Refutation of “Evolution: A Fairy Tale for Grownups” – Questions 81 – 90

 

Question 81

What is the name of the amateur geologist who  discovered what was thought to be “the evolutionary find of the century” in a gravel pit near the town of Piltdown,
England? Comfort answers “Charles Dawson.”
(Source: NOVA, “The Boldest Hoax,” www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/hoax)
Does not damage evolutionary theory

 

In-Depth Comment

“For decades, a fossil skull discovered in Piltdown, England, was hailed as the missing link between apes and humans. Entire careers were built on its authenticity. Then in 1953, the awful truth came out: ‘Piltdown Man’ was a fake!…
It all started in the early 1900’s, when a laborer digging near the village of Piltdown in southern England reportedly found a strange piece of skull that he passed on to Charles Dawson, a local amateur archeologist…
‘Piltdown Man was a really big deal in 1912, because it was a time when very little was known of human fossil remains,’ says historian Richard Milner. ‘It was perceived to be the missing link, the fossil that connected humans with apes.’ Notably, Piltdown Man was even more spectacular than the celebrated human fossils already discovered on the European continent, such as Neanderthal Man in Germany.
More remains turned up in Piltdown through 1915, the year before Dawson’s death. These included a second
partial skull and a strange bone artifact resembling a cricket bat—a fishy find that looked suspiciously like a hoax, but was accepted by Woodward as an ancient implement. Forty years later, new scientific tests showed that Piltdown Man was a forgery, concocted in part from
what was probably an orangutan’s jaw. Suspicion immediately fell on Dawson, but there were other candidates.”
(Source: NOVA, “The Boldest Hoax” www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/hoax)
Does not damage evolutionary theory
There was no way to adequately examine such things back in 1915.  Chemical tests –common today- didn’t yet exist and we didn’t yet have a
practical understanding of radiation. And before the first australopiths were discovered, we didn’t know exactly what to expect of the links that were then still missing between humans and the other apes known at that time. But as we began filling in the gaps in human evolution with thousands of legitimate fossils, a pattern emerged which left Piltdown an increasingly obvious anomaly. Consequently it was taken off display and stored away almost continuously for decades. It lost importance in most discussions because, in light of everything else we discovered over the next few decades, it just never fit, and was eventually dismissed from the list of potential human ancestors for that reason.
As the years wore on, criticism arose against everyone who ever promoted
the Piltdown collection because there seemed to be so much wrong with
it. Finally, in the 1950s, it was taken back out of the box and scrutinized via more modern means. First fluorine dating revealed that it was much too recent, and it was shown to have been chemically-treated to give a false impression of its age and mineral composition. Then it was finally determined that the jaw must have come from an orangutan, and that it had been deliberately reshaped with modern tools in a well-crafted and deliberate forgery.
No one knows who did it either. And more importantly, why? Errors were
already known and previously reported, but few ever suspected fraud because, what would be the motive? Nearly everyone who stood accused
was a man of high reputation and credentials. Maybe that was the motive. Maybe Piltdown man was just a joke that had gone too far. But no one was laughing, and they weren’t going to let it happen again.

 

Question 82

Which well-known expert in human evolution admitted “If you brought in a smart scientist from another discipline and showed him the meager evidence we’ve got he’d surely say, ‘Forget it: there isn’t enough to go on’.” Comfort answers “David Pilbeam”
(quoted in Richard E. Leakey, The Making of Mankind [London: Michael Joseph Limited, 1981], p. 43)
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author

Here is the quote in context:

“Of the primates, the chimpanzee is man’s closest relative, while
the two other great apes, the gorilla and orang-utan, are slightly more distant evolutionary cousins. The apes and hominids are collectively known as the ‘hominoids’. Biologists would dearly like to know how modern apes, modern humans and the various ancestral hominids have evolved from a common ancestor. Unfortunately, the fossil record is somewhat incomplete as far as the hominids are concerned, and it is all but blank for the apes. The best we can hope for is that more fossils will be found over the next few years which will fill the present gaps in the evidence. The major gap, often referred to as ‘the fossil void’, is between eight and four million years ago.

David Pilbeam comments wryly, ‘If you brought in a smart scientist from another discipline and showed him the meagre evidence we’ve got he’d surely say, “forget it; there isn’t enough to go on”.’ Neither David nor others involved in the search for mankind can take this advice, of course, but we remain fully aware of the dangers of drawing conclusions from the evidence that is so incomplete.

