Pharyngula

It takes a fool to deny the obvious

Neil Shubin reports that Bible tracts have begun appearing in copies of his book, Your Inner Fish, in bookstores. He even has photographic evidence.

shubintract

This is remarkable news. We now know how bible tracts are made: they are degenerate forms descended from more complex and sophisticated texts, and they appear spontaneously when two pages, who love each other very much, are pressed together. They’re kind of like coke cans that way, arising without human intervention.

cokecan

Oh, except that you’d have to be an idiot to think that.

The thing is, we know how coke cans (and bible tracts) are made: these are objects that are constructed by human beings. They do not have an independent capability to replicate. We actually have evidence for how aluminum cans are made, so we know the explanation given in that tract is false.

We also know that that is not how biological organisms are made. If we see something like, say, a rabbit, we know and have evidence for the fact that it was not punched out of an aluminum disc in a factory, and that it doesn’t even require any kind of external agency to make copies of rabbits: just put two of them together and wait. We can probe deeper and determine that the construction of a single rabbit involves nothing other than the autonomous activity of cells going through mitosis and meiosis and fusion and proliferation and development — that it is a natural property of cells to carry out these activities.

Furthermore, we know that rabbit replication is imperfect, and that reproduction produces variants. These variants are naturally selected in their environment, and that the properties of the population as a whole gradually change over time. We can also compare different populations over time and see the effects of this slow divergence, and we can compare different species and see the similarities and differences…and determine that the differences arose by the same mechanisms we witness in individual replication.

To deny evolution as a property of living organisms is analogous to denying that there are machines that stamp out cans from sheets of aluminum. We know the mechanisms and the process for both. I think I pass the atheist test: you’d have to be a fool or have an ulterior motive to deny the known processes that build aluminum cans and rabbits, and further, to try and imply that aluminum cans and rabbits have to be built by similar designed mechanisms.

But wait! What about bible tracts arising in science books? Isn’t that evidence of a novel mechanism of book replication?

No, because we can also use reason and evidence to puzzle out the origin of the tract.

Everyone familiar with that kind of argument saw that page, groaned, and said, “Fucking Ray Comfort again.” He’s been making this same pathetic, inappropriate, stupid argument for over a decade, and he never learns. It’s kind of sad, actually. You read further and find that the tract makes the “every building has a builder, every painting has a painter” argument (so every rabbit has a rabbiter somewhere?), sets up the false dichotomy that your only choice is that the universe was built by a designer or it was constructed entirely by accident, says that the only way you can know there is no god is if you have total, absolute knowledge of everything in the universe, and asks whether you’ve ever violated any of the ten commandments in any way, making you a sinner who is damned to hell.

It’s the Ray Comfort schtick through and through. Reason tells me that the source is Comfort, or one of his deluded acolytes.

Then there’s evidence. If I suspect Comfort is the source, all I have to do is search the Living Waters website for this tract, and presto, there it is. Eighteen cents apiece, purchasable in bulk quantities of 100. How mundane.

It’s easy to figure out where Comfort tracts come from. Biology is harder. There are a lot more details, and it all happens on a microscopic scale, and requires knowledge of physics and chemistry to work through, but scientists all around the world who have the requisite expertise have worked out where cells and organisms come from, and the answer is…evolution. Four billion years of trial and error replication, examinable in bulk quantities filling an entire planet.

Only fools and people with an ulterior motive deny it.

Comments

  1. #1 yellowdoggranny
    West, Texas
    June 26, 2016

    talking facts to stupid people is a waste of time..just spent 45 minutes talking to a West Cop who thinks everyone should be armed, Donald speaks his mind, and everyone should be allowed to get a gun without checks cause it’s their responsibility to get trained on the gun…arghghghghghghgghgh

  2. #2 See Noevo
    June 26, 2016

    “[Coke cans] do not have an independent capability to replicate. We actually have evidence for how aluminum cans are made, so we know the explanation given in that tract is false…
    you’d have to be a fool or have an ulterior motive to deny the known processes that build aluminum cans and rabbits, and further, to try and imply that aluminum cans and rabbits have to be built by similar designed mechanisms.”

    But a can of coke CAN REPLICATE, after it becomes ALIVE.

    Surely, you must agree.
    For you believe in abiogenesis, don’t you, PZ?
    You know, that hypothetical phenomenon which has never been observed in nature nor coerced in any lab?

    You have chemicals/elements (in the can shell), and sugars, and perhaps most importantly, WATER – the supposed sine qua non.
    Given enough time, who knows?
    “LIFE TAKES HOLD”, as Ethan Siegel would say.

    And then that coke life becomes a rabbit,
    eventually.

    Certainly, you would agree.
    ……….
    “Furthermore, we know that rabbit replication is imperfect, and that reproduction produces variants. These variants are naturally selected in their environment, and that the properties of the population as a whole gradually change over time.”

    Yes. The brown bunny may produce a variant white bunny. And that white bunny produces variants that are polar bears.

    Over a long TIME, of course.

    Thank God, I mean Man, for his infallible measurement of DEEP Father TIME.
    With Father Deep Time, ALL things are possible.
    Amen.

  3. #3 See Noevo
    June 26, 2016

    Speaking of rabbits… and surrealism…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XR8LFNUr3vw

    P.S. to PZ
    Stay away from the psychedelics.

  4. #4 dean
    United States
    June 26, 2016

    “But a can of coke CAN REPLICATE, after it becomes ALIVE.”

    You never fail to bring the monumentally stupid along with your dishonesty sn. You are truly pathetic.

