Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Another Liar for Jesus

Creationist Bill Randall is another liar for Jesus.

In his barely literate Washington Times piece, filled with gems like "Modern contemporary teachings", there is scarcely a single sentence that is truthful.

I don't have the time or interest to fisk the whole thing, so here is just a single example:

The following are quotes from proponents of evolution: “Many examples commonly cited, such as the evolution of the horse family or of sabertooth tigers can be readily shown to have been falsified and not to be really othogenic.” (G. G. Simpson, “Evolutionary Determinism and the Fossil Record”, Scientific Monthly, Vol. 71, Oct. 1950, pg 264

(Yes, the delightful lack of a closing parenthesis is in the original.)

Now, I happen to have Simpson's article right in front of me. Here is what he actually said:

"The crucial point here is whether evolution is in fact orthogenetic, whether orthogenesis is its law. There are many definitions of orthogenesis, but the pertinent one in this connection is that orthogenesis designates not only full determination of evolution but also rigid and unique predetermination. Orthogenetic evolution is supposed to proceed undeviatingly in a single direction, regardless of environment, organic activity, or such factors as natural selection. Discussion of this point has been so lengthy and extensive that it has, frankly, become boring. There is at present a clear consensus of paleontologists that orthogenesis, in this sense, is not real. There is no known sequence in the fossil record that requires or substantiates such a process. Many examples commonly cited, such as the evolution of the horse family or of sabertooth "tigers," can be readily shown to have been unintentionally falsified and not to be really orthogenetic. All supposed examples are more simply and fully interpreted as due to some other cause, such as natural selection. The fossil record is now usually cited in support of orthogenesis mainly by those least familiar with that record."

See the differences? Randall has deleted the word "unintentionally", has mangled the word "orthogenetic", and has removed the quotes around "tigers". But more importantly, he doesn't even remotely understand what he is quoting. Simpson is not arguing against evolution at all; he is arguing against teleology and a predetermined direction to evolution.

To see this, we can turn to another quote of Simpson, from his 1964 book This View of Life: The World of an Evolutionist:

"If a sect does officially insist that its structure of belief demands that evolution be false, then no compromise is possible. An honest and competent biology teacher can only conclude that the sect's beliefs are wrong and that its religion is a false one. It is not the teacher's duty to point this out unnecessarily, but it is certainly his duty not to compromise the point."

Simpson had Randall's number 49 years ago.


SLC said...

Simpson provides an example of how even an outstanding scientist (he was one of the developers of the evolutionary synthesis) can go wrong. Well after other scientists had accepted continental drift and plate tectonics, Simpson was still skeptical of the theory.

KeithB said...

Does "orthogenic" even mean anything? His quote does not even make sense.

KeithB said...

And to add:
I bet he never even read the original source so he "unintentionally" left out "unintentionally".

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Keith: it's even worse than that - Randall wrote "othogenic".

Diogenes said...

Othogenic? Jesus.

No, "orthogenic" is not a word either.

This letter is also being skewered by Sensuous Curmudgeon.

Robert Byers said...

Well one must accurate in quoting.
Yet this does show how this evolutionist believes the fossil record can lead anyone to see anything they want.
This because its just about speculation on making connections between fossils of different creatures.
So no one can prove their case except by committee.

John Pieret said...

The Simpson quote does not appear to be common among creationists. The only other reference I could find online is to a book, Discover the Truth: The Hidden Secrets of the Ancient Scrolls, a 2006 book by Paul Bryan Hanson, that claims that "every event in the bible is backed by scientific facts and is proved beyond a reasonable doubt."


The Quote Mine Project covers some of Randall's other quotes

The Stephen Jay Gould quote is here.

The J.E. O'Rourke quote is here.

The Colin Patterson quote mine has its own article in the Talk Origins Archive.

Randall's claim that Charles Darwin believed that there were (and are) inferior races of people is probably based on these quote mines.

But this from Randall is highly amusing:

I encourage everyone to insist on facts and empirical information; challenge interpreted facts.

That's from someone who doubtless copied his "evidence" (in the form of quote mines) from other people without bothering to check the originals ... though it is possible that he is so stupid that he did check the originals but simply could not understand them.