Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.


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Public domain Image from Snappygoat.

I was in the library the other day, as is often my wont, minding my own business. Which consists of wandering through the shelves looking for interesting books. And, well, keeping an eye open for interesting women, one never knows. I digress, books though. I am scanning the new books shelf. And I see a book. “Replacing Darwin, the New Origin of Species.” A scientific illustration on the cover. A bunch of quotes by people with alphabet soup after their names on the back cover. Lots of technical science illustrations inside. 2018 book. OK, new developments in evolutionary theory, could be interesting. I check it out along with my usual eclectic assortment of books.

I get home. I open “Replacing Darwin.” Within minutes I realize I was terribly terribly wrong about this book. While it is filled with scientific illustrations and jargon, and to all outward appearance is a science book, it’s not. Not even close.  This book is a religious tract disguised as a science book. The word “evolutionist” was the first big clue, but it didn’t take much review to find stuff where I was like, wait, what? I didn’t read “Replacing Darwin, and am not going to read it, but this actual scientist read it twice, and here’s what he had to say.

Before I get into just why I find this book so disturbing, a brief deconstruction of a few paragraphs I came across, just to illustrate how intellectually dishonest this exercise in evolution denial is. Basically page 190 of the second printing. It starts off with a few pictures of fossil fish, one giving birth, the other eating another fish. Then makes the claim that fossils of such events must have been created by some cataclysm, the odds against them settling to the bottom without being scavenged etc are astronomical. The dishonest part is that paleontologists don’t claim fossils just form after animals die and settle to the bottom, fossilization is extremely rare, and often does result when an animal is quickly buried in a landslide or volcanic eruption. That the occasional animal is killed and buried suddenly is normal, no global cataclysm required to explain such, or any, fossils.

The next paragraph claims such fossils present a problem for geology and paleontology. Um, no, they don’t. And then mentions that some rock layers in the Grand Canyon once thought to be deposited in deserts now appear to be oceanic landslide deposits. Um, so what? That’s how science works, it is constantly correcting itself and improving our understanding of the world. Because science corrects its mistakes doesn’t imply some problem with the scientific method.

The book then goes on to state that a flood at Mount Saint Helens after the 1980 eruption cut a 100 foot deep canyon through new layers of volcanic ash in one day, and that the Grand Canyon could have been made just as quickly in a big enough flood. Um, volcanic ash is very soft and water easily erodes it away. A mile of freaking solid rock is in no way, shape, or form comparable to 100 feet of ash. No matter how big a flood is, it’s still going to take millions of years to make something like the Grand Canyon.

“Replacing Darwin” then goes on to make the sweeping generalization that the world’s fossils had all been made by catastrophic forces in the recent past. And the author trots out the soft tissue found in some dinosaur bones as “proof” of this. I guess if one already believed in a 6,000 year old Earth, this page must seem like a convincing argument. It just neglects to mention the literally nearly two centuries of evidence that the Earth is billions of years old. Basically the scientific debate about the age of the Earth was over in the early 19th century. The very Christian scientists of the day, people who had confidently thought that science would prove Genesis true, reluctantly realized that the evidence showed the Earth was at least millions of years old, and there was no evidence for a global flood. And no, the soft tissue found in some dinosaur bones is not evidence for a young Earth.

I could go on, but in a nutshell this book pretends that the scientific debate about the age of the Earth and the origin of species is ongoing. And carefully cherry picks all sorts of out of context scientific facts to use as windrow dressing that appear to support its position, while ignoring nearly two centuries of evidence and experiment that show beyond any reasonable doubt that the Earth is billions of years old and evolution is a fact. The book  also reinforces the creationist trope that science is basically opinion, and scientists more or less make stuff up to support their atheistic outlook on the Universe. Thus the term “evolutionists” to imply that belief in evolution is equivalent to a belief in creationism. No. Scientists study the evidence and follow where it goes. Creationists start with a conclusion then search for “evidence” that supports it. Big difference.

The sad thing is that a lot of people will fall for this book, and use it to “teach” children about a “controversy” that doesn’t exist, and worse, to promote the idea that there is scientific support for creationism. Basically if one wants to believe a God created Earth 6,000 odd years ago, then for whatever reason God created an Earth that appears to be about 4 ½ billion years old down to the finest detail. Not sure why a God would do that, but theology isn’t an interest of mine. Want to make up sciency props to support one’s beliefs that are contravened by evidence, one is not only insulting science and logic, one is admitting the weakness of their belief. If Young Earth Creationism was supported by the geologic and fossil record, there would be no need for fake evidence like this book or the Creation Museum. There would be plenty of science books and museums devoted to teaching it.

Myself, God’s not a problem. If a God did make me and the Universe, they did so via the Big Bang and Evolution. Generations of very smart people used the brains God gave them to figure that out. Pretty sure that’s why God gave us brains, to figure out the amazing Universe he has been creating for billions of years. Not to memorize and regurgitate Iron Age myths.

Have a great week everyone. God bless.

(Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.


Written by unitedcats

May 22, 2019 at 11:03 am

Posted in Religion, Science

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