Dispatches from the Creation Wars

“Darwin is Dead” Carnival

Some of the other ScienceBloggers have been writing about this amusing little blog carnival called “Darwin is Dead”. This is really elementary school-level creationist apologetics. It includes an entry from “highboy”, a minister in training whose blog features a picture of Jesus with a rifle in his hand, that goes right for perhaps the dumbest argument in the history of creationist arguments:

To the evolutionists: First, evolution claims that humans and apes have a common ancestor. But since apes are not still evolving into man that notion is debunked without performing a single experiment.

You can never hear the “if man evolved from apes, why are there still apes” argument often enough, can you? As PZ points out, if ancestral and daughter species could not coexist, there would be exactly one species on the planet. Yes, this argument is so stupid that even Answers in Genesis advises their followers not to use it.

Highboy then goes on to repeat perhaps the second dumbest argument in the creationist jokebook, the claim that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics. As usual, this argument begins with a ridiculously inaccurate definition of the law of entropy, this time claiming that the 2nd law says that “things fall apart over time.” That’s always good for a chuckle or two.

Then he goes for one of my very favorite creationist canards, this time concerning how we date the age of the earth. First he quotes from a TalkOrigins FAQ about how the age of the earth is computed using radiometric dating of igneous rocks.

The oldest rocks which have been found so far (on the Earth) date to about 3.8 to 3.9 billion years ago (by several radiometric dating methods). Some of these rocks are sedimentary, and include minerals which are themselves as old as 4.1 to 4.2 billion years. Rocks of this age are relatively rare, however rocks that are at least 3.5 billion years in age have been found on North America, Greenland, Australia, Africa, and Asia. While these values do not compute an age for the Earth, they do establish a lower limit (the Earth must be at least as old as any formation on it). This lower limit is at least concordant with the independently derived figure of 4.55 billion years for the Earth’s actual age. The most direct means for calculating the Earth’s age is a Pb/Pb isochron age, derived from samples of the Earth and meteorites. This involves measurement of three isotopes of lead (Pb-206, Pb-207, and either Pb-208 or Pb-204). A plot is constructed of Pb-206/Pb-204 versus Pb-207/Pb-204.

Then his very next sentence is “But carbon dating is a fallacy.” And he quotes from a creationist webpage about carbon dating:

Carbon-14 dates, although known to be inaccurate, were still too close to Bible dates to be publicly released. In the late 1940s, *Willard Libby developed his radiocarbon (carbon-14) dating method. It could be applied to any organic material, and an approximate age could be derived. However, because of atmospheric conditions immediately following the Flood, carbon-14 dating, when applied to samples which died closer to the deluge, tends to give inaccurate, lengthened-out date readings which extend too far into the past. But dates from about 600 B.C., on down to A.D. 200, are more accurate. Dates from A.D. 200, onward to our own time, are even more accurate. Another problem has been a massive cover-up which has occurred in relation to carbon-14 dating. Those C-14 test results which do not agree with modernist theories are not disclosed.

Talk about a serious lack of reading comprehension skills. Did he not even bother to read the material he was citing? What were the radiometric tests in the TalkOrigins file talking about? They were Pb/Pb tests – that’s lead, highboy. Those tests measured the decay of different isotopes of lead. Lead is not the same thing as carbon. Not even close, in fact. And your very own source on carbon dating contains a massive clue for you to recognize the difference between carbon dating and lead/lead dating when it says that carbon dating “could be applied to any organic material”. Rocks are not organic material, highboy. You can’t use carbon dating to give you the age of an igneous rock any more than you can use a sledgehammer to fix a computer. Your argument against the radiometric dating of the age of the earth is about an entirely different dating technique.

The punchline to it all is the comment left by the halfwit who runs the Darwin is Dead carnival proclaiming, “Yes! This will be a terrific post for the Carnival. Very good indeed!” Then there’s this commenter, disciple, who invents a complete fiction about Lucy:

Another particularly interesting tidbit is about the skeletal remains of “Lucy.” A fact that is commonly left out of the articles that discuss our “ancestor,” is that one week prior to the termination of funding for the project to find proof of evolution, a small piece of a human jawbone was discovered. More than two miles away the remainder of an ape skeleton was found. The “scientists” (and I use that term loosely) put the two together and claimed that they had found the missing link! Preposterous! They found part of a human’s remains, and part of a dead ape, and that’s all they found.