Fortunately, there is quite good evidence regarding the ape-like creatures that lived over fourteen million years ago.”

A discussion follows of the extensive fossil evidence of dryopithecinces and ramapithecines, biochemical estimates of the date of divergence of humans and chimps, a discussion of the rise of bidpedalism, and David Pilbeam’s estimates of the branching times for the various groups of hominoids. That’s just chapter three (“Ape-Like Ancestors”). Chapter four (“The Early Hominids”) picks up on the near side of the fossil gap referred to in the quote.

Notice the matter of fact assertion of the relatedness of the apes and humans, compared with the qualified warning about making inferences about the precise paths involved in the origin of hominoid sub-groups – the first point is well-confirmed, whereas the second topic had plenty of room for dispute in 1981 (and there remains plenty of room for debate still, of course). Does this passage really question the relatedness of apes and humans? Of course not. Does it call for caution in pin-pointing the timing of the branch off points for the various groups, and in identifying the particular evolutionary paths, Yes.

Does not damage evolutionary theory

 

In-Depth Comment

“Biologists would dearly like to know how modern apes, modern humans and the various ancestral hominids
have evolved from a common ancestor. Unfortunately, the fossil record is somewhat incomplete as far as the hominids are concerned, and it is all but blank for the apes. The best we can hope for is that more fossils will be found over the next few years which will fill the present gaps in the evidence.”
(Source: Richard E. Leakey, The Making of Mankind (London: Michael Joseph Limited, 1981), p. 43)

Quote Mine/Distorted message of author

A discussion follows of the extensive fossil evidence of dryopithecinces and ramapithecines, biochemical estimates of the date of divergence of humans and chimps, a discussion of the rise of bidpedalism, and David Pilbeam’s estimates of the branching times for the various groups of hominoids. That’s just chapter three (“Ape-Like Ancestors”). Chapter four (“The Early Hominids”) picks up on the near side of the fossil gap referred to in the quote.

Notice the matter of fact assertion of the relatedness of the apes and humans, compared with the qualified warning about making inferences about the precise paths involved in the origin of hominoid sub-groups – the first point is well-confirmed, whereas the second topic had plenty of room for dispute in 1981 (and there remains plenty of room for debate still, of course). Does this passage really question the relatedness of apes and humans? Of course not. Does it call for caution in pin-pointing the timing of the branch off points for the various groups, and in identifying the particular evolutionary paths, Yes.

Does not damage evolutionary theory

 

Question 83

Who said that with no objective truth to stand on, when it comes to man’s fossil history, “to the faithful anything is possible”? Comfort answers “Lord Solly Zuckerman” and adds, “We then move right off the register of objective truth into those fields of presumed biological science, like extrasensory perception or the interpretation of man’s fossil history, where to the faithful anything is  possible—and where the ardent believer is sometimes able to believe several contradictory things at the same time.”
(Source: Lord Solly Zuckerman, Professor of Anatomy at Birmingham University in England, Beyond the Ivory Tower (New York: Toplinger Publications, 1970), p. 19)

Outdated Source

Distortion of Science
There were over three decades of hominid fossils waiting to be discovered since 1970!

 

In-Depth Comments

“If you thought that science was certain—well, that is just an error on your part.”
(Source: Richard Feynman, The Character of Physical Law (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1967), p. 77)
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
This reference does not damage or harm the theory of evolution as Comfort wishes it does. Science does not claim absolute certainty like religion does. Science is constantly changing with new information and data being discovered. And yet, religious creeds remain the same despite the evidence or being shown to be false. For instance, the Bible still teaches many things that fly in the face of science (the earth being older than the stars, the earth always remains motionless, pi equals 3, diseases are caused by demons, etc.)

