Total Drek

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The English language is insufficient to express my incredulity.

From the opinion section of the Greenville News:


Bible tells the truth about our creation

Why is it that these evolutionists are trying so hard to deny that God created the Earth and all that is on it? Now we have an "educated" minister who claims that seminaries have proved that the beginning chapters of the Bible were not written according to the Word of God, but by unknown authors and added to the Bible by some editor. How about the words in John 1:1-4?

I don't think much of a minister who felt it was more important to preach about things he didn't believe, rather than risking his post by not pleasing his (ignorant) congregation.

The theory of evolution does not and cannot explain so much about the universe that we know. For instance, when and how did water evolve? How does it happen that gravity can hold us to the Earth, and at the same time allow us to step up without any trouble? How did it happen that the Earth is spinning at the exact rate that keeps us from feeling that movement?

I find it much easier to believe that Genesis tells us the truth of the creation when we know from God's own Word that nothing is impossible for him to do.

Carol Crooks, Greer [Links added]


I really did not make this up. It actually appears in a newspaper. At the risk of making myself feel dirty, allow me to try to answer Carol Crooks' questions.

(1) "...when and how did water evolve?"

Well, Carol, water did not "Evolve" in the sense usually meant by biological scientists. They use the term "evolution" to refer to a particular kind of change in biological systems where modifications to an organism are either conserved, or lost, between generations based on their utility to the organism. So, organisms that include useful changes survive better than those that include non-useful changes. This is a drastic over-simplification, however, and you should see more thorough sources for a better explanation. More importantly, you seem to be thinking of "evolution" in a sense encouraged by Jack Chick wherein there are six principles of evolution stretching from basic physics to biological theory. This, however, confuses the usage of the term "evolution" as a shorthand for the biolgical theory, with the broader meaning, "To develop or achieve gradually." Using this second, broader meaning, we can say that water evolved (though clearly this isn't the sense in which you used the term) in that it emerged over time in the universe. Water is composed of two elements, Hydrogen and Oxygen, which are, respectively, the first and third most abundant elements in the universe. Scientific consensus puts the origin of the universe at about 13.7 billion years ago. Based on these models, and the timeline we can derive from them, we estimate that Hydrogen began to form approximately 500,000 years after the origin of the universe and Oxygen began to form at roughly the same time, or slightly later. So, in other words, if the universe is 13.7 billion years old, then water probably evolved first formed about 13.6995 billion years ago.

(2) "How does it happen that gravity can hold us to the Earth, and at the same time allow us to step up without any trouble?"

Carol, you're thinking about this as though gravity is somehow elastic, or that we're powerless to oppose it. Neither is true. Gravity is a force that tends to draw mass together. However, gravity is an extremely weak force, and can be overcome by other forces. This is a property of forces generally. So, it isn't that gravity somehow allows us to step up, as that our bodies can exert enough force to match and exceed the pull of gravity, thereby allowing us to "step up without any trouble."

(3) "How did it happen that the Earth is spinning at the exact rate that keeps us from feeling that movement?"

Not to be insulting, but this question is essentially nonsensical. Do you mean, the rate that allows us to not feel the Earth's rotation? What rate would that be, exactly? Or do you mean that the Earth spins at the rate that exactly counterbalances gravity, in which case you're simply wrong. If the Earth's angular momentum did, indeed, counterbalance the Earth's gravity exactly, our planet would disintegrate. On a deeper, philosophical level, however, I think you might benefit from considering the anthropic principle. In short: any environment we evolved in must be compatible with our physical form, and will seem well-suited to it. By the same token, you might as well ask, "Why do we live on a world covered in water and, therefore, is mostly inhospitable to us?"

Finally, Carol, you remark: "I find it much easier to believe that Genesis tells us the truth of the creation when we know from God's own Word that nothing is impossible for him to do."

To which I can only respond that I am certain that you do find it "easier" to believe in Genesis, which you have doubtless been taught since a young age, but there is a difference between what is easy, and what is correct. When I was young, I found it easy to believe in Santa Claus but I have, since, matured quite a bit. Similarly, is it wise to believe an account of the world because the account itself includes a claim that it is infallible? Do you believe everything you read in a book, no matter how little evidence there is to support it? If so, I've run across a document that might interest you:



Satisfied?

All kidding aside, the real shame here is that this person has been failed by the educational system. I'd feel worse about it, but it's abundantly clear to me that some groups have absolutely no intention of being educated, and it is a fool's endeavour to make someone learn if they are determined not to.

5 Comments:

Anonymous bookmobile said...

Carol's questions, in and of themselves, are very positive. She seems to want to understand all of these phenomena. Unfortunately, she wants the Bible to answer her questions, and it cannot. The only thing that can answer her questions is science, which she refuses to listen to, consider or consult. It's sad, really.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Drek said...

Unfortunately, I think she meant her questions rhetorically, as in, "Evolution can't account for water!"

I agree, biological evolution is a limited theory and therefore cannot account for the entire universe, but her questions still betrayed a dreadful ignorance of basic science. If I thought she was honestly asking, I would be encouraged, but I doubt that is the case.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger island said...

I agree, biological evolution is a limited theory and therefore cannot account for the entire universe...

Don't be so sure. If the implication of specialness that is inherent to the anthropic principle is true for some good physical reason, then it is highly probable that human evolution is linked to the evolution of the universe via the anthropic principle.

Thursday, March 30, 2006 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Drek said...

Island, you make an interesting point, but my statement was "I agree, biological evolution is a limited theory..." While the operation of biological evolution is, certainly, a result of the natural behavior of the universe, it would be unwise to imply that the reverse is so.

Theories have a limited scope of application, and utilizing them beyond this scope is as questionable as using the Bible to refute geolgocial evidence.

Thursday, March 30, 2006 5:17:00 PM  
Blogger island said...

I see your point, drek, although, I'm not sure how to differentiate if the univere and humans evolve by way of the same mechanism.

Friday, March 31, 2006 8:33:00 AM  

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