email - November 2018

Sam is back!

Your favorite hater strikes again!

We first heard from Sam on May 6, 2014. He sent a series of emails back then, some of which we published 1 2 3 4 5 6; but we hadn’t heard from him for more than three years.

Sam’s Previous Complaints

Sam’s emails consist mostly of personal attacks, and attacks on religion. We have tried to get him to give us any example of anything we have written which is factually incorrect. In March, 2015, he had to go back to an essay 8 we wrote in January of 2003 (twelve years before his email) to come up with something. Here’s a summary of that article:

In 2003, the newest “proof” that humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor was the “fact” that human DNA and ape DNA are 98% identical. This claim was based on a ground-breaking article by Fujiyama titled “Construction and Analysis of a Human-Chimpanzee Comparative Clone Map.” 9 We quoted extensively from Fujiyama’s article and showed that when he described their method, he explained why they didn’t compare the whole genome. They compared just a few fractions of the human and ape genomes that were most similar. Based on his published numbers, we summarized Fujiyama’s results this way: “If you look at less than 1/100th of the total genome, you can find areas that are 98.77% similar!”

Sam didn’t object to any of that. Instead, he objected to the section of our analysis in which we admitted that there is a certain amount of genetic similarity between humans and other animals, but went on to argue that although similarity might be evidence of common ancestry, it could just as well be considered to be evidence of common design.

Perhaps in our original article we should have given an example showing that sometimes similarity really is the result of common ancestry. Some brothers look very much like each other even if they aren’t twins. On the other hand, some brothers don’t look anything like each other. Similarity isn’t always associated with common ancestry.

Instead, we chose to emphasize the fact that similarity isn’t necessarily the result of common ancestry—it could be the result of common design. The example we used was the fact that whenever a fan belt is used to connect a motor to something, the motor is nearly always mounted using a bracket which allows the motor to be moved slightly so that the belt tension can be properly adjusted. Unrelated machines have a similar movable mounting bracket because it is the best way to tension a fan belt. Here’s the point: When there is only one solution to a problem, all designers will be forced to converge on that single solution.

In the past 15 years, evolutionists have learned a lot more about DNA, and they are finding similar genes in species which clearly do not have a common ancestor. “Convergent evolution” is the excuse evolutionists now invoke to reconcile evolutionary predictions with contradictory biological observations.

Convergent evolution is the independent evolution of similar features in species of different lineages. Convergent evolution creates analogous structures that have similar form or function but were not present in the last common ancestor of those groups. The cladistic term for the same phenomenon is homoplasy. The recurrent evolution of flight is a classic example, as flying insects, birds, pterosaurs, and bats have independently evolved the useful capacity of flight. … In morphology, analogous traits arise when different species live in similar ways and/or a similar environment, and so face the same environmental factors. When occupying similar ecological niches (that is, a distinctive way of life) similar problems can lead to similar solutions. 9

In other words, if you look at survival as a problem to be solved, there are just a few limited ways to solve the problem of existence in a hostile world. Evolutionists believe random chance will converge on those few viable solutions because all other approaches fail. So, just as many unrelated designers use similar mounting brackets to make it possible to adjust the tension of a fan belt, evolutionists claim that many unrelated species accidentally evolved similar genes to perform a necessary survival skill. In those cases, similarity is not evidence of common ancestry. Convergent evolution really is no different from our mounting bracket analogy. The similarity is the result of necessity, not ancestry.

This begs the question, “Why is it wrong for us to say similarity is not incontrovertible evidence of common ancestry if it isn’t wrong for evolutionists to say the same thing?” The honest answer is, “Once an evolutionist admits that similarity isn’t evidence for common ancestry, he has lost his primary argument for evolution.”

Evolutionists try to have it both ways. When similarity confirms their prejudice, similarity is iron-clad proof of common ancestry. When similarity isn’t consistent with their belief, it means nothing.

Sam’s Missing Background

Because Sam’s latest email was so poorly written, it took us some time to figure out just what his complaint was. Before we show you his email, we have to provide the background that Sam failed to include so you will know what he is talking about.

Last month’s essay on the Hox gene began with the premise, “It is commonly claimed that anyone who is anti-evolution is anti-science because many people equate ‘evolution’ with ‘science.’ That’s a false equivalence because the theory of evolution is unscientific.” 10

The rest of our essay was an explanation of why we believe that, using a peer-reviewed article which told how some evolutionists “elucidate two long-standing problems in animal evolution: the ancient function of the homeobox (Hox) gene cluster, which has puzzled scientists for decades, and the centuries-old debate on the emergence of the segmented animal body.”

We quoted long sections of that article, despite the fact that such long and boring quotations might cause readers to stop reading. We took that risk because we wanted to be fair, and to protect ourselves from criticism that we were taking little snippets of the article out of context to distort them. We made every effort to present their findings as clearly as possible.

Our conclusion was, “When scientists start with the presumption of evolution, they get distracted trying to figure out when in evolutionary history Hox genes evolved, how they evolved, and which species evolved from what other species. They wind up with unsolved relationships, notes of caution, caveats, and all sorts of speculation that has absolutely no value.”

