another.
Okay, dear reader. The rev wants us to be gracious. That’s a lovely thought.
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