Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Creech on Evolution Again

Mark Creech, head of the Christian Action League, has replied to an article in Seed Magazine about the Clergy Letter Project and continued to spread the nonsense that I fisked a few weeks ago. In fact, some of it is even worse. He also defends the DI’s infamous list of scientists, most of whom are not in relevant scientific fields. He writes:

Moreover, West argues the single largest group of the signers was biologists (154 of the 514). He adds: “Of course the list also includes many scientists specializing in chemistry, physics, engineering, mathematics/statistics, and related disciplines. But since Darwinists continually assert that their theory has implications for many scientific fields, why shouldn’t scientists from these other fields have the right to speak out?”

It is of course true that evolution is the unifying theory of many fields of science, not merely biology. But none of the fields he lists – chemistry, physics, engineering, and math and statistics – are among them. Evolutionary theory is certainly the unifying theory in paleontology, physical anthropology, genetics, geology, and a few other fields, but not the ones he lists.

Creech then gives the answers he gave to the questions sent to him by a Seed writer, and when he gets into the science of evolution…well, let’s say he falls flat on his face. He lists all the usual bad arguments:

Evolution is not supported by the majority of scientific laws, such as the laws of first cause, the First and Second Law of Thermodynamics. In short, how can evolution be science if it is not supported by science?…

What is more, the Second Law of Thermodynamics constitutes an incredible difficulty for evolutionists. Creationists are often baffled at the way evolutionists seem to dismiss it. This law states that there exists a fundamental and universal change in nature that is downhill and not uphill, as evolution claims. In order for an organism to advance or evolve, energy must in some way be introduced, gained or increased. The Second Law, however, says this will not happen in any natural process unless external factors enter in to produce it.

Yikes. You gotta love those creationist paraphrases of the 2nd law of thermodynamics; they’re so rigorous and detailed. According to creationists, the 2nd law says that “things” – not heat or energy, but “things” – go “uphill, not downhill”; they “get worse, not better”; they “fall apart” rather than “come together”. Of course, his understanding of both the 2nd law and the basic natural facts is below that of a relatively bright 5th grader. What does he think the sun does if not impart energy to the earth, energy that causes plants to grow and work to get done in a myriad of ways? His understanding of the scientific method is no better:

Neither evolution nor creation is, in fact, a valid scientific theory or hypothesis because neither can really be tested. When this is the case, that is that neither can be confirmed experimentally, then the usual practice is that the system or model that correlates the greatest number of data, with the smallest number of unresolved contradictory data, is favored as the model most plausible to be correct. So both evolution and creation are essentially faith systems with claims of evidence to be considered.

Like most creationists, he has about a 12 year old’s understanding of how science operates. He thinks all science happens in a laboratory and that only experiments can confirm or disconfirm a theory. This, of course, will come as quite a shock to the thousands of scientists around the world whose fields of study are not open to simple experimental verification. Perhaps they should close up shop and go home. Then again, he is clearly ignorant of at least one such field, geology:

The evolutionist’s interpretation of the geological formations, for example, has caused many to think in terms of slowly accumulated strata. The evolutionist describes the earth as millions of years old — such is the heart of evolutionary theory…But all of what the scientist sees is not what it seems. A scientific examination of geological processes reveals that something cataclysmic occurred that transformed the world into the way it appears today. What we currently see in geological features is primarily the result of the Noahic flood as described in the book of Genesis and not evolutionary processes. The earth is still relatively young as the Bible reveals and not millions of years old as evolutions contend. Thus, I suggest it is the scientists’ interpretation of the data that often misleads.

Well, he is of course free to suggest that until he is blue in the face, but finding evidence to support it is quite another matter. The earth is not millions of years old but billions, 4.55 billion to be a bit more precise. If Mr. Creech has some way of explaining how all of the world’s limestone formations could have formed in a few thousand years, I’d love to hear them and I’m sure many geologists would as well. Or how to explain burrows and nesting sites that appear right in the middle of what is supposed to have been deposited by a raging flood.

Comments

  1. #1 Rob Knop
    April 3, 2006

    I am continually baffled by creationists’ talking about entropy and the second law of thermo.

    They just don’t get it.

    Many people would be surprised to learn that there is *less* “information” in a human being than there is in the same number of atoms spread out in a randomized gas cloud. It seems counter-intuitive, but if you’re defining information in a way that lets you use the second law of Thermo to talk about it (where information is basically entropy), then it’s true.

    Evolution doesn’t violate the second law of Thermo for many of the same reasons that the “humans as batteries” part of the movie “The Matrix” made no sense….

    -Rob

  2. #2 steve s
    April 3, 2006

    Just a month ago on Dembski’s blog, Dave Springer claimed that he violates the 2nd Law of Thermo each time he types a sentence. What a maroon.

