Hate Mail

Terry Langley

December 1, 2001:

This text comes from an e-mail that I previously sent to info@godbusters.com, who seems to be too cowardly to defend the views I was attacking.

You assume that they are being "cowardly" by not answering. You are demonstrating exceptional arrogance with your implicit assumption that they are afraid of your wholly unoriginal creationist arguments, all of which were obviously copied and pasted out of widely distributed creationist literature. They might be very busy, or they might have simply decided that your argument was not original enough to bother with.

Since looking over your web-site has assured me that this will not be the case with you, I want to say upfront that I intend no attack toward you.

I appreciate that, but you should be forewarned that I am openly contemptuous of people who are too damned lazy to do their homework. The world suffers greatly from such people.

I would appreciate it, however, if you would point out any flaws in logic or knowledge. (I suspect there are a few.) I do believe in Creation, but cannot claim any absolute scientific proof. At the least, before I attack the theory of (macro) evolution publically, I should gain as much knowledge of the subject(s) as possible. (So please answer as many of the questions as possible!) I gotta say that discrediting evolution is made more difficult by people like you who think before speaking. (Actually both sides of the debate could use more of those!) Anyway, here is the text:

"After viewing your web site, I can see that you accept evolution as both a proven fact, and an alternative to special creation. (Which, if proven, I guess it would be.)

Well, that didn't take long. You've already made your first glaring mistake by claiming that scientists describe evolution as a "proven fact". No scientific theories are "proven facts". "Facts" in science are direct observations and theories whose validity has been demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt (absolute "proof" is a meaningless and impossible requirement). Scientific theories are the theories which most accurately match past observations and predict future observations. The current reigning scientific theory is always the best fit, not a "proven fact".

Think of the analogy of a very difficult measurement. Suppose you're trying to measure the distance to the Moon but your equipment is primitive. You might come up with several answers depending on which method you use, and you will attempt to determine which answer is the most accurate. None of the answers would be "proven facts", in that they all incorporate some degree of inaccuracy. However, this doesn't mean you can't state with some certainty how far away the Moon is, or that you can't dismiss alternative figures which are wildly inaccurate.

What I'd like to know is:
1) Who proved it?
2) By what evidence?

Nobody proved it. Nobody proved the law of gravity either. You demonstrate great presumption in attempting to tackle a scientific matter when it is blatantly obvious that you don't even understand the most basic principles of the scientific method which are taught in high school.

3) What about logical questions which arise from the theory, such as:

A) If the universe began in a uniform/ at rest state, (specifically the largest singularity that could ever exist) and light speed is the limit which no object may ever surpass, and nothing may escape a singularity (black hole) because its incredible mass and density make its escape velocity greater than light speed, then how did every particle in the universe escape in the "big bang"?

Red herring #1. The Big Bang has nothing to do with evolution theory.

Besides, the fact that the Big Bang occurred is known from direct observation of the expansion of the cosmos. The fact that we cannot yet explain what happened at that precise moment does not change the fact that the Big Bang did in fact occur. By the way, you're wrong; matter/energy CAN escape a singularity. See Stephen Hawking. Also keep in mind that such a singularity would exist at such fantastic densities that quantum mechanics would apply, and the inherent randomness (which underlies Hawking's black hole radiation theory) is a likely candidate for the explosion.

In any case, you are engaging in the "unsolved mystery" fallacy, in which every unsolved mystery is assumed to be an indictment of all science. Science does not claim to be omniscient; it only claims to be using a method for arriving at the most accurate possible descriptive model of our universe. Its failure to be omniscient does not invalidate its methods.

B) Suppose that the big bang did occur, we've had an explosion in a frictionless environment. Particles are moving outward in all directions uniformly in both density and speed (diffusion). How did "pockets" of greater density occur, leading to the formation of bodies?...DON'T cop out with gravity, it wasn't even sufficient to maintain the initial condition in an environment which allows for no possible outside forces!

Red herring #2. The source of cosmic "lumpiness" is still a mystery (although theories involving spatial antigravity can supposedly explain it). In any case, this has nothing to do with evolution, nor does it disprove the Big Bang. Again you use the "unsolved mystery" fallacy. Before they figured out nuclear fusion, it was a mystery how the Sun generated its power. Was that a disproof of evolution theory as well?

C) OK, so I give you the density pockets, which you then form into galaxies and solar systems. But We've only granted one initial event (the big bang).

