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.
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.