Sunday, April 16, 2006

Get your money's worth of IDiocy

You have to wonder how popular can a website be, if its writers are a bunch of abysmally ignorant morons. I was led to a commentary by Ted Byfield posted at the WingnutDaily dated 15 April, that purported to rebut Darwinists. Why does this man get paid to write stupid things, when someone like Gerald Kornbau receives no pay for writing similar foolishness in a letter to the editor of the York Sunday News (dated 16 April)?

Byfield repeats the stale comparison of Galileo challenging the "assumptions of the 17th century papacy" and modern-day Intelligent Design Creationists challenging modern science. The response to this comparison is the same as it has always been--Galileo, one of the original experimentalists, was right; modern Intelligent Design Creationists, despite wishing to call themselves scientists, are wrong. They are not at all like Galileo, because they do no research and make no testable hypotheses.

Byfield had stated in an earlier commentary that "10 percent of scientists accept
intelligent design," and, in this follow-up column he reveals the "research" that led to that quantification--a two-year-old newspaper article that claimed 90 percent of National Academy of Science members considered themselves atheists; doing the math, and assuming that anyone who does not accept Intelligent Design Creationism is an atheist, Byfield obtained his meaningless number. Mr. Kornbau, in his letter to the editor, made essentially the same claim:
The real reason many scientists and other people cling to evolution is that they don't want to believe in a creator God.
but he was not paid for it. The basic assumption is foolish, but Byfield's pseudo-mathematical interpretation is far more inane.

Both writers also addressed the recent hot news item, the discovery of Tiktaalik roseae, a 375-million-year old fossil transitional between fish and amphibians. Byfield, in a comment of spectacular stupidity that clearly illustrates why he should avoid writing about evolution and other things he does not understand, says
Two readers called my attention to a discovery last week on an Arctic island of something which may be the fossil remains of the mysteriously missing "transitional species." Or then maybe it isn't transitional. Maybe it's a hitherto undetected species on its own.
Byfield failed to grasp the significance of Tiktaalik. He thought that this fossil may (but probably did not) represent the one and only transitional form in the fossil record; he supposes it might be a "species on its own," whatever that is
supposed to mean. Please explain to us, Mr. Byfield, what your understanding of a transitional species is, if not a "species on its own." He further displays his ignorance of the fossil record and what transitional species are by saying
If Darwin was right, and the change from one species to another through natural selection occurred constantly in millions of instances over millions of years, the the fossil record should be teaming with transitional species. It isn't.
Wrong again, Mr. Byfield! The fossil record and, in fact, the present biosphere, is chock full of transitional species. Byfield probably makes this error because he simply doesn't understand what transitional forms are, plus he very likely is insufficiently familiar with fossil and present-day biodiversity.

Kornbau (who must have written his letter days before it was printed), considers that Tiktaalik, with some fish-like features and some tetrapod-like features, shows "the diversity and creativity of God" because God re-used some features from other animals (which sounds to me like a lack of creativity). He argues that the transitional form does not provide support for evolution. Interestingly, he also makes the claim that
If evolution were true, as many claim that it is, millions of transitional forms should be scattered in places all over the Earth. The relatively small number of different "transition" fossils found shows the weakness of the theory. There are so few discoveries that scientists make a big deal over each discovery, and they try to use each as a proof for evolution.
Once again, the letter writer comes up with benighted claims, provided at no charge, very similar to those of the paid commentator.

Both writers are convinced that their pre-evidentiary assumption of Special Creation, which requires supernatural machinations, holds true and is worthy of presentation as "science." They present anti-evolution arguments based on factual errors and misrepresentation and conclude that since they don't believe the evidence for evolution, their Creationist view is therefore correct.

People who do not know the facts should not go ahead and spout ignorant untruths!


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