My criticism of Mark Armitage’s “research” published in the ICR “journal” seems to have struck a nerve — he just sent me (and his colleagues at the ICR) an angry letter in which I think he is attempting sarcasm, he just isn’t very good at at it. Poor baby. Here it is:
I am SO THANKFUL and indebted to Paul Myers for the carefully crafted and dispassionate published critique (above) of my work on the complexity of certain trematodes. I especially appreciate the way it was pubished in a peer-reviewed journal such as Parasitology Research or the Journal of Parasitology (oops – I got that wrong didn’t I, a blog is just a rag isn’t it?). Well the ICC is coming up again in August and he is only a 16 hour drive away, so maybe he will mount a critique there…
In addition, I find his comments about the r versus K strategy discussion most illuminating (again oops – he ignored all that didn’t he?). It sure seems logical to me now that evolution would send an organism through three different hosts in order to finally make babies – that being the most expedient method and all….
Finally, I did not know that “Complexity not only fails to be a strike against evolution, it’s an expected outcome of evolution.” This was at once all heartwarming and equally shocking.
Evolution is so plastic – it can explain everything! Such a grand unifying theory! To think that a stochastic, mechanistic random shuffling of genes can work such miracles of complexity – thank you Paul Myers!
Oh well, I will keep my eye on the journals for his work on this, and will look for him in Pittsburgh.
With kind regards to all.
Mark H. Armitage, M.S., Ed.S
Van Andel Creation Research Center
Creation Research Society
Let’s deal with this paragraph by paragraph.
Since Complex life cycles in heterophyid trematodes: structural and developmental design in the ascocotyle complex of species was not worthy to be published in Parasitology Research or the Journal of Parasitology, I hardly think a dismissal of its poor quality requires the prestige of those worthy journals. Oh, how it must rankle that only a single lowly professor self-publishing in an online rag took the time to read and criticize his work. Did you submit it to the legitimate parasitology journals? How loud was the laughter from the editors?
There is one paragraph in the paper on r- and K-strategists. I didn’t pay too much attention to it because it did not break through my consciousness that this was the first paper ever to study the development-reproduction tradeoff in long-term ecological adaptation by studying neither development nor reproduction nor ecology nor evolution, and that analyzed the strategic options of populations with no population data at all. Who would have thought one could study that with a few SEMs of individual trematodes? My hat is off to you, sir. I would have thought it impossible, unrealistic, and irrelevant, but you have convinced yourself that you have done it.
(Pssst. Evolution isn’t about expediency. You should know that.)
Mr Armitage was shocked? Why? Look at the date on this paper:
H. J. Muller (1939) Reversibility in Evolution Considered from the Standpoint of Genetics. Biological Reviews 14: 261-80.
You know, “stochastic, mechanistic random shuffling of genes” certainly will produce amazing amounts of complexity, far more than we see in organisms. Fortunately, we also have this non-random process called “selection” that constrains rampant randomness to a more limited functionality. That was an idea that was figured out in 1859. Maybe Mr Armitage needs to work a little harder on keeping up with the contemporary literature.
I am sorry, but I won’t be joining Armitage and his peers at the International Conference on Creationism in Pittsburgh. I’m also sorry to say that no scientists will be attending that meeting. Look on the bright side, though: there won’t be anybody there to see the obvious deficiencies of the ICR’s pretense at research! Do try to include some of those little things called “results” in your presentation, though.