Correspondence with a Creationist

In a previous post, I mentioned a discussion with a creationist I met at a debate. It continued in email, and sadly that person was not willing to be held accountable in a public format. So I will keep an anonymous record of our discussion here.

My interest doesn’t lay in “debating” alternate views – I don’t believe that I can dissuade you from your positions, and I know you cannot dissuade me.  I was more interested in you as a person, and what would make you so angry at God that you’d devote so much of your life to “proving” that he doesn’t exist / ie. demonstrating that random mutations + time and “survival of the fittest” can produce all the complexity we see in the universe.  So, I’m going to respectfully decline to participate in your forum, but I’d love to talk further if you are interested in understanding us a bit better.  I’m certainly interested in understanding you and your perspective.

Proving evolution wouldn’t disprove God unless your god is a book. The Bible is easy to disprove, but that shouldn’t be enough to disprove God. Whether God exists or not, evolution is still an inescapable fact of population genetics and the Bible is still a man-made compilation of falsified fables. Not even the existence of God could change either of these things.

I don’t hate God. Some people say it’s impossible to hate a fictional character, but I hated the wicked step-mother in Disney’s Cinderella. Of course that’s because I knew people like her. Even though God is the most objectionable character in all fiction, he’s not real enough to hate. So it’s not that I hate God; it’s that I hate lies, and that’s what your god is made of.

If your god was real, you’d be able to convince me. In fact, he wouldn’t need you. I’d already know. However you are demonstrably wrong on everything you’ve said so far. Whether I can convince you of that depends only on whether you’re reasonably honest.

I’m sure that you’ve written extensively on what happened in your life to make you such a passionate believer in evolution, and why you carry such vitriol for those who disagree with your views.  Can you send me a link?  I’d love to understand your motives.

It’s not whether you disagree with my views; it’s whether you disagree with the facts, the truth, that thing we call reality. The truth is what the facts are, what we can show to be true. There were no events in my life that caused me to accept that or understand science. Nor could there have been. It just seems to me that we either have an irrational need to believe or we have a desire to understand and to improve that understanding. For those of the latter set, accuracy and accountability are paramount, but for creationists, those things don’t even matter.

I am not a “believer in” evolution either. Believers use the word “believe” differently than rationalists do. Y’all have a whole different lexicon. For example, the definition of “rational” is being endowed with the capacity to reason, being reasonable, agreeable to reason, and able to be reasoned with. But if you compare this to the statement of faith published by creationist organizations, where they proudly reject reason and admit that no amount of proof will ever change their minds, then you should see that they don’t meet any of those criteria. Religious belief is irrational by definition, being “not governed by or according to reason”, which is why faith is a belief that is not dependent on evidence.

Likewise, for believers, “belief” is a conscious act of deliberate intent, of mind over matter, the power of positive thought, which enabled Sean Spicer to think “we can disagree with facts”. No, only the religious mind could even think that. Other believers phrase it differently: “These may be what the facts are, but I prefer to believe this”. If you don’t care what the facts are, you don’t care what the truth is. Sometimes after I’ve disproved some religious claim, a believer says, “why can’t I believe what I want to believe?” Why would you still want to believe something after you know it’s not true? But then I’ve also heard, “if believin’ in God is wrong, I don’t wanna be right”. One believer refused correction of a number of false statements, saying he had the right to be wrong. That may be true, but I also have the right to be right, and so do sequestered students in a classroom. They have a right to be taught actual factual information without being mislead or deceived, which is why I am so adamant against creationism. It is nothing but misinformation.

When I say I believe something, it means that’s what I think is most likely true or closest to the truth, but I don’t know it to be so because I can’t demonstrate it. Knowledge differs from mere belief in that knowledge is testable with measurable accuracy. If you can’t show it, you don’t know it—no matter how convinced you are. But evolution is something I actually do know and can show to be real—even to your satisfaction.

But believers aren’t interested in truth or facts, because for them “believe” means “make-believe”. That’s why you try to sound confident when you make empty assertions as if you were stating fact, and pretend to know things no one even can know. In any other subject or application besides religion, anyone pretending to know what they don’t know would be “talking out of their ass”. Anyone jumping to unwarranted assumptions the way the faithful do would be a fool. If a scientist ever made unsupported assertions the way believers commonly do, that scientist would called out for fraud.

By the way, the creationists are only “lying” if they’ve intentionally claimed something to be true that they know isn’t.  I’ve met both John and Henry Morris and neither of them would intentionally lie.  Keep in mind that our savior, Jesus, claims to be truth incarnate.  As such, all of his disciples strive to be truthful in all things as part of our belief system.

Jesus is not a fact and he certainly isn’t truth either. You and I at least agree on what lying is. But would you agree that it is also dishonest to assert as fact that which is not evidently true? If I tell you to leave your job and rush home right now because your spouse is in desperate trouble and needs you there right away to save her, is that not a lie too? I would have to have some reason to justify saying that, right? What if I said there was a strange man hiding in your closet? I mean, do you actually have to go home and verify something that I couldn’t possibly know anything about before calling bullshit? What if I said that one of your grandparents secretly favored socialism because, I don’t know, maybe she did. Who knows? You can’t prove otherwise, so I can say anything I want right? But wouldn’t that be a lie too?

