email - November 2002

Disgruntled Engineers Against Evolution

We received this email from a person who thinks better than he types.

Subject: Huh?
Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2002 13:49:23 +0930
From: Jordan [return address deleted]

G'day

Yet another website refuting evolution written by an engineer. What is with you guys and hating evolution? Is it because you spend so much time designing things yourself that you just can't accept the idea that life couldn't have orginated without a designer? Spent so much time writing computer code that you think DNA couldn't have posisbly originated by chance? At the univesity I attend, there's a group pf students who, like you, seek to disprove evolution. The number of students enrolled in biological sciences who are members? Zero. Engineers? 87%. The rest are art students....but they don't count smiley face

Nearly every single anti-evolution website has an engineer at it's heart. Sure they may have read up on biology and genetics. But they haven't studied it. They haven't worked in the field for years. They haven't seen, every day, the evidence for evolution in the past and the present. I could read a book on astrophysics for a few hours and make a website about how the moon is made of cheese. Throw a few facts in here, a catchphrase there and some impressive formulas in teh corner. But I don't really know what I'm talking about. And neither do engineers who write about biology.

You could argue that engineers haven't been *gasp* brainwashed like we allegedly have. Alternatively you could argue that Christians stick to degrees where they don't have to confront evidence against their beliefs while still dismissing findings in a scientific field they've NEVER studied.

I've studied molecular biology for the past six years and I have to say that your arguments really show up your lack of study in the biological sciences. I work in a lab that investigates molecular evolution....we study the evolution of Australian marsupials and how they are related to eutherians and the american marsupials. We've published papers on DNA analysis that suggets evolutionary views about the radiation of the marsupials after the breakup of Gondwanaland. We've corresponded with labs worldwide and have had our views supported by them all. Not just genetics labs....I'm talking about zoology, geological and chemical labs to name a few. All their data about morphology, plate tectonics and amino acid interaction all correlate with our data perfectly. International conspiracy or simply science at work? You decide.

I've yet to hear of a single case of hard biological evidence rejecting evolution. I'm talking real evidence here....not your typical engineer arguments based on hand-me-down arguments. Study biology. You won't get brainwashed. Really study the evolution of the genetic code and see what you think. Either that or re-name your website " Disgruntled Engineers against evolution".

I'm not saying engineers are dumb. Far from it. You are a very smart bunch indeed. But I wish you'd stop damning areas of science that you know nothing about.

I could write a huge e-mail attempting to dissect and critique your essays, but I'd be wasting my time right? Methinks you should stick to "writing and speaking about software development in general".

Thanks for your time

One of the things that makes this letter worth addressing is the fact that he at least bothered to follow some of the links on our web site. (We know this because of the reference to "writing and speaking about software development in general".) So many of the emails we get come from people who clearly havenít read anything but the name of our corporation.

Jordan asks questions that we think he really wants answered. His questions are not purely argumentative. That makes it worthwhile to take his email seriously.

Jordan asks, "What is with you guys and hating evolution? Is it because you spend so much time designing things yourself that you just can't accept the idea that life couldn't have orginated [sic] without a designer? Spent so much time writing computer code that you think DNA couldn't have posisbly [sic] originated by chance?" Well, yes, we do!

Engineers build complex systems. We know from experience that designs that arenít entirely correct fail to function. Computer programs with millions of lines of code donít work if just a few lines are wrong. Nobody has ever soldered transistors and resistors together randomly and produced a color TV set. Since biological systems are so much more complex than the systems we build, and since the DNA code is so much more complicated than the computer programs we write, we just canít accept the idea that they happened by chance. We have never seen a complex system arise by accident, and donít have any good, scientific reason to believe that it is possible. We donít have the faith necessary to believe in something that is absolutely contrary to natural observations.

Jordan didnít say that 87% of the members of anti-evolution groups are theology majors. He said they were engineers. We appreciate the confirmation that so many people rejecting evolution are engineers. Thatís been our observation, too, but we havenít done a scientifically valid study to prove it. It is good, however, to have anecdotal evidence to support our observations. Creationists arenít just dummies who donít know anything about science. They are smart people who use their scientific knowledge to design clever, useful products.

We donít doubt that Jordan has done excellent work studying the genetic similarity of marsupials. No doubt they are very similar. It is our position that such work is extremely valuable if applied to practical problems. For example, if some marsupials are more prone to certain diseases than other marsupials, it would be good to know how they differ genetically. These genetic differences might be responsible for resistance or susceptibility to specific diseases. There is great value in understanding how biological systems work because many of manís inventions (like sonar and the Sidewinder missile) are merely copies of biological systems. If we knew more about how marsupials nourish their young, it might give us insight into how we can raise healthier children. There is so much that can be learned from a study of genetics. That is why it saddens us to see talented people like Jordan wasting their time trying to figure out how a wombat turned into a wallaby or a kangaroo.

It might very well be that a wallaby and a kangaroo really are variations of one created kind, just as beagles and poodles are variations of the dog kind. If so, it is just more confirmation of microevolution, which creationists already believe. But how does one know if genetic and physical similarities are the result of a common ancestor rather than a common designer?

Jordan has "yet to hear of a single case of hard biological evidence rejecting evolution." We wonder what his criteria for hard biological evidence are. Darwin considered the eye to be serious biological evidence against evolution. Where does Jordan think the mammary glands in his marsupials came from? How did single-chambered fish hearts evolve into multi-chambered animal hearts? How did cold-blooded creatures evolve into warm-blooded creatures? What biological evidence would be sufficiently hard to disprove evolution in his eyes? These arenít argumentative questions. We are genuinely curious.

Jordan says, "All their data about morphology, plate tectonics and amino acid interaction all correlate with our data perfectly. International conspiracy or simply science at work? You decide." We say, "None of the above." We reject the conspiracy theory because it implies sinister motives and collusion. We donít believe that all evolutionists are evil people intent on destroying all that is good and virtuous with their evil theory. But the other option, science at work, isnít correct either. Just because an opinion is held by a scientist doesnít make that opinion scientific fact. We like to reserve the term "science" for knowledge obtained using the Scientific Method.

Our answer is that there is correlation of data because many people are trying to make their data fit together into a pre-determined framework because they sincerely believe that framework is correct. They believe that all life evolved from a common ancestor, so they attempt to explain their observations in terms of evolution. Where there is sufficient prejudice, there is agreement.

Despite this, we donít think there is as much agreement between the morphological data and genetic data as Jordan does. Maybe there really is good agreement between morphological data and genetic data in the marsupials Jordan studies, but that seems to be the exception, rather than the rule. We keep reading articles in Science and Nature which show there isnít very good agreement. We have documented examples in past newsletters (Fuzz, Birds, and DNA and The DNA Dilemma ).

We hope that Jordan will continue to study marsupials. We hope he will try to explain how they all could have originated from a common ancestor. We think that the more he studies, he will discover the hard biological evidence against evolution all by himself.

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