Category Archives: Creationist Drivel

Creationist Drivel – Weismann and Lamarck

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Over at the FFF, remnant continues with his or her mission to absolutely ruin whatever is left of the forum, aided and abetted by the incompetent owner – whose behaviour is equivalent to paying $18,000 for a well-maintained car and parking it in a lake . However, remnant’s sociopathic behaviour in mindlessly pasting repeated snippets from the Institute of Creation Research doesn’t extend to finishing off his or her posts from the Vance Ferrell’s Evolution Handbook. I’ll have to conclude this series without remnant’s prompting.

Ferrell continues:

It is a remarkable fact that the basis of evolutionary theory was destroyed by seven scientific research findings,—before *Charles Darwin first published the theory…

August Friedrich Leopold Weismann (1834-1914) was a German biologist who disproved *Lamarck’s notion of “the inheritance of acquired characteristics.” He is primarily remembered as the scientist who cut off the tails of 901 young white mice in 19 successive generations, yet each new generation was born with a full-length tail. The final generation, he reported, had tails as long as those originally measured on the first. Weismann also carried out other experiments that buttressed his refutation of Lamarckism. His discoveries, along with the fact that circumcision of Jewish males for 4,000 years had not affected the foreskin, doomed the theory (*Jean Rostand, Orion Book of Evolution, 1960, p. 64). Yet Lamarckism continues today as the disguised basis of evolutionary biology. For example, evolutionists still teach that giraffes kept stretching their necks to reach higher branches, so their necks became longer! In a later book, *Darwin abandoned natural selection as unworkable, and returned to Lamarckism as the cause of the never-observed change from one species to another (*Randall Hedtke, The Secret of the Sixth Edition, 1984).

The Evolution Handbook is a remarkably poor piece of writing throughout, if is anything like a fair representation, and, as the website is based directly on Ferrell’s work, it probably is. Yet the paragraph above is abysmal even by Ferrell’s standards. The only part that is correct is that Lamarckism (the passing on of characteristics acquired during life) has been disproved. Even if it was true that Darwin abandoned natural selection and embraced Lamarckism, this wouldn’t mean that modern evolutionary biology was based upon Darwin’s later thoughts. We have a good idea what Weismann thought as he wrote a book entitled Über die Berechtigung der Darwin’schen Theorie (On the justification of the Darwinian theory). According to Ferrell’s logic, therefore, Weismann denied Darwinism while supporting something else that he called Darwinian theory, which today we would call natural selection. Of course, Ferrell neglects to remark upon Weismann’s own thoughts on evolution, whereas normally he never loses an opportunity to poison the well by ensuring that people’s beliefs in other areas are given a mention. (Linnaeus was an “earnest creationist”, Wallace a “spiritist”). Continue reading

Creationist Drivel – Pasteur

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In the time since my last related post, remnant has been stinking up the Fundamental Forums a treat. His (or more likely, her) tactic has been to copy articles from the Institute of Creation Research and paste them all over the place, such that more than half of all posts were taken up with this.

One thing, however, that remnant hasn’t done, is to complete the series of posts from the Vance Ferrell’s Evolution Handbook. So I’ll just have to go on without any further input from remnant.

Ferrell continues, in his own inimitable style:

It is a remarkable fact that the basis of evolutionary theory was destroyed by seven scientific research findings,—before *Charles Darwin first published the theory…

Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) was another genuine scientist. In the process of studying fermentation, he performed his famous 1861 experiment, in which he disproved the theory of spontaneous generation. Life cannot arise from non-living materials. This experiment was very important; for, up to that time, a majority of scientists believed in spontaneous generation. (They thought that if a pile of old clothes were left in a corner, it would breed mice! The proof was that, upon later returning to the clothes, mice would frequently be found there.) Pasteur concluded from his experiment that only God could create living creatures. But modern evolutionary theory continues to be based on that out-dated theory disproved by Pasteur: spontaneous generation (life arises from non-life). Why? Because it is the only basis on which evolution could occur. As *Adams notes, “With spontaneous generation discredited [by Pasteur], biologists were left with no theory of the origin of life at all” (*J. Edison Adams, Plants: An Introduction to Modern Biology, 1967, p. 585).

Ferrell makes the sloppy error of claiming that an experiment from 1861 disproved a theory published in 1859 prior to publication. While this is not a central point, it is again indicative of Ferrell’s rigour, or lack of it. Unsurprisingly, Ferrell also confuses evolutionary theory (the process(es) by which species, over time, change), with abiogenesis. Continue reading

Creationist Drivel – Mendel

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I’m in danger of catching remnant up, so sparingly is he releasing his eagerly-awaited information.

Before I look at Gregor Mendel, just  couple of points:

Firstly, I discovered that the Evolution handbook author is one Vance Ferrell. In future I’ll refer to him by name. Ferrell is a prolific writer with a peculiar style. He is a creationist, but also has written in support of “natural remedies” and against innoculation, the evils of rock music, the “End Times” and curiously, the story of the Bounty.

Secondly, I thought some more about entropy. The Second Law of Thermodynamics has many applications but essentially states that with time, overall entropy will increase. Creationists have taken this to mean that there is a physical law that states that complexity will tend to decrease – albeit their interpretation is faulty. Now the reason that complexity increases, in the natural world, is that the Earth / solar system is not a closed system, and allows for local increases in complexity at the expense of a general increase in entropy. So non-creationists have a workable explanation. Not so the creationists. They are of the opinion that all physical and chemical laws are god-created, maintained and sanctioned, rather than a feature of physical universe. Therefore if they accept that God created the second law they must also accept that the second law doesn’t work, as on Earth there are many examples in which there is no tendency towards higher entropy – as Route_70 pointed out, embryology is one of them. Therefore God created a law that he broke and continues to break. How are we to even define a physical law in such circumstances? Continue reading

Creationist Drivel – What’s the date?