You said that John Morris would never lie right after I cited where he already had. The same goes for Henry Morris.

Just in the first few minutes of this video, Henry Morris says that “evolutionism” (which doesn’t exist) serves as “so-called rationale for all the evil practices that take place in the world”. No. Acceptance of the facts of evolutionary biology have never been cited as the basis for any evil act, much less all of them.

But he goes on to say that “evolutionism is the chief weapon in Satan’s war against God”. Again, an unwarranted assumption of indefensible nonsense asserted as though it were fact. Whether he’s making shit up or just talking out of his ass, it’s still dishonest.

Morris criticized Darwin for stealing credit for Natural Selection from Alfred Russell Wallace, saying that Wallace figured out the theory before Darwin did. But then Morris contradicted himself moments later by unwittingly admitting that Darwin had already been working on his theory for twenty years before Wallace ever got the idea. Then he criticized Darwin for having done all the research to support his theory that Wallace never thought to do. Morris doesn’t care what the truth is either way. He’s just gonna say whatever he thinks will make evolution look bad. It’s all propaganda.

Morris repeated the 1st foundational falsehood of creationism, insisting that anyone who accepts science must reject belief in God—when in fact many of the pioneers and champions of evolutionary theory have been and still are Christians. Morris even debated one of those champions, Dr Kenneth Miller, an evolutionary biologist with traditional Catholic beliefs. So we know Morris knew better, but he wouldn’t admit it.

He said that Darwin was influenced by demonic occultism and Marxism. Shouldn’t Morris be bound by your 9th commandment not to bear false witness? Morris doesn’t care, because he then He accused Erasmus Darwin of being an occultist and a pantheist.  Morris had no reason to call him either one, but how could anyone be both?

Morris said that embryological recapitulation was composed in the 16th century, but no, that was a couple centuries later. He also said it’s still being taught in schools, but it never was. Recapitulation was disproved soon after it was proposed, and that was decades before America even had a public school system.

Then he said that pantheist philosophers were looking for missing links in the fossil record back in the 16th century. No they were not. The first image of the tree of life didn’t even exist until centuries later. Morris mentioned Germany and France, implying Haeckel and Lamarck, but neither of them were even born yet when taxonomy was first depicted, which wasn’t until the 18th century, and there couldn’t have been any concept of a missing link before that. Fossilization and extinction also weren’t even identified until the 1700s. The “Great Chain of Being” that Morris referred to is a religious idea, dependent on creationism. So there were never any “links” necessary. It also has God and angels at the top, which means they not only weren’t looking for missing links, but they definitely weren’t pantheists either! Morris doesn’t care whether the things he says are true or not. He went on to say that evolutionary theory was simply an inversion of the Great Chain of being, which is not correct in any sense—especially since Darwin used the analogy of a tree instead to dispel the notion of a ladder, because it was never a chain.

Morris went on reading the speculations of random irrelevant people, and misrepresented all of them too, trying to associate evolution with atheism and Communism, and insinuating that all of them were Satanic—when none of them were, and there was no reason or justification for Morris to say any of that. Morris cited works that neither promoted Satanism nor influenced evolution either–despite his claims to the contrary. Instead, the works he cited that were relevant at all were criticized by scientists and skeptics alike for containing inaccuracies and false information, which is all Morris has.

I’m not even twenty minutes into this video, and Henry Morris obviously doesn’t have any idea what he’s talking about at any point. Must I go on? You say Morris would never lie? I say Morris could never tell the truth, because everything he’s said so far is factually false, indefensibly unjustified and deliberately deceptively misrepresented. The man was a professional liar. The only reason he got away with it is that he’s only speaking this disrespectfully of the dead. Otherwise everyone he mentioned would have sued him for slander.

So what about you? Remember my challenge to name any evolutionary scientist who ever lied in the act of promoting evolution over creationism. Now that you know better, will you admit that neither Nebraska Man nor Haeckel’s embryos count as the “evolutionary frauds” you said they were? Can you answer this challenge at all? Because I bet you can’t.

That was a two-part challenge, requiring that you also name a professional creationist who did NOT lie when promoting creationism over evolution. You can’t answer that challenge either, because every professional creationist has to twist and distort the truth as a job requirement. Faith is the most dishonest position it is possible to have, and creationism is a form of religious extremism requiring a deliberately dishonest denial of reality to maintain the desired delusion. So it is driven entirely by frauds, falsehoods, and fallacies. There is no truth in it, but there are a whole lotta lies.

Regarding the speaker’s comments on bias by creationists, I could quote numerous evolutionists who state the same thing regarding evolutionary theory and materialism –thus indicating their bias.

