Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Another letter to the editor

Well, Drekkers, since I last posted, my letter to the editor about Intelligent Design got published in my local Deep South paper, and has been responded to 3 separate times by ID apologists. The last one was so dumb I thought to present it to you in hopes of getting your collective rhetorical expertise and creating a Drek response to it. Any ideas?

The first problem, as ever, is that it takes much more column space to be considered and thorough (as Drek shows fairly regularly) than it does to spew garbage (as he also occasionally shows: see “boobs”). And second, that dry logic is less interesting and memorable than wet sputum. So the trick in this context is to come up with colorful, memorable, brief means of conveying the faults of the most common ID arguments. 250 words max. What do you say to your students or your relatives when they bring up this cognitive spam?

Anyway, here’s the response:

The cell supports the idea of a designer A recent letter writer made the
following claims: (1) Intelligent design is based on tortured logic and
fundamental misconceptions, and (2) The evolutionary tenet that complex things
arise occasionally from simple things is both demonstrable and documented.

In view of these statements consider the following. The cell, the basic unit of life, is enormously complex, its workings being compared to a miniature city. The latest scientific research not only has confirmed this but magnified this cellular complexity. To take the position that this cell came into being by undirected chance and time is absurd. Talk about blind faith, especially when considering the probability of the chance formation of biological molecules such as proteins and DNA is zero. This time and undirected chance scenario also violates known scientific laws. The law of biogenesis states that life only comes from life. The second law of thermodynamics states that the universe is constantly getting more disorderly.

To make the claim that there is solid scientific evidence to support the molecules-to-man philosophy is without foundation and wishful thinking. What the evidence does support is that there is a master designer and creator. In conclusion, George Wald, a prominent scientist made the following comment, "One has only to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede that the spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. Yet here we are as a result, I believe, of spontaneous generation."

And we call this science. It should be obvious what the fairy tale is.

Any ideas?



Blogger Mister Troll said...

Although it's not *quite* your assignment, I would start with PZ Myers pithy definition of evolution.

Sunday, March 09, 2008 9:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gotta think about the rest but part of that is really simple.

"Speaking of fundamental misconceptions and kinda making my point for me; the second law of thermodynamics states rather clearly that closed systems, like the universe, become more disordered. The Earth, with a star pumping radiation into it is an open system."

Monday, March 10, 2008 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger Drek said...

Well, the city analogy is actually a weak point you might hit. Consider, for a moment, the number of cities that developed and rose to a considerable size before the advent of urban planners. Cities do not require design in order to achieve high levels of complexity and, indeed, the inefficiencies of an unplanned city nicely match the design flaws that permeate living entities. You might try a phrase something like:

"The random asshole who objected to my comments compares a cell to a city. This is a fair analogy since, like cells, some of our greatest cities- Paris, London, Berlin- grew for centuries without overall planning. A process of variation and refinement produced these cities much as it produced cells."

The protein's claim is false, though I don't know that I have any cites off the top of my head. Amino acids and proteins have been observed forming without the intervention of biology. The "Law of Biogenesis" is nothing of the sort. Organisms that we recognize derive from organic sources (i.e. there is no spontaneous generation). I wouldn't touch this one, however, as it will suck too much page space.

Finally, the second law of thermodynamics doesn't prohibit evolution. If it really did say that all things must proceed towards disorder then life itself would be impossible- we could not be conceived and grow because that would be, in the author's sense, a decrease in disorder. In reality the second law only tells us that a localized increase in order is paid for with a global decrease- and that is a rough explanation. Try just observing what the consequences of his mis-reading are.

This is standard crap- try the archive for some thorough and pithy responses.

Monday, March 10, 2008 8:57:00 AM  

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