Speculation is not really science. Science discovers laws of nature using repeatable experiments which result in unambiguous conclusions—not speculation. That’s why we say the unconfirmed speculation about evolution is not science. The fact that a scientist says it doesn’t make it true, or even scientific.

Sam’s Response

Sam could have responded by giving an example of how we had misrepresented the Hox gene article; but he didn’t because he could not. We didn’t misrepresent it.

Sam could have responded by giving reasons for why he believes the theory of evolution is scientific; but he didn’t do that, either.

In several of Sam’s previous emails, he has brought up our “bracket example” of similarity being the result of convergent design, not common ancestry. He must really think it is a compelling argument, or else he would not keep attacking it.

Now, with all that background, here (finally) is Sam’s response to last month’s essay:

Typical garbage. "That’s a false equivalence because the theory of evolution is unscientific." Says the clown that made an analogy (fake argument) between DNA and brackets.

Here is something an actual creationist with real and relevant scientific credentials wrote: http://toddcwood.blogspot.com/2009/09/truth-about-evolution.html

[Sam inserted the following quote from the link above at this point of his email:]

The truth about evolution
September 30, 2009

I hope this doesn't turn into a rant, but it might. You have been warned.

Evolution is not a theory in crisis. It is not teetering on the verge of collapse. It has not failed as a scientific explanation. There is evidence for evolution, gobs and gobs of it. It is not just speculation or a faith choice or an assumption or a religion. It is a productive framework for lots of biological research, and it has amazing explanatory power. There is no conspiracy to hide the truth about the failure of evolution. There has really been no failure of evolution as a scientific theory. It works, and it works well.

I say these things not because I'm crazy or because I've "converted" to evolution. I say these things because they are true. I'm motivated this morning by reading yet another clueless, well-meaning person pompously declaring that evolution is a failure. People who say that are either unacquainted with the inner workings of science or unacquainted with the evidence for evolution. (Technically, they could also be deluded or lying, but that seems rather uncharitable to say. Oops.)

Creationist students, listen to me very carefully: There is evidence for evolution, and evolution is an extremely successful scientific theory. That doesn't make it ultimately true, and it doesn't mean that there could not possibly be viable alternatives. It is my own faith choice to reject evolution, because I believe the Bible reveals true information about the history of the earth that is fundamentally incompatible with evolution. I am motivated to understand God's creation from what I believe to be a biblical, creationist perspective. Evolution itself is not flawed or without evidence. Please don't be duped into thinking that somehow evolution itself is a failure. Please don't idolize your own ability to reason. ...

[Sam’s quote of the website ended there.]

What does some old has-been electrician know that he doesn't?

Learn a little humility, Pogge. You are out of your league.

Sam began by calling our article “typical garbage” without giving any reason why it is garbage—other than that it was written by someone who “made an analogy (fake argument) between DNA and brackets.” In other unpublished emails we have asked him to explain why he thinks the bracket analogy is invalid, but he never has.

Because he could not explain in his own words why he believes evolution is not “a theory in crisis” (a claim that we did not make in the Hox article), he quoted a rant written 9 years ago by someone claiming to be a creationist. It is a “9-year-old rant” in more ways than one.

Wood’s rant began, “Evolution is not a theory in crisis. It is not teetering on the verge of collapse. It has not failed as a scientific explanation. There is evidence for evolution, gobs and gobs of it.” These are simply assertions with nothing to back them up. If there really “is evidence for evolution, gobs and gobs of it,” why not tell us what that evidence is? The naked assertion, “Evolution is not a theory in crisis,” is no more valid than the equally baseless assertion, “Evolution is a theory in crisis” (whatever that means). The entire rant is fact-free.

We tell you what we believe, and why we believe it, quoting current, peer-reviewed articles from respected scientific journals (and sometimes evolutionary nonsense from supermarket science tabloids, too).

Sam is a typical evolutionist who can’t explain why he believes in evolution. It is his creation myth, which he accepts by faith. He just believes in evolution, and gets frustrated when we ask him to explain why he believes it because deep down inside he knows there is no good reason to believe it. Instead, he tries to change the subject by attacking all religions (which we choose not to print because his attacks are vile and irrelevant).

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Footnotes:

1 Disclosure, June 2014, “Religion and Probability”, http://scienceagainstevolution.info/v18i9e.htm
2 Disclosure, July 2014, “June Newsletter Reactions”, http://scienceagainstevolution.info/v18i10e.htm
3 Disclosure, February 2015, “Intentional Ignorance”, http://www.scienceagainstevolution.info/v19i5e2.htm
4 Disclosure, March 2015, “Sam”, http://scienceagainstevolution.info/v19i6e1.htm
5 Disclosure, August 2015, “Who is Gullible?”, http://scienceagainstevolution.info/v19i11e2.htm
6 Disclosure, May 2016, “Sam the Parrot”, http://scienceagainstevolution.info/v20i8e1.htm
7 Disclosure, January 2003, “98% Chimp”, http://scienceagainstevolution.info/v7i4f.htm
8 Fujiyama, Science, 4 Jan 2002, “Construction and Analysis of a Human-Chimpanzee Comparative Clone Map”, http://science.sciencemag.org/content/295/5552/131
9 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convergent_evolution
10 Disclosure, October 2018, “The Hox Example”, http://scienceagainstevolution.info/v23i1f.htm