On Contemporary Anti-evolutionism

Old-time readers will remember I spent a lot of time and energy writing about contemporary anti-evolutionism, whether young earth creationism or its bastard offspring, intelligent design. Since 2010, I’ve largely lost interest in tilting at these particular windmills, primarily because life is too short and I realized that the tilting was futile in that the creationists were impervious to any reasonable argument. So, other than posting a few old book reviews, the topic of anti-evolutionism will be largely non-existent here (unless there is some egregious handling of the history of biology that I need to deal with!). Sorry to disappoint.


A YEC take on anthropogenic global warming

I was browsing Answers Research Journal today and noticed the following contribution by Rod J. Martin – “A Proposed Bible-Science Perspective on Global Warming.” The abstract – somewhat predictably – reads:

Media coverage of global warming has been increasing for over twenty years. Major proponents include the United Nations, politicians, environmentalists, and celebrities. Oddly, the church has had little to say on the issue and has made scant use of Scripture to evaluate the alleged problem. This paper will identify the major goals of global warming advocates, propose a biblical (young-earth creationist) framework for evaluating the issue, and highlight basic scientific data related to the alleged claims. It will be shown that the Bible provides sufficient counsel to enable Christians to evaluate the claims of global warming and arrive at a confident position that is in accord with real science. The contention that man’s activities are causing global warming, as described in the media and by its advocates, is a myth. There is no reason either biblically or scientifically to fear the exaggerated and misguided claims of catastrophe as a result of increasing levels of man-made carbon dioxide (CO2[sic]).

As an insight to the standards of ARJ, I’ll just note that that CO2 typo occurs throughout the article, as is O2, though in fairness, the PDF of the article has the correct subscripts.

Here’s the end of the paper:

Why there is no reason for alarm

  • O2 and CO2 in the atmosphere were created, they did not evolve.
  • Today’s atmosphere likely contains significantly less CO2 than before the Flood.
  • CO2 is necessary for life, and was created prior to plants and animals.
  • CO2 is not a pollutant.
  • Increasing levels of CO2 are beneficial for plants.
  • Decreasing levels of CO2 could be a serious problem.
  • Burning fossil fuels simply returns CO2 to the air, from which it originated, in the pre-Flood atmosphere. Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere does not reverse a billion year old evolutionary trend and upset the delicate balance of nature.
  • The present levels of oxygen in the air are adequate without any unusual efforts to plant trees or to further limit the forestry industry.
  • Plants were created as food for humans and animals. They are not necessary for storing carbon or for generating O2.
  • Glaciers have been retreating for thousands of years since the Flood. Most of the glacial melt occurred before man began burning fossil fuels.
  • Ice age glaciers melted due to cooling seas, not warming seas.
  • Climates have been constantly changing since the Flood. Consider all the major climate changes since the Flood and initiated by the Flood.
  • Plants, animals and mankind have been adapting to climate for thousands of years.
  • Recent global temperature histories are insufficient for developing reliable conclusions about trends or impending catastrophes.
  • Increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere will continue to improve crop production around the world, benefiting mankind.
  • Neither melting glaciers, increasing CO2, changing climates, nor earth’s surface temperature history are proof of global warming.
  • God is in control of history and the earth’s climates, not man.

I haven’t encountered Martin (an “independent researcher” in Santa Clarita CA) before and the googles are doing nothing. Any reader know anything about him?

Setting a new standard for creationist historical scholarship


Young earth creationist Kent Hovind received a “Ph.D.” in 1991 from Patriot Bible University, a diploma mill in Colorado (photo above). Unlike the situation with dissertations originating from accredited universities, Hovind has consistently refused to release his dissertation for public scrutiny. WikiLeaks has, however, obtained a copy and even the briefest perusal will show that the work doesn’t meet the standard for doctoral research … heck, I’ve failed undergraduates for writing like this!

Witness Hovind on Galileo:

In the early 1600’s, Galileo invented the telescope. He looked at the moon and noticed the rugged surface of the moon. He then said that the moon was not smooth like Aristotle said it was. Aristotle had said back in 400 B.C. that the moon was like a perfect smooth sphere, a crystal ball to reflect the sunlight. Galileo even published a book that stated that the moon was not smooth. Aristotle was also contradicted by Galileo on his theory of gravity. Aristotle had said that heavier objects fall faster than lighter objects. Galileo proved that to be wrong. In the mid 1600’s, Galileo, under penalty of death by the Catholic church, had to recant his awful heresy of teaching that the moon was not smooth. He had dared to suggest that the doctrine of Aristotle as taught by the church could be wrong! He wrote a second book to say that he was wrong and that the moon was perfectly smooth. The priests even refused to look through Galileo’s telescope because they said it was demon possessed. The hold to Aristotle’s philosophy on the minds of the people of that time was so strong that scientific progress was hindered. We face the same thing today. The faulty teaching of evolution is hindering scientific progress.

Bear in mind that this is being written by a 38 year old who had been teaching high school for fifteen years by this point. Note the extensive documentation, sophisticated sentence structure, and higher-order analysis that you see in doctoral dissertations.

