The Twitter Creationist Time Machine! [Pharyngula]

It’s reassuring to know that it’s not just other atheists who hate me, but that I also still piss off the creationists. In addition to the mob of atheist dudebros howling at my door, there has been a recent resurgence of creationist loonietarianism in my email. It seems to have been triggered by a Seventh Day Adventist pastor, Doug Batchelor.

SDAs are really among the battiest of the batty; their young earth creationism isn’t simply a product of ignorance and gullibility, but is literally enforced doctrine. They had a nineteenth century prophetess, Ellen White, who insisted that she had seen in a vision that God created the whole world in precisely six days, six thousand years ago, and therefore you must believe it (SDA PDF). Would Ellen White lie, or be deluded?

By the way, if you want to drive a non-SDA creationist nuts, just point out to them that their literal creationism is derived in a clear and unambiguous historical lineage from Ellen White, by way of George McCready Price, into the 1961 book The Genesis Flood, and that their creationist views are therefore simply the doctrine of a heretical Christian sect that they probably despise.

Anyway, Batchelor sent me a link that would refute evolution.

Evolution fails the science test.

It was weird. First thing: it’s written by an SDA minister, Joe Crews, who died in 1994…so you can guess it’s already a lot out of date. And then, reading it, it consists largely of quote mining a lot of scientists. These scientists:

Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)

George Wald (1906-1997)

Charles Eugene Guye (1866-1942)

Julian Huxley (1887-1975)

Ernst Mayr (1904-2005)

George Gaylord Simpson (1902-1984)

Daniel Axelrod (1910-1998)

Austin Clark (1880-1954)

Marshall Kay (1904-1975)

Edwin Colbert (1905-2001)

Notice the dates? They’re all as dead as the author. Most of the cited quotes are from the 1950s or earlier, so they predate modern molecular biology and genetics. So this is already like kicking a corpse — it’s a collection of creationist misconceptions, and they’re also really old. This corpse isn’t just dead, it’s decayed. I’m not even pushing around bones, but just sweeping up dust in a coffin.

I’m just going to zip through his major points really fast, because the 1950s were a rather ugly era, and I don’t want to hang around there. Seriously, I was born then, and I spent the whole last bit of the decade squalling and crying and pooping my diaper, so get me outta there.

Louis Pasteur disproved spontaneous generation, therefore life could not have ever come from non-life. Nope. If you’re going to play logic games and insist that every statement has to be universally and eternally true, then realize this: we all know that it can’t have always been true. There had to be a time when non-life transformed into life. Creationists think it was a magic, instantaneous zot from God; rational people think it was a gradual process of chemistry and ancient geochemical conditions spanning a hundred million years or more, and point to the evidence of Earth’s changing chemistry about 4 billion years ago. To people who think the earth is only 6,000 years old. It’s kind of futile, isn’t it?

Life is too improbable to have ever evolved. Creationists don’t understand math. Ian Musgrave explained this well several years ago.

Mutations can’t have a positive effect. Oh, yeah? Here’s a list. I also have to point out some of the unintentionally funny things creationists say:

Every species has its own particular number of chromosomes that contain the genes. Within every human being are 46 chromosomes containing an estimated 100,000 genes, each one of which is able to affect in some way the size, color, texture, or quality of the individual.

The number is way off — it’s about 20,000 genes — but I was most amused by the reduction of what genes do to that peculiar list. So it’s kind of like buying a carpet, I guess.

No transitional fossils. Oh, please. Nowadays all you have to do is go to wikipedia.

The pre-Cambrian strata are completely devoid of fossils. Wasn’t I writing about pre-Cambrian fossils just yesterday? What about the Ediacaran fauna?

Uniformitarianism doesn’t apply, because oil isn’t being formed right now. All oil deposits were created in the Flood. But peat, coal, and oil are forming today — it’s just slow, and requires millions of years to accumulate appreciable amounts.

Crews doesn’t understand natural selection. This part is just incoherent.

“Natural selection” is a coined phrase of the evolutionist to describe the survival of the fittest. Simply stated, it is the natural process that enables the strongest of each generation to survive and the weaker, more poorly adjusted ones to die out. The assumption of evolution is that since only the strongest survive to father the next generation, the species will gradually improve, even advancing into other more highly developed states on the evolutionary scale.

A few points: “survival of the fittest” is the pop sci term coined by Herbert Spencer; Darwin didn’t care much for it, neither do I. But basically Crews has the etymology completely backwards. Evolution proposes not that species gradually “improve”, or climb some evolutionary scale, but that they become better adapted to local conditions, driving diversification.

What can I say? This was a most pathetic sally. Creationists, try to do better. At least challenge me with quotes that aren’t 50 to 100 years old, OK?