Monday, October 19, 2009

Laura Carder's Letter to the Spokesman

On Sunday October 18 Ms. Carder posted a letter in the Letters section of the Spokesman-Review titled Creation science is logical. I checked with Doug Floyd at the Spokesman to verify that it was actually posted by her and he said it was the real deal. Here's what she had to say:

"Creation science acknowledges a designer far more intelligent than we. Macro evolution (from one species to one more evolved such as Darwin's) is only a theory. It violates the law of biogenesis, among others. It is the atheists' way to explain origins without a creator. How could the complex DNA, the blueprint of the life form, among other examples, come about by billions of years of lucky chances? However, Micro evolution (within the species), or the "law of the jungle," is proven, therefore scientific.
Creation is not only about religion, it's logical. If you are pro-choice, surely you would allow each student to choose which theory to accept.

What she wrote is so ignorant on so many levels that I laughed and cried a little. How could any sane person wish to see Ms. Carder be in charge of anything that even remotely involved education. It's a joke, she's a joke.

Let's look at her arguments, the only nice part is that she's made the same ridiculous claims that most creationist and IDers make so this should only take me a minute.

She starts with usual "evolution is only a theory" argument. I see no reason to attack this one myself when the eminent Stephen Jay Gould said it pretty well to begin with:

"In the American vernacular, "theory" often means "imperfect fact"—part of a hierarchy of confidence running downhill from fact to theory to hypothesis to guess. Thus creationists can (and do) argue: evolution is "only" a theory, and intense debate now rages about many aspects of the theory. If evolution is less than a fact, and scientists can't even make up their minds about the theory, then what confidence can we have in it? Indeed, President Reagan echoed this argument before an evangelical group in Dallas when he said (in what I devoutly hope was campaign rhetoric): "Well, it is a theory. It is a scientific theory only, and it has in recent years been challenged in the world of science—that is, not believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was."

Well, evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other, yet to be discovered."

She then says that the theory of evolution contradicts the Law of Biogenesis. Biogenesis basically comes down to life can only come from life, in other words your computer can't turn into a dog. The problem with that is that evolution has nothing to do with life first forming. The fact is we don't know how life first came to be on this planet and evolution is not intended to explain that event. The theory of evolution by natural selection explains how simple cells or amino acids (or whatever was first here) evolved over billions of years into us and everything else we see around the planet.

Oh and she says it violates other Laws, but fails to mention what they are. Nothing like throwing out an argument without telling anyone what it is.

She says it's the atheist way of explaining origins without a creator. She's incorrect here because atheists (with the exception of the ignorant ones) don't try to explain how life first came about, because we don't know. Now if by origins she means how humans (and everything else) came to eventually inhabit the planet, then I would disagree again, because that's how anyone who has picked up a biology book in the past 150 years would explain how humans evolved without a creator.

She then goes into the usual irreducible complexity and how could this all have come about by chance argument. Firstly, evolution already explains the why and the how things are so complex and I'm going to leave it there. Secondly, the gene mutations that produce differences among species are by chance but natural selection which is the means of those genes being passed on or not is the antithesis of "chance".

She accepts natural selection (what she calls "law of the jungle").

She finishes by saying that we should just teach kids both evolution and creationism and let them decide for themselves. Which is great in philosophy or a political class, it seems a little dumb for a science class. Maybe we should have history professors teach their students about holocaust deniers and let the students make up their own minds. Or have geography teachers lecture students about flat-Earther's positions and let the students make up their own minds. The fact is that creationist "science" is no science at all and has no place in a science class room. All the evidence we have right now tells us that evolution is a fact. Until the IDers and creationists (or more likely a competent scientist) can come up with convincing evidence that the theory is false I see no reason that creationism should take up any more of our time.

Here's a link to the Spokesman so that you can read Ms. Carder's original letter.
Laura Carder's Letter

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