Monday, April 10, 2006

Stupid Creationist Letter Award for April

In my monthly feature, the Stupid Creationist Letter Award for April goes once again to a letter published in my college alumni magazine, this time by a certain Lance F. James.

This letter is, if possible, even stupider than last month's. It, too, is responding to President Tilghman's speech arguing that intelligent design is pseudoscience.

Let's play stupid creationist bingo again! Ready?

President Tilghman ... apparently believes that we should base our "science" of origins on faith in naturally occurring spontaneous generation, a notion debunked by Pasteur and a phenomenon never observed by anyone, anywhere at any time.

Amazingly dumb. Mr. James confuses spontaneous generation -- the ancient notion that complicated organisms, such as mice, could arise from decaying plants or meat -- with abiogenesis, the modern theory that the first replicators (likely rather simple molecules) could arise from chemical precursors. I wonder why he thinks Pasteur's experiments, which were performed in the mid-19th century, have anything at all to say about modern theories such as the RNA world?

And don't you love the irony of the theist complaining about unobserved phenomena?

B!

While Dr. Tilghman is clearly free to make faith-based statements grounded in philosophical naturalism, she should not pass them off as hard science, and certainly should not insist that they be the only perspective taught in the nation's classrooms.

Faith-based statements? I see no faith-based statements in Dr. Tilghman's talk. Evolution is based on evidence, not faith. And of course, Mr. James confuses "philosophical naturalism" with methodological naturalism.

I!

Darwinism as an explanation of origins is a theory in crisis.

Yeah, right, anything you say. Too bad Glenn Morton has this great page indicating that creationists have been proclaiming the death of evolution for 150 years now. Morton calls it the "The Longest Running Falsehood in Creationism". And I'll bet anything James considers himself bound by the 9th commandment. Go figure.

N!

The fossil record is a continuing embarrassment to Darwinists.

Now, now, Mr. James. Where's your originality? Can't you come up with anything that's not straight out of the Index to Creationist Claims? But I guess you're right. The fossil record is a great embarrassment to Darwinists. That's why, just this week, the Darwinists were trying their damndest to cover up the latest find, Tiktaalik roseae, a transitional form between fish and tetrapods.

G!

The volume and organization of information in DNA and the irreducible complexity of operating systems within the cell defy construction by Darwinian random variation and natural selection.

Poor Mr. James -- seduced by the nonsense of Behe and Dembski, but unable to see through their smokescreen. I teach Kolmogorov information theory at my university and I can tell you that information is trivial to generate. Any random process, including mutation, will do.

O!

Mr. James, you're a winner of stupid creationist bingo. Congratulations! And I hadn't even gotten to the end of your letter.

1 comment:

Steve Watson said...

Good grief, the next letter isn't much better: "If there is neither intelligence nor design, then we are neither intelligent nor designed."

Can't argue with that logic. One might think nasty things about Princeton, were it not for the fact that the alumni mags of both my almas (Queen's and Carleton) also invariably get a few letters like that, every time evolution/Creationism/ID gets mentioned. I expect the same holds true for every university, great or small, on the continent. It's enough to make one despair of higher education.....