He then goes on to give a link to “Dr” Kent Hovind’s web page. Since he loves Hovind so much, perhaps he’s up for a Hovind style challenge. I’ll give him $1000 if he can prove this charge concerning Lucy. In a way, I’m almost sheepish about even bothering to engage nonsense like this. It really is bottom of the barrell stuff even from creationists. But it’s also quite popular with the rank and file and therefore worth debunking.

Comments

  1. #1 Dave
    February 28, 2006

    Erasmus Darwin died in 1802.

    They’re just figuring this out now?!

  2. #2 llDayo
    February 28, 2006

    Hmmmm….highboy….

    His username pretty much tells you his state of mind when he wrote this crap. I like how he assumes dates AFTER the flood are more correct due to atmospheric conditions even though there’s no evidence a worldwide flood even occured! Classic!

  3. #3 Anuminous
    February 28, 2006

    Now llDayo, that is not called for. I know lots of high people who think better than that!

  4. #4 Dave S.
    February 28, 2006

    highboy (who may have been a bit too high) says:

    To the evolutionists: First, evolution claims that humans and apes have a common ancestor. But since apes are not still evolving into man that notion is debunked without performing a single experiment.

    First, kudos for getting the first sentence absolutely correct. I’m sure that was an accident, but you did it anyway. Bravo.

    And then your argument went downhill fast.

    I wonder why they never say that if evolution were true, why is man not still evolving into apes? It’s the same arguement.

    And the Lucy commenter can’t even get the nonsense from the Kent Hovind Creationist Playbook right. It’s “Lucy’s” knee, not jawbone. The jawbone is from the Piltdown hoax.

    Man, has the Dover trial really sunk the creationists to this depth where the stupid vacuum made by ID’s bitchslapping is being filled by this crap?

  5. #5 Dave S.
    February 28, 2006

    “Carnival” is an apt word … just look at all the clowns.

  6. #6 Sastra
    February 28, 2006

    Highboy must be a single child without any cousins. Or, alternatively, his siblings and cousins are slowly turning into him — therefore he has good reason to laugh ruefully at the idea of common ancestry between existing but different species.

  7. #7 Ginger Yellow
    February 28, 2006

    I love the way people like highboy think, or at least purport to think, that somehow thousands upon thousands of cunning atheist socialist Darwinist biologists have been able to con universities and government grant boards all over the world, plus the media, plus almost all the other scientists and huge quantities of laypeople everywhere in the developed world apart from the US for 150 years when the theory they espouse can be “debunked” or disproved entirely by pointing out a simple logical flaw, as in the eloquently put “how come there are PYGMIES + DWARFS?”. They know they’re not the first people to suggest these supposed flaws, because they all crib them off the same websites (usually without even rewording them). Do they really think the biologists, or their bosses, or their peers, are suddenly going to go: “Shit, you’re right! I hadn’t even thought about the second law of thermodynamics. Oh well, back to the drawing board, I guess.”

  8. #8 ZacharySmith
    February 28, 2006

    Apes are still around and not evolving into humans! (Slap myself on the forehead) Duh! Why didn’t scores of biologists see that before??!!

    I guess Highboy has overturned decades of research and theory in a single, brilliant stroke of devastating analysis.

    Who says biology is hard?!

  9. #9 Dave S.
    February 28, 2006

    Other great comments from highboy (a.k.a. Jesus Got a Gun):

    “He has yet to explain also how the universe can explode from nothing when science teaches us nothing can’t explode.”

    Got research showing these theories are wrong?

    Key word: Theory

    By the way, most credible Creationists do not use Pangea for anything, they actually claim it is false. Scientists claim they use to fit together but that is just judging by the water level. Some places are deeper than others, the water level gives the continent their shape as we see it. Take the water out and their still connected. Also, you’ll notice that in order to fit the continents together they shrunk Africa by about 40% and eliminated Central America completely.”