 

“A religious creed differs from a scientific theory in claiming to embody eternal and absolutely certain truth, where as science is always tentative, expecting that
modification in its present theories will sooner or later be found necessary, and aware that its method is one which is logically incapable of arriving at a complete and final demonstration.”
(Source: Bertrand Russel, Religion and Science (New York: Oxford University Press, 1953)
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
This reference does not damage or harm the theory of evolution whatsoever. Russel is correct however, in which science does not claim to be absolutely certain. In fact, that is the beauty of science. Learning is a never ending process, and new information is always being gathered that may improve or refute previous accepted models and theories, that is why in science everything must be falsifiable.
The main difference between scientific evolution and Ray Comfort’s position of creationism is that one is a faith based religion. Religion is a bias by definition. That’s why it relies on propaganda. But science dispels propaganda because it eliminates bias by design; it has to because it’s an investigation, not a predetermined conclusion like religion is. So every proposition must be requisitely evidential and potentially falsifiable, and must be subjected to a perpetual battery of independent and unrestricted tests wherein anyone and everyone who thinks they can is welcome to try and find and expose from flaw in it –to correct it. Creationists won’t subject their beliefs to any of that because they’re not interested in finding out what is really true. They want to defend their preferred beliefs whether they’re true or not.

 

Question 84

Fill in the blank question: “If pressed about man’s ancestry, I would have no unequivocally say that all we have is _________.” Comfort answers “a huge question
mark.”
(Source: Richard Leakey, one of the world’s foremost paleontologists, PBS documentary, 1990)
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author

Turns out that this quote was never spoken by Leakey. This quote from an unidentified PBS documentary was entire made up and is the deceptive invention of dishonest creationists.

“A major problem in proving the theory (of evolution) has been the fossil record; the imprints of vanished species preserved in the Earth’s geological formations. This
record has never revealed traces of Darwin’s  hypothetical intermediate variants. Instead, species appear and disappear abruptly, and this anomaly has fueled the creationist argument that each species was created by God as described in the Bible.”
(Source: Mark Czarnecki, “The Revival of the Creationist Crusade,” MacLeon’s, 19 January 1981, p. 56)
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author
Once again, this seems to be a glossing over of the controversy surrounding Punctuated Equilibrium. Given that many in the news media seem to have a superficial understanding of science, I’m not inclined to take the technical aspects of a news article about the evolution-creation controversy seriously, especially when I see a gem like this:
“Essentially, Darwin stated that a species evolved by the random mutation of genes, which then produced variants of the original species.”
The claim that Darwin knew about genes and mutation is newsflash to everyone. Here is the truth: Darwin knew nothing about genes or mutations. About the time Darwin published his work, Grengor Mendel was discovering and explaining genes and traits. Mendel sent hi work to Darwin, but Darwin never read it. But Czarnecki does raise an interesting point. Discussing how some people view the difference between fact and theory, he writes:
“Such a pedagogical approach, though initiated with the best of intentions, strips the corpus of scientific knowledge down to certain facts that can be perceived by the five senses with the aid of technology; everything else is factually suspect because it cannot be directly “observed” – so much for paleontology (fossil study) and all of nuclear physics.”
And a few sentences later:
“What about history? Past events cannot be observed, records of them are just fallible memories, words – just like the Bible, in fact.”

 

Question 85

Who said it question: “To date, there has been nothing found to truthfully purport as a transitional species to man, including Lucy…If further pressed, I would have to
state that there is more evidence to suggest an abrupt arrival of man rather than a gradual process of evolving.” Comfort answers “Richard Leakey”
(Source: PBS Documentary, 1990)
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author

Turns out that this quote was never spoken by Leakey. This quote
from an unidentified PBS documentary was entire made up and is the deceptive invention of dishonest creationists.

See Non-human primate to human for details about the large numbers of transitional types between apes and humans.

 