"Granted"? The Big Bang is the result of direct observation. The cosmic lumpiness is obvious since we do have stars and galaxies. Who needs to "grant" anything? Do you also generously "grant" meteorologists their theories about rain coming from atmospheric precipitation?

So why don't all the moons in our solar system orbit the same direction? Why don't all the planets revolve in one direction?

Red herring #3. Why should all the planets' and moons' vectors line up precisely, and how does this disprove evolution theory?

D) Now you have the solar system, complete with the very young Earth. (Billions of years have elapsed, according to evolutionist time line)

Correction: astrophysicist timeline, not "evolutionist" timeline. There is no such thing as an "evolutionist"; there are only astrophysicists, biologists, and geologists. At this point in the timeline, no evolution has yet occurred. The planet is radiating heat into space as it cools down over hundreds of millions of years, and nothing could possibly survive on the surface.

Now the rains fall on the rocks for millions of years, leaving what? Smaller, wetter rocks? No, how silly of me, primordial soup! Does anyone have the recipe for that?

Yes, and you would already know that if you had read my site instead of being so damned lazy that you expect me to take you by the hand and point you to the parts which pertain to your ignorant creationist arguments. In 1953, Stanley Miller synthesized amino acids by zapping a mixture of hydrogen, methane, ammonia, and water with electricity, thus simulating the conditions that led to the appearance of the so-called "primordial soup".

By the way, this was red herring #4. The theory of evolution does not apply until long after the primordial soup forms.

Anyway, slowly the complex molecules in the primordial soup become alive, constituting the earliest, simplest life forms, right?...Wait a minute, that sounds like spontaneous generation! I thought we didn't believe in that anymore?

Of course not. Primitive notions of spontaneous generation involved the appearance of modern life forms from inanimate objects (eg- the absolutely laughable idea of Adam being formed out of dust). The occurrence of the first naturally self-replicating organic molecule, on the other hand, is NOT the spontaneous generation of a modern life form. It is nothing more than a fortuitous chemical reaction, which is all we need for evolution.

E) So these early, simple life forms; they're single-cellular, right?

Wrong. The first life form was an organic molecule.

No "parts"? (eyes, ears, mouth, legs, wings, leaves, spines, etc.) Now, in reproduction, they sometimes mutate, and any mutations that give an organism an advantage in survival or reproduction are "selected" for, or preserved in the lineage. Intermediate forms of say, the eye, are not beneficial until the little critter can see with 'em!

Yet another astoundingly ignorant, unoriginal creationist argument. You are simply wrong when you make your bizarre claim that intermediate forms of the eye are useless. Even the most rudimentary forms of light sensitivity are useful, as demonstrated by plants which turn toward the sunlight, and intermediate forms of the eye did not have to be blind, as you so obviously presume.

Darwin laid out a sequence for the evolution of the eye from a single cell to the modern eyeball more than a century ago, and every stage was useful. Moreover, the eyeball is poorly designed, and its particular design flaw (which we share with every single animal on our evolutionary branch, but which animals on other branches don't have) is clear evidence in favour of evolution theory.

So how does half an eye get selected?

It doesn't. At no time was there half of a modern eye; there were primitive eyes. The eye starts as a light-sensitive cell, which turns into a group of cells, which eventually forms a concave indentation in the surface of the organism. This concave indentation becomes more and more pronounced over time, until it becomes quite deep and various fluids tend to build up inside. Eventually, a protective/focusing cover develops. Voila! Eyeball.

At every stage in this process, the agglomeration of cells is light sensitive and therefore useful. Each stage has superior visual acuity to the previous stage. Get it yet?

Even if it happened once by chance, what about the other sensory organs?

Same thing. They evolved slowly, in many stages from extremely simple structures. At no time did they suddenly pop up out of nowhere.

Wings?

Obviously, from arms, fins, or flippers. Various advantages would arise from webbed appendages that became progressively bigger and better at catching the air, particularly for creatures which leapt into the air to seize food or glided through the water.

Haven't you ever seen pictures of flying fish? They still exist today, you know. Big flippers/fins that look a lot like wings, and which could easily be imagined evolving into real wings over long periods of time. Pay attention to the world around you and you will see your creationist literature for what it is: pure ignorance.

Opposable thumbs?

Simple alteration upon non-opposable [digits]. I can't believe you actually need someone to point out something so incredibly obvious.

