A few weeks back, I saw a link on the wonderful Pharyngula site about an outfit called Good News Magazine. Apparently they are advertisers on the equally wonderful ScienceBlogs.com, which is good only if they pay their bills promptly.
So I ordered a copy of the free booklet they offered, Creation or Evolution, and it just arrived today. And it’s been no disappointment thus far. It begins with how the Bible was once “commonly accepted as true and as a reliable account of our origins.” Whatever. Not really so, but whatever. It follows with a lengthy quote from Wernher von Braun about his views on the origin of the universe. Basically he’s there because he believes “one cannot be exposed to the law and order of the universe without concluding that there must be design and purpose behind it all.” He’s introduced as one “who has been called the father of the American space program.” Which immediately qualifies him as having a viewpoint in this discussion, apparently. We leave out the other less savory aspects of his curriculum vitae (look him up, please, if you don’t know who he is. I’ll wait.) and go straight to the end of this generous quote: “What strange rationale makes some physicists accept the inconceivable electron as real while refusing to accept the reality of a Designer on the ground that they cannot conceive of Him?”
Static electricity when you pull on a wool sweater would be my first guess.
Even better than that is the picture of the cute little baby nestled beside the von Braun quote. Below this little darling playing with his/her feet like a blue-eyed monkey is a fascinating quote, “If we are the pinnacle of the evolutionary process, why is a human infant so helpless, and for so long, compared to the newborn of other species?” Well, who said we were the pinnacle of the evolutionary process? Science sure doesn’t. Nor does a cursory examination of human anatomy, really. Humans are admittedly complex, but hardly the pinnacle of evolution.
Aaah. Anyway, we get to another cute section, “Human reproduction argues against evolution.” It starts, “Curiously enough, our existence as human beings is one of the best arguments against it [evolution]. According to evolutionary theory, the traits that offer the best advantage for survival are passed from generation to generation. Yet human reproduction itself argues powerfully against this fundamental premise of evolution.
“If human beings are the pinnacle of the evolutionary process [there it is again!] how is it that we have the disadvantage of requiring a member of the opposite sex to reproduce, when lower forms of life–such as bacteria, viruses and protozoa–are sexless and far more prolific? If they can reproduce by far simpler methods, why can’t we? If evolution is true, what went wrong?”
Oh that’s too funny, that last sentence. Again, they proceed from a false assumption. Well, several. One, there is the assumption that humans are the pinnacle of evolution. As above, a cursory examination of our anatomy is a good place to start. We’re not the pinnacle of evolution. There’s no ladder up from lowest to highest. We’re complex, and like most all complex forms of life, we have sexual reproduction. It’s a much quicker way to create diversity in an environment, and thus perpetuate the species and the evolutionary process.
It goes on to blame evolution (of course) for all the ills of the world, and how “court decisions have interpreted constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion as freedom from religion–effectively banning public expression of religious beliefs and denying the country’s rich religious heritage.” (their emphasis, by the way…) Now here, of course, you can talk about how the courts have kept creation out of science class, or tried to keep religious symbols out of public places (with unfortunately varying success. I submit, by the way, that what these people are talking about is not just those fights, but something a little more subtle. Hate speech.
They talk about the notion that “the world languishes in the sorrow and suffering that results from rejecting absolute moral standards.” Absolute anything is never a good thing. It’s that all-or-nothing thinking that twelve-step programs describe as unhealthy. “We might as well seek only our personal gain regardless of the cost to others–acting exactly as evolutionary theory suggests.” Does it really suggest that? Or, more accurately, does it describe how you would act without such rules? If so, let me know so I can keep kids and old ladies from coming near you.
There’s other stuff, all wonderful. A gold mine of lunacy dressed in serious clothing. It would perhaps be convincing to someone who never spent a day in the classroom. Or out in nature.
I just wanted to pass this on in any case. I’ll do more, but I wait for the view of others who will gaze upon this goofy thing and pass on their viewpoints. A lot of what I’ve seen so far is disproven elsewhere, or betrays a tremendous lack of understanding of science, natural selection and evolution.