Sunday, December 26, 2010

God's Quality Control 3.19

Here I continue my review of the discussion guide published by the Prestonwood Christian Academy as a companion to the Hitchens-Dembski debate on November 18, 2010. In this video we're still working our way through the "Student Questions" section that is geared toward younger students, which presumably means kids as young as 12 or 13 years old. Today's honorary author will be Ms Cheryl Burns, Prestonwood's Director of Learning Lab. I invite you to share this video with Ms Burns, on behalf of all those kids who are being deliberately misled for the sake of filling Ms Burns' pockets. Please join me in telling these people that their predations on children are unacceptable.
  • p.26 "Evolution puts forth the concept that a fish became a lizard which became a dog which became a monkey which became a man." This is a lie. No sane person has ever claimed that a fish became a lizard, or any of these other preposterous claims. The fossil record clearly shows us that the descendants of some fish were slightly, just slightly more like amphibians than others. These slight characteristics in one way or another gave these descendants a slightly better chance of producing more offspring than those descendants who lacked these characteristics. Some of the descendants (but almost never the immediate children) of these slightly more amphibianesque creatures were yet slightly more amphibianesque themselves. When this happens thousands of times, you end up with offspring that are amphibians. No one is saying that a particular animal, say, Fred the fish, was transfigured into Larry the lizard. Perhaps superstitionists are confused about evolutionary theory because of that silly transfiguration story in the bible. Folks, it doesn't happen that way.
  • p.26 "Science has never been able to demonstrate that one species can change and become another." This is a lie. Watch this two-minute video on YouTube. Brace yourself, it's Richard Dawkins, and I know that a lot of you guys think that Dawkins is the Antichrist. But if he's lying, you'll be able to know, right? You'll have facts that prove him wrong, not to mention guidance from the Holy Spirit, right?
  • p.26 "There are no “transitional” fossils that demonstrate the “in between” of two different species." This is a lie. There are transitional fossils all over the place. Seriously, all over the place, and more are being found all the time. That Dawkins video is a perfect example of transitions of microscopic life forms, but it happens in plants and animals as well. Go get the book "Why Evolution Is True," which, although terribly named, is an excellent book. Also note that it cost me $16, about a third what you paid for the debate discussion guide, if you ordered the hardcopy. What did I get for my $16? A properly researched, well written, 230-page book by a professional evolutionary biologist, edited by professional editors, with 13 pages of citations that refer to the work of other professional scientists, and no advertisements. What can you learn about transitional fossils from just a quick scan of this single book? That there are indeed transitional fossils between wasps and ants, between legged reptiles and snakes, between fish and amphibians, between reptiles and birds, between reptiles and mammals, between land animals and whales, and of course, between non-human apes and human apes. In case anyone is wondering, the book should have been named "How We Know Evolution Is True," not "Why Evolution Is True." But publishers have their reasons, I'm sure.
  • p.26 Oh no, another "Just because 'A'" statement: "Just because an organism is altered in some manner, that wouldn’t necessarily be passed down the lineage unless the DNA of that organism was altered." This is an abuse of the English language, and even when we fix the wording it's still just a stupid statement. I'll put it this way, and you guys let me know if you find this to be an inaccurate paraphrase: an organism's characteristics are passed to its offspring only via the organism's DNA and not by any other mechanism. I think that's fair. And it's a stupid thing to say. Of course, it's perfectly true, but it in no way represents a flaw in evolutionary theory; in fact, it's one of the fundamental principles of the theory: characteristics that are a result of DNA are passed on to offspring via DNA. These guys are shooting down their own argument. Of course, you can't tell that they're doing so unless you can read as well as a 12-year-old kid.
  • p.26 "When an organism is altered by mutation, those differences tend to die out quickly and are not passed on to future generations of that species." Another perfectly true statement that is a fundamental principle of evolutionary theory. As Richard Dawkins clearly states in many of his books, the vast majority of mutations will be deleterious. Or, there are far more ways to be dead than to be alive. But there will be occasional mutations that just happen to be helpful, and over billions of years, there will be countless such mutations.
  • p.26 "The Bible account of creation states" that Yahweh created all the animals. Who wrote the bible? Some people will want to say that Yahweh did, but everyone knows that the actual writing down was done by humans. Superstitious, ignorant, biased humans. Who wrote the four-billion-year record we find in the rocks? If it was Yahweh, then it's a deliberate deception, which says a lot about Yahweh's character. If it was no one, but instead the history we read is just a result of natural processes, why would we ignore it? Why would we give it less credence than the bible?
That's 3.19. Thanks for watching.

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