Hate Mail

"Summerbird"

[Editor's note: another creationist copy and paste job]

August 5, 2001:

I'm curious as to where the Bible condones enslaving blacks specifically.

It condones enslaving Canaanites and all other "sons of Ham": a group which blacks happen to belong to. The fact that it doesn't specifically mention blacks is hair-splitting and fools no one.

The Bombardier Beetle

If there is any creature on Earth that could not possibly have evolved, that creature is the bombardier beetle. It needed God to create it with all its systems fully functional.

This is a very old and very poor argument. Visit http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/bombardier.html to see what's wrong with it.

Evolutionary theory has big problems when attempting to explain the existence and complexity of the bombardier beetle.

Your failure of imagination does not constitute proof of impossibility.

Each stage in the evolution of its special chemicals would have wed to its destruction. This one-half inch insect mixes chemicals which violently react to produce something similar to an explosion. How could the bombardier beetle have evolved this means of defense without killing itself in the process?

Simple. The reaction is not as violent as you make it seem. It's a rapid exothermal reaction, but it's not a high exposive by any means. It's only a rapid boiling reaction.

This problem has the members of the evolutionary establishment scratching their heads.

Does it ever occur to you that perhaps if you visited a biologist's website on bombardier beetles, you would find that the Creationists are lying about the "evolutionary establishment's" befuddlement?

Evolutionary theory says that you do not evolve something until you know you need it. In other words a new enzyme or chemical or organ or fin or beak or bone will not evolve until the creature realizes it needs the new improvement.

Nonsense. No such deliberate decision-making processes are involved in the evolutionary process. You make it seem as if the animals hold a meeting and then decide to evolve something.

All of the chemicals used by the bombardier beetle are produced by the metabolic processes of other, related species in its evolutionary tree. Both of the key reacting ingredients are found in these related species, often in similar configurations where they can be expelled out of the body. The addition of catalyst secretions to accelerate the chemical reaction and increase its rate of heating and expansion is an obvious evolutionary step, and not at all difficult to explain.

Think of it this way: you have chemical #1, which alters the beetle's colouration. It also happens to irritate other animals, thus making it a convenient defensive mechanism (example of evolutionary transformed function: chemical used for skin [or cuticle, to be precise] colouration which can be used for other purposes as well). Add chemical #2, which is a natural byproduct of numerous biochemical reactions (another example of evolutionary transformed function: useless waste byproduct which happens to be useful when mixed with another chemical that happens to already be present within the beetle). Accidental mixture of two chemicals turns out to be useful, and beetles with this capability thrive through natural selection. Now add catalysts which are secreted by other common biochemical reactions, and they make the reaction more violent. Voila!

The bombardier beetle would not have known it needed a mechanism to prevent these chemicals from blowing it up until it mixed the chemicals and blew itself up. Naturally, it could not evolve after it was dead, so how did it get here? The evolutionists say, "We don't know."

Wrong. They would say "you've got the mechanism all wrong. Anyone can take these chemicals, mix them in a laboratory, and see that they don't explode". It is a catalyzed exothermal reaction which produces rapid boiling, not an explosive [Editor's note: the chemicals react slowly on their own, hence the need for catalysts]

Why do you take creationists' word for what "evolutionists" would say? Why don't you go straight to the horse's mouth and find out what they would really say?

To prevent its own destruction the little bug manufactures another chemical, called an inhibitor, and mixes it in with the explosive chemicals. But with the inhibitor, it would not be able to use the explosion of hot burning liquid and gases to discourage its enemies. A spider would eat it because the beetle has no solution to explode to protect itself. Again we have a dead beetle.

Sounds nice, except that it's a total fabrication. There is no inhibitor. The chemicals are not that reactive, and the insect must create a catalyst in order to accelerate the reaction.

Dead bugs cannot evolve the next chemical needed to release the protective reaction. That chemical turns out to be an anti-inhibitor. When the anti-inhibitor is added to the other chemicals, an explosive reaction does occur and the beetle is able to defend itself.

This is actually rather amusing. Where did you quote this from? Do they seriously expect anyone to believe that an "intelligent designer" would actually design a mechanism which stored volatile chemicals, applies an inhibitor to prevent an explosive reaction, and then applies an "anti-inhibitor" to counteract the effects of the inhibitor? If an engineer designed such a recklessly dangerous, unnecessarily convoluted system, he would lose his license.

There is still another problem, however: the beetle must have an especially tough "combustion chamber" and that chamber must have an outlet for the violent reaction to release its energy, or once again we have a dead bug.

The "combustion chamber" is a deepened reservoir around which muscles enclose, and similar reservoirs are found in many other insects of its evolutionary family.

As for its strength, creationists tend to assume that systems must have sprung into existence in their current form (which is natural for them, since that's what they're inclined to believe). However, there is no reason to believe that this is the case. A weak "combustion chamber" could have initially evolved, along with very limited amounts of catalyst secretions. As the amount of catalyst increased in successive generations, the strength of the chamber walls could have increased along with it.

And as for the existence of an outlet, they misinterpret the evolutionary process. Since this structure probably developed from a small indentation in which certain surface-secreted chemicals pooled, it always had an outlet, all the way through its evolutionary process. It was once mostly outlet, and it simply deepened and eventually became mostly enclosed.

Problem solved: this unique creature has the necessary equipment, including twin-tail tubes to "exhaust" its defensive reaction. These tubes can be aimed at enemies in a 180° arc from straight to the rear, to directly toward the front.

It seems obvious that with its evolutionary ancestors being capable of storing and ejecting all of the necessary chemicals in deepened reservoirs, the addition of catalysts is a simple step, and the abilityto add directional control is another simple step. If you have an opening through which you can direct hot liquids and gases, does it really strike you as impossible to imagine that a method for directing this exhaust could evolve? If so, why do you think it's impossible?