  5. #5 Brightmoon
    NYC
    June 26, 2016

    sn -um , you do realize that your post shows an appalling lack of geology as well . A Coke can left alone thru deep time will eventually become either a rock of some kind or it will dissolve

  6. #6 Brightmoon
    NYC
    June 26, 2016

    Every single time I see a creationist post . I am thoroughly reminded of that old song by the Tams – “What kind of fool ( do you think I am)”. It’s on YouTube if you wanna hear it;)

  7. #7 Anneb
    June 27, 2016

    The can was made by its maker, that’s obvious enough, if you want, you can even go and see that happen.

    However, if you’d go and see the making of rabbits or humans, that is not considered good christian conduct.

    Setting aside good conduct, we can all witness the making of coke cans, rabbits and even humans by their makers. It would be foolish to suppose there must be some other, invisible, maker involved: if we can see the can being made in a factory by man, why should we even consider believing it just appeared on some rock in the universe?

    The complex coke can was created in a complex factory. The factory was created by complex man. Man was created by their parents. Their parents came from their parents parents and so on.

    We don’t know what the first parent of all parents looked like. Some say, he looks like Adam, others say it is more likely some kind of replicating molecule inside a protecting bubble of fatty molecules.

    If we deny the possibility of simple origins and thus life must have a designer, then surely such a designer cannot itself be simple. But if the designer is not simple, should it not be explained how the designer was designed? Did the designer of the designer just pop into existance on some rock in the universe? That really sounds even more preposterous than a can of coke popping into existance.

  8. #8 hidrolik asansör
    Türkiye
    June 27, 2016
  9. #9 zincirli vinçler
    Türkiye
    June 27, 2016
  10. #10 akülü istif makinası
    Türkiye
    June 27, 2016
  11. #11 caraskal
    Türkiye
    June 27, 2016
  12. #12 elektrikli istif makinesi
    Türkiye
    June 27, 2016
  13. #13 Tim H.
    Western Missouri
    June 27, 2016

    Feeling a temptation to s=print up some copies of “First to be Eaten”, just the thing to slip into a copy of “The Desire of Ages”.

  14. #14 Chris
    Salem
    June 27, 2016

    Kind of a lame tract. It’s like Jack Chick isn’t even trying anymore.

  15. #15 Wizard Suth
    Canada
    June 27, 2016

    An Earth couple is abducted by Martians and taken back to Mars. The Martians tell them not to worry, they’ve only been abducted so the Martians can understand humans better, and they will soon be released.

    After a day of friendly discussion, the Martian leader says, “We’re just about done with you, but we have one more request. Could you show us how you make new humans?”

    The couple look a bit embarassed, but decide that in the interests of interplanetary harmony they should demonstrate the process. When they’re finished, the Martian leader says, “How disappointing!”

    The couple asks, “Disappointing? Why?”

    “Because that is how we make automobiles.”

  16. #16 Hank
    think I need a small vacation ...
    June 28, 2016

    Organ Cave, West Virginia, A National & Historic Landmark…
    http://www.organcave.com/
    Our tours … are based on the Book of Genesis of the King James Version of the Bible.

  17. […] a can of Coke, such as the one pictured above (public domain image, courtesy of Wikipedia). Over at Pharyngula, Myers wastes no time in demolishing this […]

  18. […] a can of Coke, such as the one pictured above (public domain image, courtesy of Wikipedia). Over at Pharyngula, Myers wastes no time in demolishing this […]

  19. #19 gil
    July 5, 2016

    so if i will find a self replicating watch with dna- i need to conclude that this watch evolved?

  20. #20 The Matrix/DNA
    Amazon Jungle
    July 6, 2016

    Creationists and atheists world views are both “magical thinking” due a fundamental mistake: they are forgetting the naturalist systemic perspective. Any living thing is a system, a systemic biological organization of matter and energy. And systems can only coming from other system. Nobody had discovered a system coming from a part or piece of a system, neither from something not belonging to a system.
    So, the first amino-acids were systems in itself, made by atoms systems and this astronomical system. Since that atoms system are too much simple, and galactic systems are lots more complex, the logic’s suggests that amino-acids were a production of astronomic nanotechnology, like human genome, chromosomes,ovules, are products of human natural nanotechnology.

    Following this line of logics we got a new world view called Matrix/DNA where a new theoretical astronomicaland atomic model fits just as the ancestors of the first living cell.

    Now the problem would be:but the first system, be it an atom or an elementar particle composed by other smaller particles as a system, where it came from?

    We found that all these natural systems were made by a unique natural formula. Thenm we found that any universal set of radiation performing a light wave has the same formula for systems. Conclusion? The forst natural system in this Universe and perceptible dimension was a light wave.

    Where the light wave came from? No other simplest thing in this Universe was detected as ” the light wave producer”. Our method of rationalization is suggesting that the first natural light wave worked as the genome of some ex-machine entity. If so, this Universe is merely a kind of egg where is occurring a natural process of genetic reproduction of the systemic thing that produced it. Is is God? If you want call it by that name, remember that it is not magical, it does things by natural process. Is is a big absolute chance? If you want call it by tat name, remember that it is a phenomena that is being reproduced exactly like it happened once, so, when this process arriv to an end, it will not be the absolute chance, because it would be an event that has been repeated.

    What matters here is the final moral concept from this world view: we are 8 billion genes plus trilion og genes spread in this Universe building a kind of baby. So, each of us – as gene – has a unique, specific, not mimicked, not able to be stolen – information. It is our mission and we are not concious about that. If one of us dies not do his/her job, the baby will born handcapped. So, let yours brother free for doing its mission. If creationism, atheism or Matrixism are wrong interpretations of this world, our inner mission will correct our wrong beliefs. And we got correction every time that we learn someting new about the Universal Nature. That’s why I made the Amazon jungle my second house: there are plenty of natural phenomena for learning there.

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