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remnant’s source continues:

It is a remarkable fact that the basis of evolutionary theory was destroyed by seven scientific research findings,—before Charles Darwin first published the theory…

Guadeloupe Woman Found (1812). This is a well-authenticated discovery which has been in the British Museum for over a century. A fully modern human skeleton was found in the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe inside an immense slab of limestone, dated by modern geologists at 28 million years old. (More examples could be cited.) Human beings, just like those living today (but sometimes larger), have been found in very deep levels of strata.

While it’s fair to say that details of human evolution are incomplete and subject to controversy, the scientific consensus at the moment suggests that the earliest hominids emerged around 15 million years ago, with the homo genus dating back to 2.5 million years and homo sapiens a mere 500,000 years. (See the wiki entry). A homo sapiens skeleton, or fragment of it, dating back 28 million years would certainly put a dent in this consensus, particularly when archaeological theories put the first human incursions into North America at a maximum 40,000 years and probably much less. Continue reading

Creationist drivel – entropy

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We haven’t seen much activity from remnant recently in his thread on the FFF about the famous old scientists who destroyed evolutionary theory before it was even thought of. I began to think that he’d given up. But happily he was back yesterday. He has a curious method: find an article from Answers in Genesis or the Institute for Creation Research or some other lunatic creationist website, and release the information a sentence at a time. I can only guess at his motive, but it seems that he’s trying to slowly reveal the information in such a way as to increase the anticipation of his readers. Or maybe he’s just trying to increase his post count by making twenty posts where one would do. All in all, more than a little bizarre.

What has always seemed even more strange to me is the general attitude that creationists, like the writer of the Evolution Handbook, have towards science. According to them, there are two types of scientific study:

  1. Scientific study that supports the idea of a god. This is called “good science” or some such term.
  2. Scientific study that doesn’t support the idea of a god. This is called “bad science” or some such term.

So whether science is “good” or “bad” depends on the relationship it has with a predetermined conclusion. And predetermined it is. As Answers in Genesis says in its Statement of Faith:

  • The scientific aspects of creation are important but are secondary in importance to the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ as Sovereign, Creator, Redeemer, and Judge.
  • The doctrines of Creator and Creation cannot ultimately be divorced from the gospel of Jesus Christ.

You’d think that they might as well give up on science altogether, if they’re going to pick and choose what science to believe. But as long as they can isolate the “good” from the “bad”, then science can be regarded as an ally. Obviously they can’t dispense with science altogether – for example, they have to rely on quantum mechanics to even publish their misleading worldview, and in any case,  the Bible, the Qur’an or any other foundational religious book unsurprisingly have nothing say about the existence or otherwise of sub-atomic particles. Continue reading

Creationist drivel – Thermodynamics

Having a little time, I thought I’d pass a few comments on remnant’s next supposed scientific disproof of evolution, although it’s a bit tricky, because remnant’s source doesn’t actually offer any.

First Law of Thermodynamics (1847). Heinrich von Helmholtz stated the law of conservation of energy: The sum total of all matter will always remain the same. This law refutes several aspects of evolutionary theory. *Isaac Asimov calls it “the most fundamental generalization about the universe that scientists have ever been able to make” (*Isaac Asimov, “In the Game of Energy and Thermodynamics You Can’t Even Break Even,” Journal of Smithsonian Institute, June 1970, p. 6).

“Evolution Handbook”

Obviously Asimov himself didn’t sympathise with the view that the law refuted “several aspects of evolutionary theory” because he was himself a non-believer and a committed supporter of evolutionary theory.

It looks like we’re not going to be told what the “several aspects of evolutionary theory” that have been refuted actually are. Pity. Continue reading

Creationist drivel – Linnaeus

I have two long posts in various degrees of completion. But taking on such big tasks is eluding me today, so I’ll make this the third entry in 24 hours.

The FFF doesn’t work any more. It’s tiresome to try to make sense of it, there are all sorts of malfunctions, and the owner doesn’t seem to have a clue. That’s one reason that I abandoned it. The other main reason is to do with content. I have noticed that it’s just not worth interacting with Christians any more because essentially they have nothing to say for themselves, and it doesn’t matter whether they’re the Neanderthal fundamentalists or the sophisticated theologians – essentially there’s no difference. It’s all drivel. And furthermore, the tricks  they get up to…

I began to think that an honest Christian is almost impossible to find, in their dealings with their critics. Christianity, especially creationism, is the land of straw men and straw-clutching, of deception, of pure invention. This isn’t to say that Christians are bad people, far from it. Nor am I saying that as a person I’m somehow better than they are. It’s easy to be an atheist – I don’t have to pretend that something exists that never shows up and I don’t have to make excuses for the writings of ignorant bronze-age tribesmen, so I’m not tempted into dishonesty.

But I still read the FFF, and its spin-offs, on most days, and I’m sorely tempted sometimes to try and put the record straight. But then the better angel of my nature sorts me out.

I would like, however, to occasionally make comments here about the drivel to be found on the FFF, safe in the knowledge that I can have some control. Continue reading