Hovind on Darwin (chapter 1 of the dissertation is a history of evolution from Satan to modern times):

The next man we come to in tracing the history of evolution is a man by the name of Charles Darwin. Darwin was born in 1809 and died in 1882. He i.es most famous for two books that he authored. The second on was The Descent of Man. The frost one, and most famous, is The Origin of Species my Means of Natural Selection. This book also had a subtitle called “The Preservation of the Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.” He took a five year voyage in the 1830’s on the HMS Beagle. During that voyage, he read extensively Lyell’s book. This greatly influenced him to think that the earth was millions of years old. When he returned from his voyage, he was encouraged by Lyell to publish a book. Darwin wrote for many years, but never published the book. Lyell realized that a man named Wallace was going to beat Darwin to the punch in publishing such a book on evolution. Lyell encouraged Darwin to go ahead and publish his book. Darwin published it in 1859. The Industrial Revolution was well under way and people were looking for some way to justify the cruelty that accompanied this revolution. (Child labor, sweat houses, etc.) Darwin’s book was just what the world needed to justify the cruel ruthless tactics of the industrial revolution. Darwin had a theology degree. He became a deist, and later, very proudly an atheist. There are many stories of him repenting on his death bed, but there still is much confusion on the issue.

And that is everything you need to know about Darwin.

Random fact from the dissertation: Auguste Comte was an ardent “Darwinist” who “strongly promoted Darwin’s teachings”. This is all the more remarkable given the fact that Comte died two years before the publication of Origin.

Random fact from the dissertation: “Because of Wallace’s spiritist [sic], pantheist, and occultist teaching of evolution, he could  really be considered the father of the New Age movement. He lived in Malaysia for about eight years, and watched the spiritist rituals that those people performed. He developed many of his theories in that setting.” At least Hovind’s not claiming that Wallace was an ID proponent.

Random fact from the dissertation: “Racism started, or was very much enhanced by Darwin and Thomas Huxley.” *head explodes*

If you know even a small amount about the history of ideas, do read Hovind’s first chapter and stand in awe at his writings on Satan, the ancient Greeks, the Church fathers, Voltair (sic), Lamarck, Thomas Payne (sic), Erasmus Darwin, Lyell, Marx, Huxley, Haeckel, Freud, Rockefeller (sic) and Henry Fairfield Osbourne (sic). I’d love to have my undergraduate students produce an “Annotated Hovind” just to illustrate how creationists mangle history (and writing).

Update: Here is Karen Bartelt’s review of the thesis from 2000. It gives you a further flavor of the epicness of Hovind’s fail.

Update (01/07/10): PBU has issued a denial claiming that the leaked document is a “rough draft” of a dissertation “project” and not the final, completed dissertation. PBU also notes that “Patriot issues Bible degrees for the purpose of equipping students for ministry; Patriot is not a research institution.” Never has a truer word been spoken!

Todd Wood on Evolution (Pt 3)

Todd Wood’s latest statement on evolution:

That’s why I want my students to know the truth about evolution. It’s not bogus. It’s not a failure. There’s lots of evidence in its favor. But that just doesn’t make it true. Have faith in the risen Christ, and it will not matter what scientists tell you (or anyone else, for that matter).

See here.

Behe and Catholic YECs

Hugh Miller was a Scottish stonemason and popularizer of geology who wrote a number of excellent books in the 1800’s that argued against scriptural geologists and sought a truce between science and religion. You can read a little more about him here. There is a modern Hugh Miller who apparently is a “research chemist” (BS in chemistry) in Colombus OH who believes that “[l]ong before Answers in Genesis’s museum and its director Ken Ham were born major museums were aware that dinosaurs and man coexisted. He’s a Catholic young earther who has produced a paper that used radiocarbon dating on dinosaur remains:

RECENT C-14 DATING OF FOSSILS INCLUDING DINOSAUR BONE COLLAGEN. Are the results a confirmation of rapid formation of the geologic column as modern sedimentology studies have predicted?

The discovery of collagen in a Tyrannosaurus-rex dinosaur femur bone was recently reported in the journal Science. Its geologic location was the Hell Creek Formation in the State of Montana, United States of America. When it was learned in 2005 that Triceratops and Hadrosaur femur bones in excellent condition were discovered by the Glendive (MT) Dinosaur & Fossil Museum, Hugh Miller asked and received permission to saw them in half and collect samples for C-14 testing of any bone collagen that might be extracted. Indeed both bones contained collagen and conventional dates of 30,890 ± 380 radiocarbon years (RC) for the Triceratops and 23,170 ±170 RC years for the Hadrosaur were obtained using the Accelerated Mass Spectrometer (AMS). Total organic carbon and/or dinosaur bone bio-apatite was then extracted and pretreated to remove potential contaminants and concordant radiocarbon dates were obtained, all of which were similar to radiocarbon dates for megafauna.

Miller’s work is to appear in “the proceedings of an international conference on evolution” featuring Catholic scientists from Germany, Italy, US, Poland and France. Other papers in the volume titeld “Evolutionary Theory: A Critical Analysis” include:

  • The second law of thermodynamics excludes evolution
  • Experiments in stratification do not support evolution
  • Is radiometric dating reliable?
  • The concept of evolution in biology
  • Race formation and mutations do not constitute steps in evolution
  • Critical reflections of evolutionism as a scientific or pseudo-scientifc theory and as an atheist ideology
  • Philosophic-theological prerequisits of the evolution theory
  • The Negative Impact of the evolutionary hypothesis on scientific research.

There’s a summary of the meeting here but suffice it to say that it includes such folks as Guy Berthault and Maciej Giertych.

The real fun is that Behe is talking at another meeting with Miller and other YEC Catholics. I wonder if he will take the time to publicly set the YECs straight? Probably not.

Update (10/14): John Pieret has more details on Miller.

Todd Wood on Evolution (Pt 2)

Todd clarifies:

I believed (and still do) that what I wrote was quite clear and straightforward. Evolution is science, there is evidence for it, but I don’t believe it. I never said it was true. I also never said that all the evidence favors evolution, nor did I say there was no evidence of creation.

Read more here. He’s also got some links to other reactions.