Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Stupid Creationist Letter Award for March

The letters section in my college alumni magazine is always a source of amusement, with its monthly fulminations by doddering retirees about some new outrage. When I was a student, the alumni (including, to my shame, our latest Supreme Court justice) were incensed by the admission of women and gays. Now the outrage is directed towards President Tilghman, who had the temerity to point out that intelligent design is a religiously-motivated crock.

A certain Thomas V. Gillman from the class of 1949 raises the usual specious objections. Are you ready to play anti-evolution bingo with some excerpts?

"...she [President Tilghman] dismisses the arguments for 'intelligent design' as specious and representative of only the voice of Christian fundamentalists. That simply is not so." Really? Then how does he explain this quotation of William Dembski, who is one of the leaders of the movement? "I think at a fundamental level, in terms of what drives me in this, is that I think God's glory is being robbed by these naturalistic approaches to biological evolution, creation, the origin of the world, the origin of biological complexity and diversity. When you are attributing the wonder of nature to these mindless material mechanisms, God's glory is getting robbed." (Fellowship Baptist Church, March 7 2004)


"The evolutionary theory of natural selection is just that, a theory." Yes, "only a theory", the hoariest chestnut in the creationist playbook!


"Dr. Tilghman speaks of [evolution's] remarkable resilience to experimental challenge over almost 150 years' as evidence of its validity, when this is really nothing but an admission of failure on the part of the scientific community to ratify the theory..." Do I understand correctly? The fact that evolution has survived every experimental test means, according to Gillman, that the theory has failed? Alex, I'll take "incoherent babble" for $100!


"It [evolution] is not a biological law". The usual misunderstanding about the distinction between "theory" and "law"!


"...it [evolution] has become increasingly tenuous, as indicated by the numerous writings raising objections to it." Yes, the old many scientists reject evolution chestnut!

O! BINGO! We have a winner! Mr. Gillman, you are the winner of this month's Stupid Creationist Letter Award! Congratulations.

P. S. For more Gillman fun, see here.


Anonymous said...

Gee, Jeffrey, thanks for the invitation to return a comment on YOUR diatribe. Maybe you've met your match.... I've been a scientist since I was in the third grade, and, unfortunately or not, I'm still a creationist. Is that possible?
T.V.Gillman, Ph.D.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

T. V. Gillman:

I note you didn't provide a single substantive response to my criticisms of your letter.

Anonymous said...

"Gillman holds a bachelor's degree from Princeton University, master's degrees from the University of Colorado and Hofstra University, and a doctor's
degree in educational policy and management from the University of Oregon. He has served as a teacher and school district administrator in New York State
and is now active as a management consultant in organizational development and strategic planning. Gillman is currently president of Transformation
Leadership Systems in Eugene, Oregon."


Anonymous said...

Gillman holds a.... [snip rest of CV]

While I'm sure we're all interested in the background info on Dr. Gillman, I can't help asking: was that supposed to be a response to Jeff's challenge?

Anonymous said...

Yeah really, what's the deal with rambling off your degrees (I'm assuming the second anonymous posting was Gillman again) as some sort of defense. You do realise that Jeff is a professor of mathematics so if flashing your PhD was meant as an attempt to intimidate I don't think it'll work.

It is very possible for someone to be a scientist and still a creationist, they just let their religious beliefs cloud their better judgement.

Anonymous said...

No, that second posting was me. I'm not logged in here at Blogger. My usual pen names are either QrazyQat or anthrosciguy. My point in rattling (or rambling?) off those credentials is that Gillman apparently forgot to say just what his background was when he was assuring one and all that he was a science kinda guy, his actual academic credentials are, shall we say, less than "sciency".

Really, would it be likely that the person in question would actually go out of his way to point out that he had no credentials along with no understanding?

Anonymous said...

Well the post mentioned he had a bachelors and masters degree, I assumed they would be in something scientific (physics, biology, etc.)
Sorry about the criticism though.

Anonymous said...

I think people don't realize that getting a degree just means that you get a piece of paper with your name on it. It doesn't mean you are intelligent or that you have any academic authority. And, based on DR. Gillman's response, he has no knowledge of basic biology. I love intellectuals that are far from being intelligent.