In-Depth Comments

“Instead of finding the gradual unfolding of life, what geologists of Darwin’s time, and geologists of the present day actually find is highly uneven or jerky record;
that is, species appear in the sequence very suddenly, show little to not change during their existence in the record, then abruptly go out of the record. And it is not always clear, in fact it’s rarely clear, that the descendants were actually better adapted than their predecessors. In other words, biological improvement is hard to find.”
(Source: David M. Raup, “Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology,” Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, Vol. 50, January 1979, p. 23)
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author
On the previous page Raup writes:
“We must distinguish between the fact of evolution — defined as change in organisms over time — and the explanation of this change. Darwin’s contribution, through his theory of natural selection, was to suggest how the evolutionary change took place. The evidence we find in the geologic record is not nearly as compatible with darwinian natural selection as we would like it to be.
Note that Raup believes that evolution has occurred; he calls evolution a “fact.” And on page 25 he writes:
“What appeared to be a nice progression when relatively few data were available now appears to be much more complex and much less gradualistic. So Darwin’s problem has not been alleviated in the last 120 years and we still have a record which does show change but one which can hardly be look upon as the most reasonable consequence of natural selection.” [Emphasis in original]
And later on the same page:
“So natural selection as a process is okay. We are also pretty sure that it goes on in nature although good examples are surprisingly rare.”
It should be obvious by now that what Raup is arguing against is not evolution, but gradual evolution in all cases.
“There are all sorts of gaps: absence of gradationally intermediate ‘transitional’ forms between species, but also between larger groups – between, say, families of
carnivores, or the orders of mammals. In fact, the higher up the Linnaean hierarchy you look, the fewer transitional forms there seem to be.”
(Source: Eldredge, Niles, The Monkey Business: A Scientist Looks at Creationism, 1982, p. 65)
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author
The overall context is the “tempo and mode” of evolution and Simpson’s pre-punctuated equilibria views of quantum evolution. It is in a section called “The Synthesis and the Fossil Record.” The paragraph with the quote reads (bold words of what Comfort omitted):
It is the gaps in the fossil record which, perhaps more than any other facet of the natural world, are dearly beloved by creationists. As we shall see when we take up the creationist position, there are all sorts of gaps: absence of graduationally intermediate “transitional” forms between species, but also between larger groups — between say, families of carnivores, or the orders of mammals. In fact, the higher up the Linnaean hierarchy you look, the fewer transitional forms there [p. 65, pg 66 ] seem to be. For example, Peripatus a lobe-legged, wormlike creature that haunts rotting logs in the Southern-Hemisphere, appears intermediate in many respects between tow of the major phyla on earth today — the segmented worms and the arthropods. But few other phyla have such intermediates with other phyla, and when we scan the fossil record for them we find some, but
basically little, help. Extinction has surely weeded out of the intermediate species, but on the other hand, the fossil record is not exactly teeming with their remains.
Skipping a paragraph:
“Simpson thought that most of the fossil record amply supported Darwin’s view. There was plenty of evidence, he felt, to show that ninety percent of evolution involved the gradual transition from one species to the [p. 66 | p. 67] next through time. When there were gaps between closely related species and genera [what creations often call “microevolution”] — in other words when new species appeared abruptly in the fossil record with no smoothly intergradational intermediates between them and their ancestors — he was content to blame it on the vagaries of preservation inherent in the fossil record….” [Eldredge goes on to disagree with that.]
Eldredge deals with gaps again in the section “Oh, Those Gaps!” (pp. 120-128) in the chapter “Creationists Attack: II.” In it he makes it very clear that there are transitions in the fossil record and gives several examples.
“Transitions between major groups of organisms…are difficult to establish in the fossil record.”
(Source: K. Padian, “The Origin of Turtles: One Fewer Problem for Creationists,” National Center for Science Education Reports, Vol. 11, No. 2, Summer 1991, p. 18)
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author
This article by Kevin Padian starts off with “Transitions between major groups of organisms – so often misnamed “macroevolution” by “scientific” reationists – are difficult to establish in the fossil record.”
So the omission between “organisms” and “are difficult” is not entirely dishonest, since it really is a parenthetical thought that’s omitted. What’s dishonest is omitting the following explanation from Padian that comes right after this quote: “But this should hardly be surprising. What are the chances of finding “the” ideal intermediate between differently adapted groups that have been separated for eons? Of course, creationists depend upon this improbability to deny that evolution has taken place. But the job of paleontologists is not to find the ideal ancestral intermediates but to establish the characteristics that would link major groups in common ancestry and to find other forms that share at least some of those derived characters.”
Padian goes on to discuss the scientific progress being done in turtle evolution.
Distortion of Science
Anyone familiar with Kevin Padian knows this is ridiculous. Kevin Padian was the one who testified in the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial who provided numerous examples of transitional fossils between major organisms. While the quote says that it is “difficult” to establish major transitions, he did not say that it was improbable or impossible.

