Thursday, December 29, 2005

Yet Another Stupid Creationist Letter

I live in a community (Kitchener, Ontario) with a lot of religious fundamentalists -- more than any other place I've ever lived. And they write letters to the editor. Really stupid letters. Really stupid letters about evolution.

Take this example, from the Record, December 27, 2005, by "R. F. M., P. Eng.". (P. Eng. means "professional engineer" -- another piece of data for the Salem hypothesis.)

The ruling by Judge John Jones in the District Court of the U.S. to exclude intelligent design from the scientific classroom is appalling.

If evolution is to be taught, and it should be, then creation should be taught in the same classroom.

Oops, Mr. M. Didn't you know, intelligent design isn't creationism? The Discovery Institute says so, so it must be true. Get with the program!

Many people wrongly elevate the study of evolution to some exclusive level.

Yes. It excludes morons.

From a scientific perspective, both creation and evoution are hypotheses or theories only, and that is all that they will ever remain.

From a scientific perspective, creation is a myth. And please, not the oldest canard in the creationist playbook, evolution is just a theory. That one's so dumb, even some creationists say their fellow creationists should avoid it.

Science can be used to explore either theory, but neither evolution nor creation conform to the scientific method because, essentially, they can neither be repeated or observed.

I agree that creation by supernatural beings hasn't been observed. But it is simply false to claim that evolution hasn't been observed. See here and here, for example.

Unlike gravitational, thermodynamic, hydraulic, chemical, biological, structural, electrical or other laws about our universe, the study of our origins will always be outside the realm of scientific proof.

Whenever you hear anyone babbling about "scientific proof", you know they have no idea what they're talking about. And if evolution isn't part of biology, what is? And what is a biological law? This guy's becoming totally incoherent.

Does it matter what our schools teach about our origins? It sure does. It shapes our entire world view.

How do we teach our children, for example, to adopt moral accountability if we teach them that they are no more than the chance product arising out of the muck and slime of a primordial Earth and that their ancestors are monkeys and amoebae?

That our ancestors were monkey-like creatures is a fact. I don't know why Mr. M would have us lie to schoolchildren and tell them otherwise. But then, Mr. M is apparently such a moral reprobate that he cannot behave properly without a supernatural being around to make sure he conforms to the law.

When I look at the world today, I sure don't see that Christianity is doing such a good job on the moral accountability front. And I don't know any criminals who got their start in evolutionary biology class.

The pathetic irony in all of this is that it is the same God of creation who is the God of all science.

Mr. M, you probably believe that God gave you a brain. Why not use it?


Cathie from Canada said...

Great post -- its sad, isn't it, how totally misinformed these creationist people are about science (though if they knew what they were talking about, they wouldn't be creationists!)

Caleb Liu said...

I have to concur with you that I find the current championing of intelligent design disturbing and irksome. However, as much as it is enjoyable to make fun of these right wing fundamentalists, it is necessary to remember the scale of the success in their efforts to challenge the teaching of evolution. Currently, legal challenges to the teaching of evolution, many of which calls for the teaching of intelligent design as a scientific alternative to evolution are ongoing in 20 American states. That is a worrying thought indeed.

Anonymous said...

How is cherry picking one engineer that fits your "Salem Hypothesis" any way of going about confirming it? You are going to have to be a little more careful than that in gathering data if you want to make this claim.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Dear anonymous:

I didn't say anything about "confirming" the hypothesis. I think you need to read more carefully.

THeFiSH said...

This is a cut and paste from the blog I linked here from:

For some reason, tonight, I just started reading scientific articles about evolutionary biology. I was prompted by a yahoo link to an article discussing the Royal society meeting in Nov (2016). I followed some other links and eventually landed here.

I am not a scientist. I'm definitely more philosophically minded(which is primarily why I read articles rather than scientific journals more often than not). That being said, the reason I feel compelled to comment here is that I don't see ID and evolution to be diametrically opposed on a fundamental level. It seems to me that egos are the main barriers to mutual understanding. I don't see anyone proposing the question of why it has to be one or the other.

Aren't religion and science, more or less, flip-sides of the same coin? Do not both serve the same purpose, that is to more fully understand the universe and our role in it? When practiced without ego or greed, shouldn't one act as a catalyst to seek a greater understanding of the other? If the answer to these questions is affirmative, then wouldn't it better server the common good of all if scientists and theologians would be more willing to re-evaluate and expand upon what they think they know when there's a contradiction?

I'm convinced that the perpetual "us and them" mentality of even the most well meaning of people is one of the main roadblocks to true human progress, material as well as spiritual.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

ID and evolution are opposed because ID is not science and because the people who advocate have political, religious, and not scientific goals in mind. This is obvious to those who spend even a small amount of time reading the ID movement's writings.