email - May 2012

Definitions and References

Dylan has two comments about our web site.

Dylan wrote this email, which addresses two different concerns:

Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 6:29 AM
To: Pogge@ScienceAgainstEvolution.info
Subject: Concerns on your website

Hello Do-While Jones,

I'm writing because I greatly admire your website's goal of encouraging our nation to think critically about scientific concepts and think for themselves rather than follow blindly what one scientist or the other says.

This mob mentality is dangerous and all too present in America today.  What I admire most about your website is that it rebukes evolution the way it should be, with science.

This is the only true way to establish new leading hypotheses and destroy old paradigms.

As a lover of science, you and I share the same goal of increasing an understanding of the world and accepting theories based on evidence.  That said, I have a couple concerns about your website that may be unintentionally misleading.  The first instance I noticed was on your front page "We use the term "evolution" to mean, “The doctrine that unguided natural forces caused chemicals to combine in such a way that life resulted; and that all living things have descended from that common ancestral form of life.”".  In this quote, you refer to abiogenesis (the origin of life) as if it is part of the theory of evolution.  It is not.  Although I encourage reevaluating both theories, they are not the same.  I know this is just a little thing but it really makes a big difference.

The other concern is less of a concern and more of a question.  While I admire the no frills message of the website, I find it a bit difficult to navigate at times and had trouble finding your scientific literature.  I found many great points on your website and many links to great opinion articles but do you have an index of your peer-reviewed references somewhere? Maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places but I would really like to see the peer-reviewed literature as I have a long standing argument with a friend and that kind of material would help greatly.

Keep up the good work,

Dylan

The two issues he addresses have to do with (1) the definition of evolution and (2) the lack of an index to all our scientific references. I responded to both issues in an email to him, and then he responded again in another email discussing both issues. To keep from jumping back and forth, I have artificially divided our correspondence into two threads.

Thread 1 – The Definition

Our response to Dylan was,

Evolutionists exclude abiogenesis whenever it suits their purpose.  But, when it comes to teaching evolution in public schools, they always include abiogenesis as an untouchable part of evolution.  That's why we make it clear on our home page that we include abiogenesis as part of evolution.

He replied,

That makes a lot of sense when you put it that way and this is undoubtedly an issue that must be addressed however if I may add my own personal input (which you can take or leave considering this is your website and not mine), bundling the two theories together only gives evolutionists more of a reason to discredit alternative theories. While there is more or less a generally accepted version of the theory of evolution, there are several very different competing theories on abiogenesis that can be critiqued individually. Furthermore I have found that combining these theories is often seen by evolutionists as a sign of ignorance especially if they are unaware of the context that you are using it in.

We aren’t ignorant of the definition—we are aware of the rhetorical trick. We put the definition on our home page as a defense against that dirty trick the evolutionists typically use.

The Trick Exposed

Here’s how the evolutionists’ dirty trick works, step by step.

First, they define “evolution” to mean “nothing more than variation produced by natural selection.”

Second, they produce valid evidence that breeding produces variation in species. Creationists can’t (and don’t want to) refute this evidence. Variation caused by breeding is a scientific fact that creationists not only accept, but depend upon for their argument that Noah’s Ark was big enough to hold all the animals. Noah only needed one pair of horses, not a stable filled with Clydesdales, mustangs, thoroughbreds, quarter horses, etc.

Third, they insist that since “evolution is nothing more than variation produced by natural selection” and “evolution is a fact,” it must be included in public school science textbooks.

Fourth, (here’s the tricky part) the “evolution” they claim is a fact includes much more than natural selection. Any high school or college textbook that has a section on “evolution” includes a few paragraphs on abiogenesis in that section, as if abiogenesis is part of evolution, and therefore “a fact.”

Granted, the text books generally include some weasel words to the effect that scientists don’t know exactly how life began through a purely natural process; but just because they don’t know how it happened doesn’t mean it didn’t happen; and everybody knows “evolution is a fact,” so it must have happened.

We’ve talked about the definition of evolution before, but since it keeps coming up, it was worth explaining it again.