 

Question 86

Who said it? “Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed much. The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transitions than we had in Darwin’s time” Ray answers “David Raup”
(Source: “Conflicts between Darwin and Paleontology”, Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, Vol. 50, January 1979, p. 25)
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author
Here is the full quote by Raup, (bold words are the words omitted by Ray)
“Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed much. The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transitions than we had in Darwin’s time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be  discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information
— what appeared to be a nice simple progression when  relatively few data were available now appear to be much more complex and much less gradualistic. So Darwin’s problem has not been alleviated in the last 120 years and we still have a record which does show change but one that can hardly be looked upon as the most reasonable consequence of natural selection.
Note that while Raup says that some of the examples have been “discarded” he also says that others have only been “modified”. For example the classic horse series Raup mentions is one of those that has been modified, but it is far from discarded. Also note that Raup clearly states that the pattern of the fossil record is one of change in living things over geologic time, something that young earth creationists deny.
And yes it has been taken out of context. The paper is about Darwin’s mechanism of natural selection and whether this mechanism is reflected in pattern of the fossil record, not whether there is a lack of evidence for common descent.
http://commondescent.net/articles/Raup_quote.htm

 

In-Depth Comments

“One must acknowledge that there are many, many gaps in the fossil record…There is no reason to think that all or most of these gaps will be bridged.” (Source: Michael Ruse, “Is There a Limit to Our Knowledge of Evolution,” BioScience, Vol. 34, No. 2, February 1984, p. 101.)
Outdated Source
Does not damage evolutionary theory
This reference does not help Ray Comfort’s argument whatsoever. Gaps in the fossil record are to be expected, but this does not damage or harm the the validity of the the theory of evolution. Even without a single fossil, we have plenty of evidence to prove evolution and common descent. When something dies, it is usually disassembled, digested, and decomposed. Only rarely is anything ever fossilized, and even fewer things are very well-preserved. Because the conditions required for that process are so particular, the fossil record can only represent a tiny fraction of everything that has ever lived. Darwin provided many environmental dynamics explaining why no single quarry could ever provide a continuous record of biological events, and why it would be impossible to find all the fossilized ancestors of every lineage. But despite this, he predicted that future generations, -having the benefit of better understanding- would discover a substantial number of fossil species which he called “intermediate” or “transitional” between what we see alive today and their taxonomic ancestors at successive levels in paleontological history.
In fact, in the century-and-a-half since then, we’ve found millions of evolutionary intermediaries in the fossil record, much more than Darwin said he could reasonably hope for. There are three different types of transitional forms and we have ample examples of each. But creationists still insist that we’ve never found a single one, because what they usually ask us to present are impossible parodies which evolution would neither produce nor permit (like Ray Comfort’s Crocoduck).

 

“The record jumps, and all the evidence shows that the record is real: the gaps we see reflect real events in life’s history—not the artifact of a poor fossil record.”
(Source: N. Eldredge and I. Tattersall, The Myths of Human Evolution (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982), p. 59)
Quote Mine/Distorted message of author

At least they got the page number right. There are several creationist pages who say this quote is on page 57, not page 59.

Anyway, on with the quote. Here it is in full:

One striking aspect of these extinction/rebound episodes  in life’s history is the extraordinary rapidity with which they occur. The Cretaceous extinction about 65 million years ago, which took away the last of the dinosaurs, and perhaps as much as 90 percent of all the other forms of Cretaceous life, took place within the span of a million years. Now, a million years is certainly a long period of time by some standards, but it is an eyeblink in geologic history. Events occurring within less than a million years’ time can create patterns of abrupt change in the fossil record: in many places around the world, fossils can be traced up into the highest layers of Cretaceous rocks when, all of a sudden, they just disappear. And the rocks immediately above preserve representatives of the initial repopulation, life’s rebound after the collapse. The record  jumps, and all the evidence shows that the record is real: the gaps we see reflect real events in life’s history—not the artifact of a poor fossil record”

From this more complete quote we can see that Eldredge and Tattersall aren’t discussing the lack of transtional fossils, but extinction events. And after all, there’s no reason to expect transitional creatures that were never born because their “ancestors to be” went extinct.

But what about the final sentence in the initially posted quotation?

The fossil record flatly fails to substantiate this expectation of finely graded change.

Where does it come from? It’s on page 163!!!!!!!!

“We have already argued that the fossil record flatly fails to  substantiate this expectation of finely graded change. So too, says Teggart, does the historical sequence of human events.”

A gap of over a hundred pages between sentences is inexcusable, and not indicating the gap with ellipses is even worse. Interestingly, two webpages, Large Gaps in the Fossil Record and  National Discontinuities and the Fossil Record have both quotes one after another, and cite their proper respective pages. Did a quote miner (possibly  Macroevolution) string them together accidentally? Did they do it on purpose?

The level of integrity and scholarship is mind boggling.