  3. #3 RBH
    April 3, 2006

    From Creech’s screed

    In order for an organism to advance or evolve, energy must in some way be introduced, gained or increased. The Second Law, however, says this will not happen in any natural process unless external factors enter in to produce it.

    This immediately reminded me of a recent Infidels thread titled Fundamentalist Almost Discovers the Sun:

    One of the most basic laws in the universe is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This states that as time goes by, entropy in an environment will increase. Evolution argues differently against a law that is accepted EVERYWHERE BY EVERYONE. Evolution says that we started out simple, and over time became more complex. That just isn’t possible: UNLESS there is a giant outside source of energy supplying the Earth with huge amounts of energy. If there were such a source, scientists would certainly know about it. (Italics and other emphasis original)

    Yes, one certainly expects that they would know about it. Pardon me while I find my tinted glasses, then I’ll have a look around to see if I can find such a source.

  4. #4 mark
    April 3, 2006

    I’ve seen a lot of letters to editors written by ignorant cranks that display the same level of imbecility as Mr. Creech’s writing–why would any group want him as a spokesman? If we could round up half a dozen creationists, we could have a “Twit of the Year” competition.

  5. #5 Ginger Yellow
    April 3, 2006

    Then there’s the issue that engineers and mathematicians aren’t scientists.

  6. #6 pough
    April 3, 2006

    I have a fun scientific experiment for the children of creationists: to test how the 2nd law of thermodynamics affects life on earth go stare at the sun for 5 minutes on a sunny day. If your creationist parents are right, it will be a little boring and “Darwinists” are wrong. If, however, the evil Darwinists are right, you’ll lose your eyesight. Do you trust your parents or evil Darwinists?

  7. #7 Andrew Wade
    April 3, 2006

    I am continually baffled by creationists’ talking about entropy and the second law of thermo.

    Your reaction with respect to something that baffles you is to investigate it. You’d be interested in what the answer is. Appearently not so with creationists. “Creationists are often baffled at the way evolutionists seem to dismiss [the Second Law of Thermodynamics].” Yet it seems they don’t bother to find out why “evolutionists” dismiss the (applicability of) the law. Surely it can’t be that hard to find a kindly science student to explain that “external factors” do in fact “enter in to produce it” [a decrease of entropy]?

  8. #8 wheatdogg
    April 3, 2006

    “Big light in sky rises in east …”

    Creech is just parroting what he has read or heard elsewhere about entropy and thermo. They only reference their own sources, never outside ones. Your clever 5th grader would gone to wikipedia or the exploratorium to find out about entropy. Creech probably just asked Dembski.

  9. #9 Dave S.
    April 3, 2006

    RBH says:

    Yes, one certainly expects that they would know about it. Pardon me while I find my tinted glasses, then I’ll have a look around to see if I can find such a source.

    Thanks for the link. I especially like the argument that polar bears could not have evolved white coats since nothing hunts them so they’d have no need to hide. *L*

  10. #10 raj
    April 3, 2006

    RBH | April 3, 2006 11:34 AM

    This is truly hilarious, but I’ll merely point out two other familiar data points. Just open your refrigerator or turn on your air conditioner. Those implements provide a local reduction in entropy. Of course, the increase in entropy at the power plant (the electrical generator) more than makes up for the local reduction.

    Regarding

    Rob Knop | April 3, 2006 11:07 AM

    Many people would be surprised to learn that there is *less* “information” in a human being than there is in the same number of atoms spread out in a randomized gas cloud.

    It’s unfortunate that Shannon selected the term “entropy” as a measure of the amount of information contained in a code. Of course, that usage has nothing to do with thermodynamics, but I’m sure that Shannon could not have predicted that his usage would be so misused.

  11. #11 shargash
    April 3, 2006

    Pardon me while I find my tinted glasses, then I’ll have a look around to see if I can find such a source.

    I’d go out and look, but it’s too hot outside right now. I think I’ll wait till it cools down after dark. I’ll let you know what I find.

  12. #12 blogista
    April 3, 2006

    Yeah, RBH and Shargash, I might get on board with this whole Evolution business if it didn’t so blatantly break the 2nd Law. If only there were some constant, gigantic source of energy bathing the earth in heat, light, and radiation. I’m almost there, seriously, let me know if you find something. I’ll be at the beach.

  13. #13 schartman
    April 3, 2006

    Another bit of fiction relating to misunderstanding the 2nd Law is the notion that snowflakes crystallize out of amorphous water vapor. The only possible explanation is that an Intelligent Designer forms snowflakes by meticulously carving each one out of a large block of ice.

  14. #14 Ginger Yellow
    April 4, 2006

    I’m often baffled as to why creationists, or more specificially IDiots, think that 2LoTD is a problem for evolution but not development. Creationists can just about get away with it by saying that God is permanently acting to decrease entropy in the “system” of the organism, but I’ve never actually heard anyone address it directly. And how is ID supposed to reconcile them, when it can’t require a supernatural designer?

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.