Sexual reproduction?(Try getting the penis "selected" without a female to put it to reproductive use with!)

Sexual reproduction did not begin with a penis and vagina. Modern plants can reproduce either sexually or asexually, as can water fleas. Worms are hermaphroditic sexual reproducers, and they don't have penises. Your missing links are all around you, if you would just bother to look.

As for the evolution of the penis, it stands to reason that the evolutionary advantages of sexual reproduction led to the development of better methods of sharing genetic material, with superior environmental isolation. Start with earthworm-style sexual reproduction, and then develop a deeper and deeper cavity for the female reproductive organ which improved environmental protection. Males with slightly convex sexual areas gain an advantage, and over a long time the female concave indent becomes deeper and deeper until it's a vagina, and the male convex growth becomes bigger and bigger until it's a penis. Was that so difficult to understand?

F) Why don't we have proof in the fossil record that intermediate forms existed?

The fossil record is full of intermediate forms. Your problem is that you don't know what an intermediate form looks like! Creationists assume that an intermediate form is an animal which is half-formed or incomplete, and that's ridiculous. In reality, every intermediate form was a complete, full-formed, fully functional and completely viable organism.

Let's represent organisms as letter sequences. If we find a species AAAA, a species AAAB, and a species AABB, then species AAAB is obviously an intermediate. If its position in the geological record is consistent with this evaluation, that merely cements the identification. A creationist, on the other hand, will simply say that species AAAA, AAAB, and AABB are all separate "kinds" and ask "where are the transitionals?"

In short, creationists will never admit that we've found intermediate species because they have no meaningful definition of what an intermediate species is. When you find an intermediate B between A and C, they ask why you haven't found a half-A, half-B.

G) If evolution took place so predictably from simple to complex life

Wrong again. Evolution is not predictable because environmental incentives and biosystems are too complex to be predictable. Moreover, evolution does not necessarily progress from simple to complex, although its reliance upon reproductive inaccuracies does tend to produce a lot of complex genetic "junk code" over time (most of our own genetic code is junk).

why doesn't the "geologic column" support such a conclusion?

It does. All of the most ancient life forms are extremely primitive.

(Just ask someone about the "Cambrian Explosion" and how almost all of the species we now observe seem to have come into existence simultaneously!)

Wrong yet again. The Cambrian explosion was abrupt in geological terms, meaning that it lasted for tens of millions of years. Moreover, the first reptiles, insects, sharks, amphibians, and mammals did not appear until more than a hundred million years after the Cambrian explosion in the geological column. What's this nonsense about "almost all of the species we now observe" coming from the Cambrian explosion?

In fact, the only products of the Cambrian explosion were the first primitive hard-bodied organisms, and the appearance of an "explosion" is misleading because there was undoubtedly a wide variety of soft-tissued organisms before the Cambrian explosion but soft-tissued organisms would not leave fossils.

Or for that matter if the geologic column has any validity at all, what of polystratic tree growth? (tree trunks that are standing THROUGH "millions of years" of strata?

They don't exist. They're a creationist myth, based on the fact that some fossilized trees stand upright through many metres of surrounding material. This might represent millions of years of strata if the material were limestone, but in all cases of so-called "polystratic tree growth", it is not. One cannot seriously equate depths in compressed limestone to depths in surface volcanic ash deposits! Creationists should not project their own ignorance of geology onto geologists.

Upright fossils are generally found in places such as coal seams, low-density sandstone, or volcanic ash deposits such as those found in Yellowstone national park, where trees have been buried upright by many layers of volcanic ash. These kinds of deposits can be built up very quickly; at Mount St. Helens, trees are buried under volcanic ash and they look just like the ones at Yellowstone.

H) So the theory of Special Creation is indeed a religious idea, and not scientifically provable.

There is no such thing as "scientifically provable".

But with all these unanswered questions,(and some others I left out) can we really say that evolution is scientifically proven, or provable? Or is it, too, a religion?

Your "unanswered questions" make no impact whatsoever on the validity of evolution theory. Every one of them was either a red herring, a glaring example of ignorance and laziness on your part (ie- "unanswered questions" which were actually answered more than a century ago), or a simple falsehood (eg- your ignorant claims about the lack of intermediate fossils or the existence of "polystratic tree growth" through millions of years of strata).

