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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Jonathan Wells Fails Again

Jonathan Wells has an interesting (if misguided) article at the Disco Institute website:

Wells on why Evolution is doomed

For those who don't know, Jonathan Wells is a moonie who went to college solely to learn how to attack evolution. Wells, as is typical of the theologically based socio-political discomasters, tries to distinguish between evolution and something he refers to as Darwinism. This is a typical ploy used by creationists in order to say "Hey look, we look at the world scientifically". We even re-define terms. Evolution includes everything from small changes in populations of organisms to large changes in populations that occur over time. My point in this blog is not to discuss evolution per se, but to show some of the other absurdities in the article. It does not take long. Wells states:

A study published Aug. 11 in the pro-Darwin magazine Science attributes this primarily to biblical fundamentalism, even though polls have consistently shown that half of the Americans who reject Darwinism are not biblical fundamentalists. Could it be that the American people are skeptical of Darwinism because they're smarter than Darwinists think?

What has Wells done here? Obviously to answer that the American people are dumb is not going to win any points. Wells makes this a false dichotomy. Either evolutionists have to answer that the American people are dumb or answer that they are smarter than Darwinists (whoever THEY are) think. The truth is that the American people vary in intelligence, wealth, occupation and just about any other measure that you can think of. The reason the American people are skeptical of Darwinism (evolution) is because they don't understand what evolution is. They are constantly barraged with misinformation about evolution from religiously based groups (like the Discovery Institute, Answers in Genesis and others). Scientists, unfortunately don't barrage people with information about evolution because they are too busy being scientists. The skepticism of the American people is misguided however intelligent they are. Most Americans don't learn much biology beyond high school. College curricula allow students to take more biology, but by and large these are intro courses that touch on evolution, but not deeply. On the other hand, the anti-evolution lobby works hard and long to distribute technically sounding misinformation. People doubt evolution because they are being told to doubt evolution and not because evolution is a failed theory. Those same doubters are probably alive (or at least healthy) because of evolutionary biology and the medical advances made through evolutionary research.

Mr. Wells, the American people are not dumb, but your institute is doing everything it can to make them a little dumber by pretending that evolution is a theory in crisis.


Joe Meert

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Hovind, the Tax guy and his sheep

This Friday, one "Dr." Kent Hovind (young earth creationist from Pensacola Florida) and his wife were convicted of numerous counts of income tax evasion and other tax-related crimes. Kent's defense was that because he works for God, he does not owe any taxes. This absurd defense is not surprising since Kent is full of other absurd logic. Kent once claimed, for example, that the speed of light is not constant because if you are driving down the road at 60 mph and turn on your lights, the speed of light is 'c'. However to a person on the side of the road, the speed of light is 'c+60 mph'. My point in blogging this court case is not to discuss the illogic of Hovind's defense or even to gloat about his conviction. The more interesting phenomenon is how Kent's followers view his conviction. Here's one scary comment:

"You seem to revel in the misfortunes of Dr. Kent Hovind. This is because you are spiritually blinded and a child of Satan. Until a person is "born-again" they are enemies of God. You attack the messenger of the Word of God but your real problem is that you hate God. You must admit that you are a sinner and fear God. The problem is that people love their sin and despise the goodness of Jesus. So it is natural that you would appreciate the perceived defeat of Dr. Kent Hovind. But Mr. Hovind loves God with all his heart and is right now (in jail) praising His name and thanking him for all His blessings. He is praying for his enemies as we speak. This is a real trial for sure for the Hovinds but they know that their Lord and Saviour will vindicate and use this trial to further the gospel. Amen. The Church grows during persecution! "

What is scary about this post is that the writer misses several key points. Hovind is not above the law. Jesus was not above the law and Jesus understood this quite clearly. Hovind committed a crime and he must pay the price for that crime. The church was not on trial here, Kent Hovind was. The Church is not being persecuted here, Kent and Jo Hovind are being prosecuted for purposefully disobeying the law. Kent's loyal followers have bought into his baloney hook, line and sinker. They'll continue to praise him and when he does get out of prison they'll revere him as a hero of God. Hovind will probably do some time, but it's unlikely that either he, or his followers will learn anything from this experience.


Joe Meert

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