|email - April 2011|
What was he thinking?
We arenít picking on Spencer personally. Itís just that his three emails last month were typical of the hate mail we receive. They are perfect examples of evolutionary foolishness.
Last month we were short on space, so we only addressed what little substance there was in his second email (his objection to the definition of evolution). This month we will address the other issues we did not have space to address last time.
Remember, Spencer started it all with this short attack.
Hello sir. I think you mis-represent [sic] science and evolutionary theory in a very unreasonable and dishonest way.
Sent from my iPhone
We were glad that he was able to read our website from his iPhone. Fifteen years ago we made the decision to avoid using unnecessary graphics and animations so that students in schools with older browsers and slow dial-up connections could read our pages. Thatís why we use only the simplest HTML features. We never imagined that someday people would be reading our articles on tiny telephone screens that might not be able to support fancy features. Clearly, we made the right decision. But we digress Ö
What was Spencer thinking when he wrote that email? Really! What WAS he thinking? Did he expect us to shut down our website based on an email from someone who canít even spell ďmisrepresent?Ē
When we asked him for an example of how he thinks we misrepresent evolution we didnít expect an answer because we hardly ever get an answer from people like him. We donít misrepresent evolution, so there are no specific examples he can give. Unable to cite a single example, people like Spencer are usually too embarrassed to respond.
The closest we come to misrepresentation can be found in our humor. Humor is funny because it either exaggerates the truth to absurdity; or it presents truth in an unexpected way; but humor isnít funny unless it is basically true.
For example, in this monthís parody we changed Taylor Swiftís chorus line,
Youíll be the prince and Iíll be the princess.
Millions of years changed some frogs into princes.
Itís pretty funny, even if we do say so ourselves. Not only does it mimic the original words; it also plays on the idea that itís foolish to think a kiss can turn a frog into a prince, and even more foolish to think that it could happen without a kiss.
People like Spencer could legitimately argue we misrepresented the theory of evolution because evolutionists donít actually believe people evolved from a modern frog. Strictly speaking, they believe that a small population of unknown amphibians became reproductively isolated and evolved into the first reptiles. Some of those reptiles became reproductively isolated and evolved into the first mammals. Some of those mammals evolved into primates, some of which were humans, some of which were male heirs to the throne. So, if you want to quibble about it, it wasnít a modern frog that evolved into princesóit was an unknown ancient amphibian that evolved into princes through a long chain of unknown, unobserved, impossibly improbable events. Excuse us!
But evolutionists arenít likely to make that argument for two reasons. First, they come across as petty people who canít take a joke. But second, and more importantly, it opens the door to the discussion, ďIf people didnít evolve from frogs, where did they come from?Ē Then they have to tell the silly story of an unknown amphibian evolving into the first reptile, and so on. As funny as it sounds when we say it in jest, it is even funnier when they say it seriously.
There are other lines in our Dumb Story parody this month that Spencer could find objectionable. For example,
And learned to walk upright down in Africa.
Not all evolutionists subscribe to the Out of Africa hypothesis. Some believe that humanity evolved nearly simultaneously in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Spencer would probably not like to begin a discussion of that topic because it naturally leads to two embarrassing questions: ďWhoís right?Ē and, ďWhatís the evidence?Ē
As embarrassing as those two questions are, the question evolutionists really want to avoid is, ďAre you saying that black people have not evolved as much as white people?Ē
Spencer might also object to the line,
And ape brains got bigger because they ate meat.
We freely admit that not all evolutionists believe this. Some believe that thinking up ways to use tools stimulated brain growth.
Perhaps Spencer thinks we misrepresented the theory of evolution by singing,
Birds learned to fly when they fell from trees,
Not all evolutionists believe this, either. Some believe flight originated when flightless birds flapped their wings while running along the ground.
We honestly believe that we have correctly presented the current scientific consensus regarding where upright posture began, why ape brains grew larger, and how flight originated. We believe this based on what we read most often in the scientific literature; but we admit we might be wrong. The only real way to determine the current scientific consensus about these things is to take an opinion poll.
Weíve never seen any published opinion polls regarding these subjects, and we donít ever expect to. Publishing an opinion poll would be explicit admission that these beliefs are nothing more than opinions, and not real science.
Scientists donít use opinion polls to determine if a spark will cause hydrogen and oxygen to combine, forming water and releasing energy. They do an experiment to see if it happens. Thatís how science works. A hypothesis is confirmed or denied by a carefully planned experiment.
Thoughts about how a hypothetical amphibian might have evolved through numerous unobserved steps into a prince are not real science.
Thatís why Spencer tried to change the subject in his subsequent email.
Do you understand how supernatural intervention cannot be scientific, even if it is true?
I think it is your intent to give a false and misleading account of biological evolution, and science in general, to promote your religious views.† Do you have any training in biology or evolutionary biology?
He wanted to draw us into an irrelevant defense of my religion or my training. Anyone who has read our newsletters knows that we donít promote any religious views. Please search all the back issues of this newsletter and see if you can find any example of us promoting a religious view. Occasionally we will mention a religious view (generally not my own religious view); but only in the context of contrasting it with an evolutionary view, or responding to a specific comment about religion made by an evolutionist.
Of course, I have studied evolutionary biology for years. If I hadnít, I could not write these articles. I donít just repeat the same old tired arguments you find on creationist websites. I analyze the latest evolutionary research published in current professional, scientific journals, and give original commentary on it.
I donít claim the things in our articles are true because I am an authority. I provide detailed explanations of why our non-profit educational public benefit corporation believes things to be true, and provide footnotes so you can read the scientific source material for yourself to see if you come to the same conclusion. I never make assertions and expect you to take my word for it.
On the other hand, Spencer makes bold, unsubstantiated statements, and apparently expects us to believe him just on his say-so. He said we used the wrong definition of evolution, but didnít think there was any need for him to stoop to explain to us what is wrong with our definition. He expected us to just take him at his word.
If Spencer really wanted to know about my qualifications, he could have Googled me, or followed a link from our website. Spencer, on the other hand, has such a common last name that we canít really tell anything about his qualifications from a Google search. His email address doesnít match any of the famous Spencers. He is probably just a kid who was born a year or two before I started writing this newsletter. All we really know about him is that his ego is so big he foolishly thinks he can tell us we are wrong without explanation.
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