Friday, 13 February 2009

It's Darwin's Birthday: Edmontonians Show their Ignorance (Part II)

Continuing from my last post, we have a letter from one Peggy Heather of Edmonton:

"Re: “Evolution, creationism debate still simmers; Iconic naturalist would be amazed at the controversy over his ideas,” The Journal, Feb. 7.

Religious beliefs aside, one would be hard pressed to believe in evolution. The fossil record does not support it and the mathematical improbabilities of us evolving out of nothing are staggering.

Chris Eckert, an evolutionary biologist at Queen's University, is correct in saying that there are numerous species, but that in itself does not point to evolution. That’s happened thanks to the marvellous DNA in all living things, which allows for numerous variations, as any dog breeder can testify. This can be called microevolution. However, a dog will still only produce a dog, no matter how you tweak it. If you really stop to think about it, if for example birds evolved from dinosaurs, how did the intermediate creature survive for several million years with legs that are now useless but which are not quite wings yet either? He’d be a sitting duck for predators.

Apes can mimic a few words taught by trainers in response to rewards, but lack the throat and brain structure necessary for speech, vocabulary and grammar. One can go on and on why macroevolution is impossible, but evolutionists keep insisting on reviving a dead horse.

Peggy Heather, Edmonton"

While not nearly as long as Hendrickson's nigh-on-incoherent babbling, Peggy no less piles on the stupid.

First of all, the fossil record DOES support evolution. In every way, shape, and form does the fossil record support evolution. To doubt this shows you know nothing of evolution nor the fossil record. What does the fossil record show? It shows us the gradual progression of life from simple organisms to more complex organisms over the period of millions upon millions upon millions of years. It shows us early forms of body patterns familiar to us and it shows these patterns changing over time to become what we see today. It shows the beginning of different families of organisms and the ends of other families. All of these things are predicted by evolution. There is not a single aspect of the fossil record that does not support evolution, and if you claim otherwise, then you are either ignorant or lying.

Secondly, the mathematical improbabilities of us evolving "out of nothing" matter very little. The improbability of winning the lottery is staggering, yet someone always wins. Improbable does not imply impossible. Even if the chances of life evolving were one in one hundred billion trillion, the fact is, it happened. A lot of these arguments about the probability of life evolving are terribly fallacious: they scrape together large numbers they assign arbitrarily and output a large number that generally means nothing. People look at the large number and think "wow, that number is too large for me to grasp. I cannot argue against such a big number. I guess the conclusions drawn from this big number must be right." Dangle a few dozen zeros after the 1 in front of people and you're bound to get someone who believes you, no matter how asinine your argument.

Peggy follows this up by outright accepting microevolution. But what keeps her from accepting macroevolution? What is the barrier that prevent macroevolution while allowing microevolution? She doesn't say! Perhaps this is because there simply ISN'T one. Macroevolution is what happens when microevolution continues for long periods of time. Sure, a dog still produces a dog over the course of a few centuries, but give it a few million years of microevolution and what you're left is not going to be anything like a dog. She asks regarding the dinosaur-to-bird transition: "how did the intermediate creature survive for several million years with legs that are now useless but which are not quite wings yet either?" What makes her think that legs became useless once wings began to evolve? I wonder how she explains the birds perching on the branch outside her window if she thinks having wings means legs are now useless. She obviously does not understand how evolution works in the least.

She then talks about apes lacking the necessary anatomy and brain functions for proper speech, yet can mimic words taught by trainers in response for rewards. What better evidence is there for evolution? Other primates cannot speak like us, yet still have the capacity to learn speech. How else could one explain this except in light of evolution?

I think that someone should tell Peggy that "macroevolution" is not a dead hose by any means. Evolution is stronger than ever before. Every day that goes by, we find more and more evidence for evolution. There is no single scientific principal that is more strongly supported than evolution.

Hopefully tomorrow's edition of the Journal will contain some pro-Darwin rebuttals to today's display of idiocy, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

1 comment:

Ian said...

This is when its up to you to write a few counter letters in. Be prepared for any rhetoric you write to be edited down though. But on all chances you'll be published, I've already had 3-4 letters in the Journal/Herald.