By the way, different species of bombardier beetle have different methods of aiming their ejecta. Some merely point their bodies and squeeze certain muscles.

Amazingly, it does not shoot friendly creatures but only its enemies! How does a one-half inch long insect know how to aim at and shoot only enemies?

This is actually a perfect example of natural selection. Obviously, beetles which indiscriminately kill one another as easily as their enemies will not thrive as a group, so natural selection will choose those that can differentiate. The fact that the insect is small hardly changes the applicability of this obvious evolutionary mechanism.

Keep in mind that its differentiation mechanism is extremely rudimentary, and not particularly effective. As some biologists have noted, the bombardier beetle does not fire at human experimenters who are about to subject it to serious physical harm or death, but it has been known to fire at inanimate objects such as laboratory forceps. Does this really sound like a sophisticated Friend or Foe sensor system to you?

And, how did its incredibly complex nervous system and advanced chemical system evolve? There is nothing like the bombardier beetle in the entire animal kingdom.

Actually, numerous other insects have similar biological structures, and its nervous system is no more complex than that of other insects. Many insects, from beetles to millipedes, manufacture the kinds of chemicals that are required for the reaction. Many other beetle species have the kind of buried reservoirs and ductwork that are required for the "combustion chamber" and "nozzle". The catalysts are manufactured by a wide variety of organisms, including some types of bacteria. What's the problem here, apart from a creationist failure of imagination?

Is this an example of the "impersonal, plus time, plus chance" or is it an example of a special intricate creation by a God who is intimately involved with His creatures? Which system of belief can best explain the marvelous bombardier beetle: Evolution or Creation?

Quite clearly, evolution theory. Creation theory would have to explain why God had to coincidentally have all of the necessary components available to him in the Bombardier beetle's evolutionary "relatives" before he could design it. Not very imaginative designer, is he? Why didn't he jump all the way to the most effective design for this defensive mechanism, instead of having a bunch of less-effective precursors in related species?

5: Natalie Angier reported by Rick Thompson/San Francisco, Time Magazine (Feb. 25, 1985), p. 70

From: The Evolution Of A Creationist, Dr. Jobe Martin, D.M.D., ThM.

It takes a lot of time to search legitimate scientific literature looking for information, which is why I structure my essays as just that: essays, rather than ersatz research papers. I believe in being honest, and I won't misrepresent my own essays as anything but. However, websites such as icr.org structure their essays to superficially resemble the abstracts for research papers, because they know that most people value style over substance.

They accomplish this by writing them in a dry style and using lots of references, just as a real scientist would. However, while the abstract of a real research paper sticks to references to scientific research papers (and is attached to an actual piece of research), people like icr.org will freely mix in anything from book reviews to magazine articles. This passage that you quoted to me is guilty of that crime, citing an article in Time Magazine as a reference. Time Magazine is nice coffee-table reading but it's hardly a scientific journal, after all.

By the way, it has now been quite a while since you said you would move the anti-Creationist stuff to a different site. It really tarnishes a great and well-thought-out site.

In your opinion. I only said I would move it out of the Empire site, because it deals with reality instead of science fiction; I didn't say I would move it to another domain name.

One other suggestion: phase out the name calling; I know I don't like to be called an ignoramus and I'm sure a lot of your hate mail is a result of your name-calling, insulting, etc.

If someone wants a very dry, thorough, erudite argument in favour of evolution theory, he can go to talkorigins.org, because they do a far better job than I ever could. My site exists to remind people of what underhanded tactics the creationists use, and how ignorant one has to be of the scientific method in order to accept their arguments. In short, while talkorigins.org takes the "high road", I choose not to. Why? Because the creationists have been insulting all "evolutionists" as lying conspirators and proponents of immorality for decades, and I'm fed up with seeing the scientific community turning the other cheek.

If you don't like it, then talk to your fellow creationists and tell them to call off the "global conspiracy of silence" rhetoric, the "Darwinism promotes eugenics and Nazism" rhetoric, and the "atheists are immoral" rhetoric. If they'll tone it down, I'll tone it down.

[Editor's note: actually, there's very little name-calling in the essays on this site. I generally insult people only in response to flame mail, but he's just searching around for something to criticize]

-Olof Summerbird (no, it's not my real name, and don't bother asking for it, I don't give it out online)

Of course not.

OK, one more thing completely unrelated: the Commandment you refer to in the essay "Morality Comes From People..." is not "Thou shalt not kill." Rather, it is "Thou shalt not commit murder." Quite a difference there; I would have expected you of all people to have known that fact

The King James version says "Thou Shalt Not Kill". Besides, you're nitpicking red herrings. I always referred to the sixth commandment in the context of the assumption that it referred to murder rather than any taking of life anyway (I never assumed it prohibited killing in self-defense, for example), so you're trying to make it seem as if I've deliberately misrepresented the Bible simply by choosing to quote from the King James version. Classic rhetorical ploy.

You'll notice, whenever He orders killing, it is either war (Numbers), or punishment for a crime, never murder.

That's a rather feeble defense, isn't it? When you kill prisoners of war, even in wartime, it's murder. When you kill your own son for disobedience, it's murder. When you kill and rape captured civilian women and children, even in wartime, it's murder (in fact, it's such a heinous form of murder that we call it a "crime against humanity"). All of these things happen in the Bible, and all are sanctioned by God. What kind of unabashedly immoral, militaristic society does one live in, when any conceivable atrocity is deemed morally acceptable if it occurs in wartime or is sanctioned by a sufficiently powerful being?


Last updated: August 5, 2001


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