Noooooo! I’m a proud graduate of the University of Oregon, and I think Eugene is a wonderful place…and now I learn that damned dumb creationists were drooling stupidly in the student union. Three creationists lectured on their nonsense there.

There was Tom Alderman.

There is “a mountain of evidence that the universe was designed,” he said.

“Design has been proven to an extreme probability,” he said.

No, there is no evidence for design, let alone “proof” of design—even the fact that he is talking about proof shows that he knows nothing about how science works.

At least he nakedly revels in the religious foundation of Intelligent Design creationism.

“I’m confident that Genesis is true,” he said. “God’s deity and power are revealed in the cosmos.”

Alderman said that the Big Bang must have had a cause that is timeless and immaterial.

“It sounds like the God from the Bible,” he said.

Alderman’s qualification to pontificate on this subject is that he’s a lawyer. A Republican lawyer. Surprised?

Then there’s Geoffrey Simmons.

Simmons said many animals, such as giraffes and blue whales, have no fossils on record or any record of species from which they could have evolved. Simmons said intelligent design supports the theories of natural selection and survival of the fittest, but neither of those theories proves evolution.

“Billions of years isn’t enough time,” Simmons said. “Nobody has shown that a dog can become a cat.”

Evolution of whales? No fossil giraffes? Jebus, do I even need to mention that this bs about dogs evolving into cats is insane? This guy is totally out to lunch.

His qualifications? He’s an MD (Sorry, Orac.) If I ever visit Eugene again, I’m going to try and stay very healthy.

Next up, Jim Long. A professor at UO! Fortunately, he doesn’t say anything nearly as stupid as the other two guys, but man, he ought to be embarrassed by the company he is keeping; could he at least have had the integrity to point out that his fellow speakers were making up nonsense?

Long said that he does not include evolution in his curriculum; instead, he teaches that a creator designed the cell with impressive power and subtlety.

He’s an emeritus professor of chemistry who seems to be teaching a bit of general and organic chemistry. I doubt that he has much opportunity to teach that baloney about cells—cells and evolution wouldn’t be in his purview.

There are only a few comments on the article at the Daily Emerald site, but at least they’re all pointing out that these speakers were full of it.

Wilkins takes apart the pathetic trio piece by piece, and I’m informed that the honor of the UO is saved by the fact that Eugenie Scott will be giving two lectures there next week, and Bruce Alberts will be lecturing on the teaching of evolution the week after that.


  1. #1 Kristine
    May 4, 2006

    There is a “mountain of evidence” for design? Agh! Where have I heard the phrase “mountains of evidence” before? I call theft from Dawkins!

    “Simmons, author of ‘What Darwin Didn’t Know’…” I think you’re being ripped off here, too, PZ. “[Simmons] said the improbability of our solar system being placed in The Milky Way Galaxy, a safe place away from black holes or exploding stars, shows an intelligent designer.” So why, pray tell, are those nasty black holes out there in the first place? No, don’t tell me. I’m sure they have an answer (like, “Universes that think naughtly thoughts get blackheads”).

    “He said the location of our planet in relation to the sun — the perfect distance to avoid scalding off our skin or freezing it the bone — shows a designer as well.” Well, hell, I’ll just run around without sunscreen or a coat and see how long I last. At least the comments were funny. “Those three Stooges didn’t know what they were talking about.” Priceless.

  2. #2 Sastra
    May 5, 2006

    “‘Isn’t it wonderful that God put us here on earth, where there’s water and air and the surface temperature and gravity are so comfortable, rather than some horrid place, like Mercury or Pluto?’ Where else in the solar system other than on earth could we have evolved?” (Steven Weinberg)

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