[Note: I know this is a canned quote; I’ve seen it before. Given some of the spelling errors and what appeared to be a “real” e-mail address, I figured I would write a response and see if the person who copied/pasted their argument had anything to say.]
It’s good to keep in shape, even if doing so requires engaging in repetitive exercises. That’s why I’m taking some time to reply to an old creationist canard brought to us by
viewers like you a commenter named “Jim.” Apparently Jim finds much of what I wrote in my post “Evolution Survey Nonsense” to be contestable, and in order to “put me in my place” offers up a Hovind-esque challenge.
[Jim’s assertions appear in b-quote form, my responses in the regular fashion]
No default, just common sense.
For those unfamiliar with the initial post, I hypothesized that there are many people who simply do not understand evolution and don’t care to look into it further, so when asked “origins” questions they simply say whatever seems to be in line with their religious beliefs (or lack thereof), being a creationist or “evolutionist” by default. In fact, just because someone answers that they “believe” in evolution doesn’t mean they understand it, and I would say if anyone says they “believe” in evolution I think it’s fairly clear that they’re not very familiar with evolution at all.
Be that as it may, I get worried when I hear people use the term “common sense,” especially when it involves scientific issues. “Common sense” is exactly that; what a group of people “sense” to be common or shared understanding, and this is often more intuitive than anything else. Alexander Hamilton may not have actually said it, but if “the masses are asses” then they can claim something is true because of “common sense” all they like, but it doesn’t make their claims any more accurate. Common sense is intuitive, in that it can be generated if enough people agree with you and it requires no thought, study, or outside knowledge, and so old wives’ tales (i.e. chocolate causes acne) continue on despite the fact that they’ve been shown to be false.
If evolutionists want to end the arguments all they have to do is, get their brilliant heads together and assemble a ’simple’ living cell. This should be possible, since they certainly have a very great amount of knowledge about what is inside the ’simple’ cell.
Yikes; the condescension here is a little blatant, is it not? Obviously Jim is being sarcastic about the “simple” cell; we know cells are very complex, not merely just empty membranes. Could he be looking for a concession, then, waiting to say “Aha! So you agree that cells are complex!” Perhaps, but this doesn’t do anything to refute evolution. Indeed, just because modern cells can be called complex does not mean that the first life on earth was anything like what is present cells, and the earliest self-replicating molecules and cells were likely far less complex than their modern descendants. Likewise, although we’ve learned much about the cell I don’t know of anyone who would claim that we’ve discovered everything there is to know about the cells, and the idea that we’ve hit the limit of what we can discover about cells is hardly scientific.
After all, shouldn’t all the combined Intelligence of all the worlds scientist be able the do what chance encounters with random chemicals, without a set of instructions, accomplished about 4 billion years ago,according to the evolutionists, having no intelligence at all available to help them along in their quest to become a living entity. Surely then the evolutionists scientists today should be able to make us a ’simple’ cell.
This is an incredibly silly argument; by this logic I am inferior to a honeybee because I cannot generate the sweet substance on my own while the honeybee, who doesn’t have any blueprints to work with, can. Plus, just because you get “all the worlds scientist[s]” together in one place doesn’t mean that their minds will form a collective intelligence that would rival or surpass God’s and unravel the great mysteries of the universe; in fact they’re probably lots of fighting, broken lab equipment. This is just another sneering challenge that gets us nowhere.
If it weren’t so pitiful it would be humorous, that intelligent people have swallowed the evolution mythology.
Yes Jim, I picked the blue pill and have been a rabid evolutionist ever since. The public schools brainwashed me and because I didn’t say “under God” during the Pledge of Allegiance, I became easily indoctrinated in the atheist religion of Darwinism. If only there had been prayer in schools, I could have been saved… In truth, Jim, I can tell that you aren’t familiar with my writing at all, so I would suggest that you actually crack open a book or learn something about who you’re talking to before taking pity on us poor sinners.
Beyond doubt, the main reason people believe in evolution is that sources they admire, say it is so. It would pay for these people to do a thorough examination of all the evidence CONTRARY to evolution that is readily available: Try answersingenesis.org. The evolutionists should honestly examine the SUPPOSED evidence ‘FOR’ evolution for THEMSELVES.