Nothing is provable. However, evolution theory accurately fits our observations while "special creation" does not. Evolutionary mechanisms have been verified at both the macroscopic level (observations of living organisms altering through environmental stimuli and forced speciation and/or species alterations in laboratory experiments) and the microscopic level (study of molecular evolution and genetic explanations for evolutionary processes).

"Special creation", on the other hand, is nothing more than a bad joke. In its Biblical form, it is contemptible and stupid because the Bible is laughably easy to disprove as literal truth. "Special creation" in the more vague "intelligent designer" sense is almost as bad, because the "intelligent designer" term has no predictive usefulness, so it's obviously redundant (yes, God is a redundant term; see Occam's Razor). And finally, the incredible stupidity evidenced in the design of our biosystem screams for an evolutionary explanation, since anyone who "engineered"this biosystem would have had to be a complete idiot. See my essay on Intelligent Design.

With that in mind, why is your religion to be accepted blindly and without question, while mine is to be dismissed and ridiculed as un-rational and antiquated?

Evolution theory is not accepted blindly and without question. It is being modified all the time. It is in a state of constant improvement. All of science is subordinate to observation, unlike Christian fundamentalism, in which observation is made subordinate to books written by dead men thousands of years ago. Despite your ignorant assertions to the contrary, evolution theory is accepted because it makes sense and it fits our observations of the living biosystem as well as the fossil record, and not because of blind faith.

Your religion has absolutely nothing whatsoever going for it but blind faith. Your God is a redundant term. Your Bible is scientifically laughable and worse yet, it isn't even consistent. If you reject science and logic in favour of faith, that's your business. But when you run around trying to pretend that there's no difference between science and your religion, you are engaging in a public demonstration of either willful deceit or contemptible ignorance. Your religion is irrational. Accept it.


December 7, 2001:

I apologize for being arrogant in my previous e-mail. It wasn't the way to begin correspondance. You've shown me the errors that I made, as I requested, and I thank you for that.

I don't have a problem with your religious beliefs as long as you don't try to shove them down anyone's throat. But before you speak about science in future, you should really take the time to learn the scientific method, which you obviously do not understand. Once you understand how it works, you will understand where you've gone wrong in your misconceptions about evolution and creationism.

The question I'm left with is not a scientific one, but more a request for your opinion. If it's wrong for me to cite "unsolved mysteries" in models I don't believe like the big-bang or "macro"evolution, then why isn't it also wrong when you say my religion is irrational because we don't know HOW God created the universe or formed Adam from dust?

Strawman fallacy. That is NOT why your religion is irrational. [It] is irrational for two reasons:

  1. God commits numerous acts in the Bible which violate the known laws of physics (for example, the creation of the Earth in just six days, which violates the first law of thermodynamics by eliminating huge amounts of gravitational potential energy without a trace, or the Great Flood, which violates too many scientific principles to list here). It's not a matter of not knowing how he did it; it's a matter of knowing that the act in question was impossible.

  2. God is a redundant term. At no time is God necessary in order to explain observed phenomena. Moreover, there has never been a single case in history where a scientific theory's predictive accuracy has been improved by incorporating the concept of God.

I can accept that our not knowing the mechanism doesn't invalidate your claims, but abandoning and labeling mine as "either willful deceit or contemptible ignorance" on the same grounds seems like a double standard.

"On the same grounds?" Oh dear, it's painfully obvious that you still don't understand why I rejected your arguments. You attack science on the notion that if it is not omniscient, it must be wrong. That is not the same reason I dismiss your religion. I dismiss your religion because its predictions are not consistent with observation, and its basic concept (a divine supernatural being whose wishes are communicated to us by anointed authorities) is both fallacious (appealing to the authority of long-dead scriptural authors) and hopelessly redundant (at no time throughout history has the predictive accuracy of any scientific theory been improved by incorporating the concept of God).

Your religion is irrational. If you wish to hang onto it, just admit that fact rather than struggling to pretend that it's logical.

[Editor's note: Martin Luther made no bones about his distaste for logic, which is no surprise since Occam's Razor predated him by centuries, and made it clear that there was no logical reason to believe in a God. Luther repeatedly and violently attacked logic and reason (he also attacked the Jews, but that's another issue) as the tools of Satan. At least he was honest. Modern Christian fundamentalists want to have it both ways. They reject logic and science but they still insist that they're just as logical and scientific as everyone else]


Last updated: February 27, 2001


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