Sunday 16 July 2017

Creationist in Peterborough doesn't know what he's talking about.

The Peterborough Examiner has a letter to the editor that anyone halfway educated on the subject would be embarrassed by.

Here are the relevant bits interspersed with my commentary:
However, my concern centres on his treatment of the theory of evolution. It is only a theory. He tells it as a fact. Never have the concepts largely developed by Charles Darwin in the mid-19th century been proven by "hard " science.
Sigh. Only a theory. Poor Dr Dyer is unaware that science, hard or "hard" or otherwise, has proven nothing.
From Sci Am (quotes from sources other than Dr Dyer's letter are in red):
Part of the problem is that the word "theory" means something very different in lay language than it does in science: A scientific theory is an explanation of some aspect of the natural world that has been substantiated through repeated experiments or testing. But to the average Jane or Joe, a theory is just an idea that lives in someone's head, rather than an explanation rooted in experiment and testing.
The thing is, there is plenty of support for evolution, from fossils to the nested hierarchies of the Linnaeus classification system, to ERVS to replicated errors demonstrating a common ancestor.

In 1989 the mighty Soviet Union crashed into rubble. Soon the Deputy Minister of Education for all of Russia travelled to California to attend a conference of Christian educators. He spoke to the assembly, and I quote, "For 70 years we have shut God out of our country and it has done us great harm.
Blindly equating evolution with atheism, Dyer imagines that shutting God out of Russia is relevant to the discussion of evolution. Obviously, he is unaware of Lysenkoism, a pseudoscientific belief about biology that Russians followed instead of evolution. From the Wikipedia link above:
The pseudo-scientific ideas of Lysenkoism assumed the heritability of acquired characteristics.[1] Lysenko's theory rejected Mendelian inheritance and the concept of the "gene"; it departed from Darwinian evolutionary theory by rejecting natural selection.[2] Proponents falsely claimed to have discovered, among many other things, that rye could transform into wheat and wheat into barley, that weeds could spontaneously transmute into food grains, and that "natural cooperation" was observed in nature as opposed to "natural selection".[2] Lysenkoism promised extraordinary advances in breeding and in agriculture that never came about.
Joseph Stalin supported the campaign. More than 3,000 mainstream biologists were sent to prison, fired,[3] and others were executed as part of a campaign instigated by Lysenko to suppress his scientific opponents
He is also unaware that many Christians accept evolution as the explanation for the diversity of life on Earth. The Clergy Project Letter has more than 13,000 signatures of American active Christian clergyfolk who accept evolution.

I was invited into a `history classroom and met the older professor. He commented, " I understand you are a Christian." When I affirmed that I was, he pointed to his desk, and declared, "That is one of my text books. It was the Bible! In a Russian public high school the teacher held to the truths of the Bible as authoritative for his history lesson!
I will now step away from exclusively discussing evolution and dip into politics.  Russia is not a good place. It was not before 1989 and it is not now. I would not want to associate Christianity with the way Russia currently works.
I am saddened that such unproven assumptions are given to our generation and labelling as Truth. In the words of the Russian educator, "We must bring God back, and we must begin with our youth."
Dr. Stanley R. Dyer
It sure seems like we should first start with educating Dr Dyer on the subject he tries to argue so he doesn't make himself and all Creationists look foolish.

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