How enlightening; I didn’t know I was an intellectual puppet of Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, Carl Sagan, etc. I guess the only way to become a “real boy” would be to visit Ham’s crackhouse and get my frontal lobotomy. I’ve spent plenty of time and money learning about just what creationists believe via their own sources, and I visit answersingenesis nearly every day to see what half-cocked nonsense they’re regurgitating for their supporters. If Jim were to have a look at my bookshelf, he’d see the top rows consisting of my favorite books about evolution and paleontology, with the bottom row made up almost entirely of Ken Ham, Duane Gish, and John Sarfati rags. I was even signed up for the Creation Research Society Quarterly “journal” by a creationist acquaintance of mine so I could keep up with the latest ideas coming out of the organization.
Of course, this question has to be turned around to you, Jim. How many books on evolution have you read? (If they came from the Discovery Institute, AiG, ICR, CRS, or any other creationist source, it doesn’t count) I don’t expect you to have waded through Valentine’s On the Origin of Phyla of Gould’s The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, but I would at least hope that you’ve read Sean Carroll’s Endless Forms Most Beautiful and Dawkins’ The Ancestor’s Tale. I’m tired of creationists whining that scientists aren’t listening to them; we are, and we hear everything you’re saying loud and clear. Just because a creationist claims that radioactivity is a physical manifestation of God’s anger doesn’t mean we have to accept it, however, and I honestly don’t see creationists putting much effort into keeping up with all the different fields that contribute to the understanding of biological evolution.
Build us a cell, from scratch, with the required raw material, that is with NO cell material, just the ‘raw’ stuff, and the argument is over. But if the scientists are unsuccessful, perhaps they should try Mother Earth’s recipe, you know, the one they claim worked the first time about 4 billion years ago, so they say. All they need to do is to gather all the chemicals that we know are essential for life, pour them into a large clay pot and stir vigorously for a few billion years, and Walla, LIFE!
First of all, it’s “Voilà!”, not “Walla.” I had addressed this earlier, but whether or not x number of scientists can create a “simple” cell in a lab does not prove or disprove evolution or an old earth; all it would prove is that under x conditions, x products were formed, giving us some substantial clues as to how it could have happened on earth. We still have much to learn about the conditions of the early earth, so at this point even if we could create life in a test tube, we wouldn’t yet know whether life originated in the same manner or not. And that’s ok; scientists are fine with saying “I don’t know right now” and working towards finding a solution. Some problems may cause a lack of sleep from time to time, but if scientists were to glom on to any one hypothesis and say “this has to be true and is always true” then it would be more of a religion than inquiry about nature. Let me say this, however; evolution does not fall into the category of hypothesis, and it even bridges beyond the borders of “theory.” Biological evolution is as certainty, but it is made up of many intertwining and corroborating theories and pieces of evidence. We simply cannot ignore the plain fact that organisms on this planet have been evolving ever since the first life form appeared, and whether or not scientists can create similar life in a lab does not do away with all that we have come to understand about the age of the earth and the history of life on Earth. Explanations for how evolution has occurred will continue to be formulated and change (undergoing their own kind of evolution in the process), but there is too much evidence to treat evolution as if it were a pipe dream.
Oh, you don’t believe the ‘original’ Mother Earth recipe will work? You are NOT alone, Neither do I, and MILLIONS of others!
Is he talking to me? Hmm, maybe part of another e-mail got tacked on here. I guess the MILLIONS of creationists is supposed to seem threatening or impressive given that it’s in caps (the letters drawing themselves up to their full height in a threat display, it would seem), but if creationism is based on “common sense” I’ll gladly leave it to fester and rot. Consensus among MILLIONS of unspecified people based on intuition of theological preference in a limp attempt at solidarity doesn’t prove or disprove anything, other than it seems that this particular commenter likes to make assertions without providing any evidence. Most of my regular readers will require no further instruction on this matter, but in case you desire further illumination on abiogenesis and my personal study of creationism, here are a few links to get you started.
Talk Origins: Abiogenesis is speculation?
Talk Origins: Evolution without abiogenesis
Talk Origins: Why no abiogenesis today?
Talk Origins: Origin of the first cells
Talk Origins: Complex “simple” life
Talk Origins: Probability of abiogenesis
Past run-ins with creationists:
So geochronologists are really measuring God’s anger?
Countering Creationism, Part I
Countering Creationism, Pt. II; “Zinj”
Countering Creationism, Part III; Tale of a T. rex
Countering Creationism, Part IV: Carl Sagan & Development
The Dragons of Eden (Creation Museum Carnival Entry)
Responding to Bob
Painful and Purple Prose: Omphalos
Overwhelming Annoyance 3: Revenge of the Baramin
or just click the “creationism” tag if you want more.