“To explain discontinuities, Simpson relied, in part, upon the classical argument of an imperfect fossil record, but concluded that such an outstanding regularity could not
be entirely artificial.”
(Source: Stephen J. Gould, “The Hardening of the Modern Synthesis,” in M. Grene, ed., Dimensions of Darwinism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), p. 81)
Does not damage evolutionary theory

Question 87

Begins with a statement: Almost all the major body plans for animals appeared suddenly during the Cambrian
period, in what’s known as the “Cambrian explosion.” Which scientific magazine asked the question about why no “animal body plans” have evolved since then? Comfort answers “Scientific American
Comfort goes on to say, “In “The Big Bang of Animal Evolution,” Jeffrey S. Levinton writes: “Evolutionary biology’s deepest paradox concerns this strange discontinuity. Why haven’t new animal body plans continued to crawl out of the evolutionary cauldron during the past hundreds of millions of years? Why are the ancient plans so stable?”
(Source: Scientific American, Vol. 267, November 1992, p. 84)
Does not damage evolutionary theory

The Cambrian explosion does not contradict or damage the theory of evolution. In fact, the Cambrian explosion fits the evolutionary model.

Read more why here.

In-Depth Comment

“With few exceptions, radically new kinds of organisms appear for the first time in the fossil record already fully evolved, with most of their characteristic features
present…It is not at all what might have been expected.”
(Source: T. S. Kemp (Curator of the zoological collections at Oxford University Museum of Natural
History, and expert on Cambrian fossils), Fossils and Evolution (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 253)
Does not damage evolutionary theory

The Cambrian explosion does not contradict or damage the theory of evolution. In fact, the Cambrian explosion fits the evolutionary model.

Read more why here.

Question 88

Which “intellectual guru” and best-selling author said that scientists had been “fudging and finagling” the record for a century to conform to Darwin’s notions?
Comfort answers “Jeremy Rifkin.”
Comfort says in Algeny Rifkin wrote the following, “what the ‘record’ shows is nearly a century of fudging and finagling by scientists attempting to force various fossil morsels and fragments to conform to Darwin’s notions, all to no avail. Today the millions of fossils stand as a very visible, ever-present reminder of the paltriness of the arguments and the overall shabbiness of the theory that marches under the banner of evolution.”
(Source: New Yorker Viking Press, 1983, p. 125)
Not a qualified biologist
Comfort said in the Introduction of this book he would be quoting “evolutionary experts” and right here, Comfort provides a quote from a non-biologist.
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
Outdated Source
Distortion of Science

In-Depth Comment

“…not being a paleontologist, I don’t want to pour too much scorn on paleontologists, but if you were to spend your life picking up bones and finding little fragments of
head and little fragments of jaw, there’s a very strong desire to exaggerate the importance of those fragments.”
(Source: Dr. Greg Kirby in an address given at a meeting of the Biology Teachers Association of South Australia in 1976. Dr. Kirby was the Senior lecturer in Population Biology at Flinders University and was giving the case for
evolution.)
Does not damage evolutionary theory

Question 89

Which book of the Bible gave the instructions when dealing with disease, we should wash using running
water thousands of years before modern science discovered the fact?
Comfort answers “Leviticus.” Leviticus 15:13 says, “When he who has a discharge is cleansed of his discharge, then he shall…wash his clothes, and bathe his body in running water; then he shall be clean.”
Non-Academic Source
The Bible is not a scientific text.
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
Distortion of Science
The Bible says specifically to wash under “running water.” Keep reading down Leviticus 15, it explains how to finish this sterilization process. “…and bathe his flesh in running water,and he shall be clean. On the eighth day, he shall take to turtledoves, or two pigeons, and come before the Lord unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation and give them unto the priest, and the priest shall offer them, one for suffering, one for burnt offering, and the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord for his issue.” Semmelweis did not make his discoveries based on the Bible, because washing your hands prior to chopping up dead burnt pigeons to appease some desert god is more voodoo than medicine.

 

In-Depth Comment

“Long before the germ theory was established as fact by the work of Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), Ignaz
Semmelweis (1818-1865) of Vienna was able to suggest the contagious nature of infections in women who had just given birth. Semmelweis observed that when his resident physicians and students washed their hands with soap and water before each examination of a new mother there was a dramatic decline in the infection rate on the ward. Today, hand washing is a standard antiseptic technique used by all surgeons in preparation for operations.”
(Source: MedicineNet, “Hand Washing for Disease Prevention in Surgery” www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=182)
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
First of all, this does not even address the theory of evolution, it is more or less a short history piece.

