Brilliant Pro-ID Letters

To give you some idea of just how sophisticated and well educated our opponents are on evolution and ID, just look at some of the letters to the editor in the Detroit Free Press. My personal favorite:

Here are my questions for those who believe in evolution: How did the Big Bang happen? How is it that water appeared on this new planet we call Earth? How is it that life suddenly appeared after this bang?

And this person can vote. Yikes.

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I like this one:

For anyone against teaching intelligent design in schools because of lack of proof, I only ask to consider the argument for evolution a little more closely, including:

For thousands of years, birds have built nests but progressed no further. Apes and bears hunted for food and shelter but progressed no further.

You see, if evolution were true, then birds should be building condos by now and bears should be shopping for their food at the Piggly-Wiggly.

But to be fair, some of the letters were also quite good. Like this one:

I find it appalling that a candidate for governor, as well as many politicians in the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate, wish to politicize science education and mix it with religion for their own political gain.

They do no favor for science, religion or the state of Michigan in doing so.

Intelligent design is not science, and it's not even good religion. Sadly, however, it does seem to be good politics, and that fact bodes ill for our state and nation in an increasingly scientific and competitive world.

Jeffrey L. Charles

Roseville

I think Alice Benbow sums it up best:

"My 4-year-old son said, regarding evolution: "Momma, that is the funniest thing I have ever heard."

Out of the mouths of babes."

Because the best test for a scientific theory is to run it by a child. This says something about the mental prowess of fundie voters, in general, and the YEC/OEC/ID proponents specifically. But fleshing it out to a joke would result in it going over their heads anyway.

"And this person can vote. Yikes."

Worse still, he is allowed to reproduce.

Yeah, those "This issue is so simple, even a child can understand it" arguments piss me off the most. So WTF are scientists doing with their lives? Somehow, we're all complete idiots, but once in a while we miraculously manage to figure something out, like how to split an atom or land on the moon.

"Do the evolutionists really think that evolution, if true, stops at the species of man?"

Um...no?

"I hope they are willing to admit and teach that we are only a blink of an eye in the evolutionary process."

Funny, I think this pro-ID argument has just proven our point....

I think my personal favorite is from Susan Zonca:

And somehow a cell became an amoeba, a turtle, a horse, an ape and then yes, that ape became a man?

And in the next paragraph:

I challenge you, speak from an intelligent platform that researches both sides of the issue and draw intelligent conclusions.

Perhaps that explains my love of both seaweed and hay.

Are we really supposed to take these people seriously? Most of the people I know that support ID have no concept of what ID actually is, and they also don't understand even the simplest concepts of evolutionary theory. They simply react because evolution is "godless" and ID isn't...or at least, that's what their [insert religious leader here] told them.

I'm heartened by the number of pro-evolution comments, especially when they were more lucid and to the point than the birds-make-nests and my-4-year-old-gets-it comments.

(and on the 4 year old line, a mother who doesn't believe in evolution tells her 4 year old about it, likely in less than glowing terms and is suprised when the 4 year old, looking for his mother's approval, finds it a bad idea? that mother needs lessons in biology and child psychology!)

I am absolutely sick of this business about randomness in evolution. Evolution is not random.

Jason, I feel that we should take these people seriously, as trying as it can seem. Their problem as I see it is ignorance. What we should do is approach the ones we know and nudge them bit by bit. I have a friend who two nights ago said of Creationists "We aren't all crazy." I'm actually trying to nudge her into the light bit by bit. There's plenty of hope b/c we're sophmores in college so we have resources and one of our friends is an atheist in the vein of Douglas Adams (who was with us Sunday night actually). She's a huge sci-fi fan too, so (take a moment to shake your head or something. I did ask for it) so we may have a platform. We may have to aim low a first.

I remember when I ran the theory of general relativity by my 4-year old nephew. "Uncle Rick," he said, "that's the silliest thing I've ever heard" and then he proceeded to correct an error I had made in describing space-time.

Aren't we lucky to have 4-year olds to serve as referees for advanced scientific concepts!

I note that a common theme of many of the stupid comments is the failure to realize that science long ago rejected the notion of the "ladder of progress" (which was really just a disguised form of the "great chain of being" from medieval theology). Evolution doesn't take a species to some sort of idealized Ultimate Form; rather it takes to the ability to survive in an appropriate niche. It's not a form of "progress," since talking about progress implies a consciously desired endpoint, something that simply doesn't exist in evolution.

Can I answer?

How did the Big Bang happen?

The best scientific model is that our bang exploded from a singularity, perhaps a black hole, in another galaxy. In the multiverse model, there are infinite number of universes, each with different physical constants, so that all possibilities obtain. The reason why this universe is how it is as opposed to some other way is pure anthropic bias.

How is it that water appeared on this new planet we call Earth?

Hydrogen is abundant throughout the universe. The higher elements were formed through nucleosynthesis in our sol, which seeded the planets with heavy elements. Abundant hydrogen and oxygen combined during early earth formation, under atmospheric pressure, to form liquid phase dihydrogen monoxide, ie, water.

How is it that life suddenly appeared after this bang?

"Suddenly" is a relative term. It took at least 300 million years after the earth cooled for cellular life to form. However, the short answer to the question: self-organizing, auto-catalytic chemistry (life) evolved, most likely, through self-hybridizing ribonucleotides which formed from elements that were abundant in the early organic soup, catalyzed initially by lightning.

Piece of cake. Does he have any more?

My 4-year-old son said, regarding evolution: "Momma, that is the funniest thing I have ever heard."

When I was three, I couldn't comprehend how there were voices coming out of the radio (I tried to break the radio open). I guess since I couldn't understand circuits, that proves that radios have elves in them.

Martin,

The best scientific model is that our bang exploded from a singularity, perhaps a black hole, in another galaxy. In the multiverse model, there are infinite number of universes, each with different physical constants, so that all possibilities obtain. The reason why this universe is how it is as opposed to some other way is pure anthropic bias.

This, of course, is pseudo science in its own right (it's also poorly worded--a black hole, in another galaxy? Not to mention that the big bang is not an explosion (no outward pressure.) All multiverse models (you wrote "the" multiverse model--no such beastie) are highly speculative and, so far, untestable--perhaps even in principle.

The big bang is on very solid ground. No multiverse theory is. To mix the two in the same description as if they were of comparable standing is to do an injustice to the big bang.

This, of course, is pseudo science in its own right (it's also poorly worded--a black hole, in another galaxy?

Yes, I meant "universe." A slip. The multiverse model is speculative, but all hypotheses are. We would need data from high energy physics to verify it. However, multiverse and many worlds are the best explanation-space that we have for cosmological and quantum data.

To mix the two in the same description as if they were of comparable standing is to do an injustice to the big bang.

I was providing the model most widely accepted within cosmology as to what caused the Big Bang, which is not the same as explaining the Big Bang. Obviously they are on different theoretical and empirical grounds, but the author asked about the cause of the Big Bang, so it's kind of hard to talk about that without actually talking about the Big Bang.

Although it's interesting, because my model of the evolution of life is also quite speculative, but you didn't seem to have a problem with that.

Martin,

Although it's interesting, because my model of the evolution of life is also quite speculative, but you didn't seem to have a problem with that.

Well, I'm a physicist, not a biologist, so it's not so surprising.

I'm a biophysicist, and I had problems with both.