Grump tank for disgruntled atheists.

Creationism only flourishes amidst Ignorance

I found the following example of ignorance amongst the comments on an article about the museum-of-delusion constructed by oxymoronically labelled Answers in Genesis. Those who are so ignorant as to believe in creationism are not really interested in answers, but I want to vent!

"To all of those evolutionists out there: Can you tell me ONE instance of an organism that proves that NEW information was ADDED to its DNA? NOT a LOSS of genetic info that leads to an environmental advantage, but an actual ADDITION of NEW information to the DNA?"

First, there can be no proof outside special philosophical syllogisms and mathematics. Only the ignorant or emotionally-uncertain demand proof. However, there is abundant evidence, throughout organisms from prokaryotes to humans of the addition/alteration of segments of DNA. There is so much evidence that one could not list it all. See for yourself – running a PubMed search for "DNA evolution" yielded 53983 hits (5/27/07). Of course, not all of these scientific articles will directly address this creationist challenge, so I Googled "DNA evolution" and got 47,100,000 hits. Some of these will be websites set up by creationists as ignorant as the author of that stupid question, but many will provide an accurate answer.

Creationist are correct in stating that DNA contains information, so any alteration of a DNA sequence, even if it is only a single nucleotide polymorphism (point mutation), comprises evidence of the addition of new information to DNA. To ask for "proof" of the addition of new information to DNA is beyond ridiculous. Any organism that develops a malignancy does so because of alterations in their DNA. Childrens' DNA is not identical to that of either parent because of an alteration in their DNA. The diversity of DNA, which is demonstrably currently continuing to evolve, is evidence of addition of information to DNA. No need to go on–there are billions of examples.

"Answers in Genesis' website explains that this is the big obstacle for evolutionary belief. What mechanism could possibly have added all the extra genetic information required to change a one-celled creature into a multicelled organism, then other more "complex" organisms?"

This, of course, is why Answers in Genesis is misnamed. (There are no accurate answers to questions in Genesis, which was, is, and always will be an allegorical creation myth. Nor are there any answers in AiG–merely delusions.)

Again, science has documented abundant evidence regarding mechanisms, which include prokaryotic gene-swapping mechanisms (HGT), serial endosymbiotic transfers, and a variety of internal-mutation mechanisms (duplication, etc.). The very first soft-bodied multicellular organisms died without leaving any fossil trace around 1 billion years ago. It is utterly unreasonable to expect that this step in evolution can ever be exactly replicated. However, the molecular biological mechanisms of cellular adhesion that exist today were likely the same mechanisms that allowed the first co-operative assemblages of specialized cells (the colonial theory providing the likeliest explanation). Serial endosymbiotic transfers rendered this step possible, and the oxygen produced by the first prokaryotes to practice oxygenic photosynthesis both drove and enabled such assemblages.

"Natural selection can’t explain it as natural selection involves getting rid of information."

Natural selection operates to increase the frequency of favourable alleles and reduce unfavourable alleles in populations. The amount of information is much the same following selection for the organisms best equipped to survive and produce viable progeny within a particular environment. Only utterly unfavourable mutations will be removed, while neutral and favourable mutations will persist. Natural selection has never been regarded as a mechanism for the alteration of DNA itself.

"A group of animals might become more adapted to the heat by the elimination of those which carry the genetic information to make thick fur. But that doesn’t explain the origin of the information to make thick or thin fur."

Nor, as above, do any evolutionary biologists claim that natural selection, which can only operate on already existent alleles, is the mechanism for producing the genes.

"As a Biological Sciences major in college . . . "

Now this is truly very sad! This poser-of-stupid-questions is better educated than your average creationist, yet clearly does not comprehend even the basics of molecular or population genetics. This sort of ignorance is the reason that critics decry anti-science, deceptive-pseudoscience displays that merely entrench such ignorance.

"I was also disappointed and angry to discover that several of the big "evidences" for evoution given to us in school were NOT true, and that these are still taught to students today as truth."

Where did this person attend college? Presumably a small southern college and not one of the better universities. The above is a truly ridiculous statement. Evidence is evidence is evidence. Scientific theories are formulated on the basis of evidence, which translates to saying that scientific theories begin with the facts. The evidences for biological evolution are FACTS. Whether or not a particular theory best explains the facts is a different question, and this is the entire point of the scientific method.

"It is time students were taught all the facts about evolution, not just the ones that fit the THEORY best! I pray the AiG museum will open a lot of eyes to the deception carried on by the biologists promoting evolution."

The voluminous facts about biological evolution are conveniently ignored by those who believe in creation, in biblical literacy, and in some non-existent necessary-connection between morality and religious dogmatism. The author of the ridiculous comment that I have quoted is clearly incapable of comprehending the facts. As to manipulating information to fit theories, the AiG museum is a transparent example of the sort of distortion of facts that is necessary in order to support an utterly ridiculous two- thousand-plus-year old theory (YEC). Although they do not admit this explicitly, creationist attacks on science implicitly indicate that they are aware that scientific facts disprove the claims in Genesis–proof may not be possible, but disproof is possible. Genesis IS disproven. Dinosaurs did not coexist with hominids, rather the dinosaurs predated hominids by 60 million years. No number of deceptive lie-orama displays will ever alter that fact.

I'd further suggest to the author of the stupid-question that his or her inability to understand something does not render that thing invalid. It merely means that he or she really ought to obtain some education. Given that an ABC News poll indicates that "60 percent of Americans believe God created the world in six days" (a fallacious argumentum ad numeram argument for creationism, incidentally), then it is clear that far too may Americans exhibit a lamentably low standard of science education.

More mutterings about the stupidity that is creationism:
ɷ Myths Revered and Myths Exposed
ɷ un-designed intelligences
ɷ Judge Jones Rules
ɷ The Wedge Document

Elsewhere: Gallup Poll on Evolution, which reveals that the overwhelming majority of religious fundamentalists are ignorant of evolution : comment on Pharyngula : Religion—our maelstrom of ignorance: "Maybe we need to start picketing fundamentalist churches. Maybe it's about time that we recognize religious miseducation as child abuse."

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. . . launched (sans champagne, alas) 10/22/06