Second of all, nowhere in this quote does it credit Semmelweis’s
discoveries towards the Bible. For years, religious figures
proclaimed that diseases were caused by demons. For instance, Martin Luther (the founder of Christian Protestantism) said that diseases were caused by evil spirits and he call physicians (who believed that diseases were caused by natural means) “fools.”

It is self-evident that Semmelweis was not inspired by scripture, so Ray Comfort is completely relying on this knowledge of basic hygiene being unobtainable by the primitive bronze age savages who were nevertheless good enough to be the personal plaything of some schizophrenic magic-man-in-the-sky. As such, this knowledge, Comfort’s content, could only have been provided by the emotionally insecure bearded one himself, perhaps in exchange for a plate of overcooked lamb fat and a bucket of blood.

Isn’t is strange, Ray Comfort, how your precious Psalm makes no mention of bacteria or viruses? No mention of the pathological mechanisms of either? Not even a hint of why washing might be a wise course of action?

Question 90

Who said it question: “I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without a profound faith [in God].”
Comfort answers “Albert Einstein.”
Comfort goes on to include the following, “Although he often used the term “God” (as in his famous statement, “God does not play dice”), biographies of his life show that he had no personal faith. According to Einstein the
only religion he has was “an unbound admiration for the structure of the world.” It’s important to remember that although many scientists use the term “God,” they do not believe in a Person who created the universe.”
(Source: Don Batten, “Physicists’ God-talk,” Creation, Vol. 17 June 1995, p. 15 www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v17/i3/god_talk.asp)
Non-Academic Source
Answers in Genesis is not an academic source or organization. It is a organization promoting pseudoscientific young earth creationism based on their literal interpretation of the Bible.
Not elevant to evolutionary theory or biology
Einstein’s personal religious or spiritual views have no relevance to the theory of evolution whatsoever.
Appeal to authority
Einstein’s personal views do not change anything. While Einstein was a brilliant scientist, he was not right about everything, especially his views about god. For instance, Einstein was a determinist and believed that God “does not play with dice with the universe.” However, due to developments in quantum mechanics and Heisenburg’s Uncertainty Principle, we know that determinism is false, and so were Einstein’s personal views on the matter.

 

In-Depth Comment

“Einstein himself stated clearly that he did not believe in a personal God: ‘It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly.’
So, the quick answer to the question is that Einstein did not believe in a personal God. It is however, interesting how he arrived at that conclusion. In developing the theory of relativity, Einstein realized that the equations led to the conclusion that the universe had a beginning. He didn’t like the idea of a beginning, because he thought one would have to conclude that the universe was created by God. So, he added a cosmological constant to the equation to attempt to get rid of the beginning. He said this was one of the worst mistakes of his life. Of course, the results of Edwin Hubble confirmed that the universe was expanding and had a beginning at some point in the past. So, Einstein had become a deist—a believer in an impersonal creator God: ‘I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings.’
However, it would also seem that Einstein was not an atheist, since he also complained about being put into that camp: ‘In view of such harmony in the cosmos  which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.”
(Source: Rich Deem, “Did Albert Einstein Believe in a Personal God?” www.godandscience.org/apologetics/einstein.html)
Non-Academic Source
The website “godandscience” is not a academic or scholarly website, it is a Christian apologetic site.
Not relevant to evolutionary theory or biology
Einstein’s personal religious or spiritual views have no relevance to the theory of evolution whatsoever.
Appeal to authority
Einstein’s personal views do not change anything. While Einstein was a brilliant scientist, he was not right about everything, especially his views about god. For instance, Einstein was a determinist and believed that God “does not play with dice with the universe.” However, due to developments in quantum mechanics and Heisenburg’s Uncertainty Principle, we know that determinism is false, and so were Einstein’s personal views on the matter.

TOTALS FOR THIS SEGMENT (Q 81 – 90) 25 Total Quotes

Fallacy Number of Fallacies
Quote Mining 10
Appeal to Authority 2
Outdated Source 3
Non-Academic Source 3
Not a qualified biologist or scientist 1
Not Relevant to Evolutionary theory or Biology 7
Not Damaging to Evolutionary theory 9
Distortion of Science 4
Total 39

 

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