I get email

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.

  1. 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?

  2. 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.)

  3. 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.

  4. 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.


  1. #1 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 2, 2008

    something like the right recurrent laryngeal nerve makes no sense as a design

    Stupid design.

    Oh for…LEFT recurrent, not right. Sorry.

    No, no — both:

    “It is referred to as ‘recurrent’ because the branches of the nerve innervate the laryngeal muscles in the neck through a rather circuitous route: they descend down into the thorax before rising up between the trachea and esophagus to reach the neck.

    The left branch loops under and around the arch of the aorta (ligamentum arteriosum) before ascending, whereas the right branch loops around the right subclavian artery.

    The nerve splits into anterior and posterior rami before supplying muscles in the voice box — it supplies all laryngeal muscles except for the cricothyroid, which is innervated by the external branch of the superior laryngeal nerve.”

    Could someone who has experience with real peer-reviewed research comment on the difference between these references and the average scientific paper?

    If it were a real scientific paper in this kind of field in biology, the vast majority of the references would be no more than 20 years old, and over half would probably be no more than 5 years old. If you like, I can send you my first paper (with all appendices — they have their own references) so you can do statistics.

    The number of references is also rather small, but given the fact that it’s just a review paper — no results — that restricts itself to reviewing old research and adds “Goddidit”, this is not unexpected…

    I’d like to know how Mark H. Armitage, “M.S.” reacted to this:

    Wow. That’s fun to read. :-D

  2. #2 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 2, 2008

    sometimes there really aren’t more recent relevant articles for a particular topic

    Yes — but articles with such reference lists typically contain lots of new results that finally revive a field that has laid dormant since 1935. Not zero new results like this one.

    just which part is the baby part with these cool critters????

    A question worth pondering.

  3. #3 ??????
    April 3, 2008

    Pharyngulaville and Framingham

    ????????? ? ???????????