    “All I’m illustrating is that neither side, be they evolutionist or creationist, has all the answers. The difference is, we Christians can admit the problems in our theories while evolutionists cannot.”

    “However I can believe in a young earth quicker than I can believe a scientist whose only evidence to support an old earth is a machine that goes “bing!”

    “Bottom line, if evolution was so completley factual then it wouldn’t be contested all over the world, and not just by Creationists. Evolutionist scientist themselves can never agree on anything, so why should I listen to them?”

    “There had to be something there to explode. Nature didn’t just vomit into existence for no reason, and claims by evolutionists that this is an intelligent argument leaves me chortling.”

    (No-one is saying that this is an intelligent argument, so you may rest easy.)

    “Excuse me? Are you saying that humans evolving from an ape-like ancestor is NOT a basic? What planet do you live on? If you wish to believe the “all-intelligent” theory that you are a descendant of a primate that digs in its own behind then smells it to see if its good be my guest. But don’t insult the word “science” by claiming that its an obervable fact.”

    “If you mean that I should be ashamed of the pictures I have in regard to liberalism and the ACLU, intelligent interaction is not my goal.”

    (Mission accomplished.)

    First of all, it was never claimed by anyone that C14 dating could be used to date beyond 30-50,000 years,

    Yes it was. It is how they dated the earth, otherwise, where do they get the billions of years from? The so-called Geologic Column?”

    “What is a waste of time is trying to debate someone who obviously has their mind made up regardless of whatever facts their nose is rubbed in.”

    “I also think that to say otherwise is to say God is short-sighted. Meaning, that God did not allow for our English language when dishing out His word, and we don’t have the actual meaning. So “day” does not meand “day” as we know it. Garbage. God knows what He is doing.”

    “You did not possible do any research, and the point I’ve been trying to make in this whole post is that both sides of the issue have holes, and neither can be proven. That is why they are called T-H-E-O-R-I-E-S.”

    “I have the whole collection of his [Hovind] DVD lectures, and in every one of them he gives his complete credentials, and never claims otherwise. If you are going to defame someone’s character, be sure you know what you are talking about.”

    “Depends on if their [4th graders] parents hate them enough to let them be taught that they are biological accidents, or love them enough to tell them what beautiful creations they are. By the way, under the disgrace of a public education system we have today, a lot 4th graders can barely read, let alone grasp the universe being formed from a mud puddle.”

    “I went to the same schools, and listened to the same lectures. I’m not impressed. So you can all continue to masturbate to Star Trek and National Geographic if you want to, but I’m not that easily duped.”

    “I don’t think evolution and Christianity are exclusive, save for the theory that we evolved from an ape-like ancestor.”

    “I’m not defending Creationism, though I will defend some of it, as I will defend some of what evolution has to offer. Its called being objective.”

    This stuff is gold baby!

  10. #10 Raging Bee
    February 28, 2006

    Wow…this “highboy” guy can’t get science OR religion right. What classic IDiocy.

  11. #11 Matthew
    February 28, 2006

    What were you expecting from a carnival run by this guy:

    http://photos1.blogger.com/hello/260/9551/640/Kimbal%20Nexum.jpg

  12. #12 ray
    February 28, 2006

    from the blog description:

    He is an ex-liberal gone conservative, an ex-druggie gone straight, an ex-humanist become Christian

    These are the worst ones. It’s one thing to be brought up in a rigid fundamentalist Christian home and be indoctrinated to never question your beliefs. It’s another thing to actively seek out a setting like that.

  13. #13 Ed Darrell
    February 28, 2006

    No! No! Real clowns make real laughs! They THINK about how to make people laugh, and before they speak.

    In a real circus, there’s a guy who goes behind the jackasses sweeping up the droppings.

    These guys ain’t real clowns, nor are they in a real circus.

  14. #14 eugene_X
    March 1, 2006

    In the creationist science lab: “If humans evolved from apes, why are there still apes?”

    In the creationist history classroom: “If America was founded by British colonists, why are there still British people?”

    I wish I could take credit for that, but it was a cartoon I saw somewhere.