I’m calling your bluff. I know creationism depends on the logical fallacy of out-of-context quote-mining, and I can look up the original context of any quote you give me. Only once was I unable to find and thus disprove a creationist’s mined quotation. That was one from Richard Leakey. So I wrote to him to ask about it, and he replied, “The Creationist movement is lead by a dishonest bunch of operators and misquotation is the hall mark of their work. Responding to them is time wasting and a letter would not be adequate to put your questions to rest. There are some things best ignored and the stupidity of these so called religious fanatics continues to astonish me.”  So if you want to list your quotes, go ahead, and we’ll look up the original work to see what these scientists really said. But it won’t be promoting bias, which is what religion is and does.

I’ll differentiate between laboratory “science” and historical science – which cannot be repeated or observed.

In my book, I mentioned one or two example experiments (like the nylon-eating bug mutation) where history was effectively repeated and directly observed in the lab.

For laboratory science, it is reasonable to assume only naturalistic causality in the lab (ie. When we add x to y, it causes z to happen).  This is consistent with what we can observe in the world today, where gravity, atmospheric pressure, etc. is known and consistent.

However, when looking at unobservable history – especially where naturalism doesn’t offer a sufficient explanation for life itself or the complexity and variation we see – to only consider naturalistic causes.  This seems to be committing the same “sin” you accuse the creationists of.

Unlike you, I do not distinguish between laboratory science and historical science, because I know that evidence can still indicate what has happened in the past.

carhood

Supernaturalism can never provide a sufficient explanation of anything. There is never an instance where we can blame anything on the supernatural. Once we found the real reason behind anything that was once attributed to miracles, curses or omens, witchcraft or demonic possession, it always turned out to be a revelation of whole new fields of study previously unimagined and vastly more complex than the simple excuses we were told before. In each of these cases, the supernatural explanation was already wrong before the natural explanation was known. So you should never resort to the god-of-the-gaps fallacy that anything science can’t explain is explained by magic, because that doesn’t explain it either. If you call it a miracle, it means you don’t know what it really is. Goddidit is not an explanation of anything, and it never was. Science can only ever work with natural explanations, not because of any unfair prejudice, but because natural explanations are the only ones that can be tested. This applies to what you call historical science too, and I can give several examples to demonstrate that.

A great case in point here is DNA.  Based on what we now know about the genome, it is vastly more sophisticated in its programming instructions than anything man’s intelligent brain has created.  This is EXACTLY what creationists would expect and predict from an infinitely knowledgeable God, and it doesn’t match up at all to blind naturalism acting randomly with no intelligence applied.  First year programming classes in college teach that programming tools and languages seek to remove randomness from the process of software programming – not use it as a creative tool.  To ONLY consider naturalistic causes for the vast complexity of information management we observe in DNA  seems to engage in the exact bias you accuse creationists of.

Let’s use your example as my example.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRsN7w7iW08[/youtube]

At Skepticon IV in Columbia, Missouri, Dr P. Z. Myers, associate Professor of biology at the University of Minnesota–Morris, set out to disprove the following creationist claim put forth by Stephen Myer of the Discovery Institute,

Thus, far from being dispersed sparsely, haphazardly, and inefficiently
within a sea of nonfunctional sequences (one that supposedly accumulated
by mutation) functional genetic information is densely concentrated in
the DNA molecule. . . . Far from containing a preponderance of ‘junk’—
nonprotein-coding regions that supposedly perform no function—the
genome is dominated by sequences rich in functional information.

P. Z. confirmed that some simple plants have way more genes than humans have, and that the human genome has only 20,000 genes among 3 billion base pairs in the total genome. Of that, he said that only 1.5% of our genome is coding DNA while another 3% is regulatory. If we include all other categories of functional DNA, including ribosomal, transfer, and microRNA genes, it still amounts to only 5% of the total genome. P. Z. then explained how another 10% of the genome is essentially random gibberish created by a buggy enzymatic process. 21% is parasitic viral copies and 13% is copies of copies, while 8% of the genome was made by endogenous retroviruses. This is when a virus inserts its own DNA into a gamete cell, which is inherited by all the descendants of that organism. So the summary is that only 5% of the human genome is functional DNA, 10% is structural DNA, and 45% is known to be useless parasitic DNA. The remaining 40% he described as “job security for molecular biologists,” because it isn’t all yet understood. But he added that some of that remaining percentage is already known to be pseudogenes, genes that can’t have been intelligently designed because they don’t work.

Finally, P.Z. referred to two dueling predictions made by another creationist, William Dembski of the Discovery Institute:

Thus on an evolutionary view we expect a lot of useless DNA. If, on the
other hand, organisms are designed, we expect DNA, as much as possible,
to exhibit function.

P. Z. had clearly shown that only the first prediction was correct, thus disproving creationism.

Being unnecessarily convoluted is obviously no indication of intelligent design. With no designer evidently involved, natural selection weeds out detrimental mutations and selects for beneficial mutations, but the neutral ones, having neither cost nor ill effect may freely accumulate as “junk.”

So this is one more example of many I could show that turned out to be not at all what creationists predicted or expected. DNA is not the sophisticated programming you thought it was, and obviously could not have been conjured by any spell cast by some disembodied mind. None of that is even possible. Instead, like everything else, this is completely consistent with “naturalism” meaning that we never have to throw up our hands, much less blame anything on magic.

If I get a reply, I will post it here and link it to this one.

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