Thread 2 – An Index

Dylan brought up a very valid point about indexing our articles. He was specifically concerned about an index for the references; I’ve had a similar (but larger) concern for several years. Following our exchange, I want to address this topic further.

I wrote:

Over the years, the web site has grown to over 650 articles.  That admittedly makes it difficult to search.  That's why we have search boxes on the main page and topics page.

We've never thought about extracting all the references from all the footnotes and putting them in a list.  I'm not sure a list of several hundred references would be helpful, unless we sorted them by subject somehow.  Most of the peer-reviewed references are from Science, Nature, or PNAS, which you can't read unless you pay to subscribe.  If you pay to subscribe, then you can search those journals directly for whatever subject you care about.

If you are arguing with a friend about any one of our articles, the footnotes at the end of the article are the only relevant references. So, unless you can convince me that I am missing something, and that such a list would be useful, I don't think we will spend the time to make a list of all the peer-reviewed references we have ever cited over the past 15 years.

Dylan responded:

When I wrote you my last email, I had not truly explored your website and I was just impressed with the message and the philosophical arguments why evolution cannot be correct. Since then I have read through the site more thoroughly to learn more about the inconsistencies of the theory however I am still having trouble finding peer reviewed articles that contradict evolutionary theory. I can see now why indexing the peer reviewed references separate from the articles would be a HUGE pain although I still believe that it would be an invaluable resource to spread knowledge. I do have access to scientific journals as I work as a lab technician at a university so that is not an issue and I am thrilled to learn that your sources are from 3 of the most well respected journals. You asked me to convince you that such a list was needed and perhaps my own personal search is not a good reason however there may be many others like me and I have never seen such a list anywhere so to make the first (or at least the first that can be found easily with a Google search "proof evolution is false") would be a great step in encouraging people to think critically about theories before accepting them as fact. I have always believed that the only way to fight ignorance is with knowledge and peer review is the best weapon so why not make it available?

Thank you for your prompt response and keep up the good work,

Dylan

I think Dylan and I aren’t exactly on the same page. I think (and I could be wrong) that Dylan wants a list of peer-reviewed articles that say, “The theory of evolution is false.” That list cannot be written because the peer-reviewed articles don’t say that in so many words. If they did, they would not get published. Instead, they say, “This PORTION of the theory of evolution WAS PREVIOUSLY INCORRECT, but we have a NEW EXPLANATION that corrects this error.” Their new explanation isn’t really correct either—there just hasn’t been time to show that it is wrong, too! But, refutation of the new explanation is sure to come. It always does.

So, the Holy Grail that Dylan is looking for (that is, a list of peer-reviewed articles disproving the entire theory of evolution—with or without including abiogenesis) doesn’t exist. In creationist literature, there are a few wrecking balls that demolish the entire theory; but the peer-reviewed literature consists of countless hammers and chisels that chip away at little pieces of the theory. Eventually the theory will be completely chipped away by these peer-reviewed articles; but it hasn’t happened yet.

Organization

Dylan’s email presents the opportunity to discuss a troubling issue, and ask for your help.

Our web site continues to grow much more than anticipated 15 years ago. With more than 650 articles, there’s just too much information than we can reasonably expect people to read. Therefore, we need to make it easier for readers to find the information they need.

The second thing we failed to anticipate 15 years ago is the fact that some people will want to read our articles on their cell phones! Fortunately, our “no frills” approach, designed to make our web site accessible to people with dial-up connections, also makes it easy for cell phones to display the articles.

So, we want to find a better way to index the information that is consistent with our no frills approach. We are open to your suggestions.

In 2003, we presented a five-night series titled “Evolution Exposé” which was organized as a general introduction followed by four specific nights titled, “Biology Against Evolution”, “Chemistry Against Evolution”, “Geology Against Evolution”, and “Engineering Against Evolution”. Perhaps we should create an index organized along those lines (and include “Astronomy Against Evolution”, too).

If you have any suggestions for improving our index, we would be glad to hear them.

Dylan wrote back after seeing this newsletter. Here is what he wrote.

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