Saturday, January 27, 2007


Speaking of Jokes

This washed up singer and minor movie actor walks into an online "newspaper" and says: "I want to make a fool out of myself in public on subjects that I know nothing about." They say "Okay!"

Maybe it's my delivery.

But trust me, if you go over to WorldNetDaily (not for nuthin' known widely as "WingNutDaily") and check out Pat Boone's latest screed on evolution, called "Charles Darwin's unfunny joke," you'll get a laugh or two, even if only of the rueful sort. Maybe it's the floppy shoes and big rubber nose he's wearing ...

Boone's rant is too ridiculous to try to dissect in detail -- there's no "there" there on which to work -- but a little sampling may wet your appetite for inanity:

With fingers deep in his ears and eyes resolutely screwed shut, he denies the existence of any transitional species in the fossil record but in a humorously naive way:

Wouldn't there be plenty of evolving apes, tending toward homo sapiens (sic), in the jungles and rain forests, possibly developing verbal skills and capable of elementary math and reasoning?
There actually is a paucity of fossils detailing our history at and prior to the chimpanzee/human split. But Boone, like the proverbial blind pig, has stumbled across the likely answer to that lack. Those ancestors probably did live in "jungles and rain forests," environments rich in insects and bacteria that quickly erase remains and prevent fossilization. One might wonder if Boone has even heard the word "taphonomy." Of course, there are plenty of fossils (many above right) that creationists themselves can't agree on as to whether they are human or "ape," some of which may have had language and many of which certainly had some human-like skills, such as tool making.

When all else fails (and in Boone's case, it has), there is always quote mining:

I wonder if any science teachers today ever share with their students that Charles Darwin acknowledged "the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe … as the result of blind chance or necessity." If the originator of the theory of evolution and the author of "The Origin of Species" (the book which later students eagerly used as an excuse to leave a Creator out of the picture) couldn't imagine everything we see and know happening without some design and purpose – why should any of us?
Well, it is easy enough for any schoolchild to look it up, now that Darwin's complete works are in searchable form on the web. Any bets whether or not Boone looked this one up before spouting off about it where everyone could see? The quote is accurate enough, as far as it goes, and can be found in The life and letters of Charles Darwin by Francis Darwin (pp. 312-13):

Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason, and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist. This conclusion was strong in my mind about the time, as far as I can remember, when I wrote the 'Origin of Species;' and it is since that time that it has very gradually, with many fluctuations, become weaker. But then arises the doubt, can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animals, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?

I cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems. The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic.
Those are not the words of a man searching for an excuse to eliminate God. They speak of a man who seeks to do those things that fall within his talents and knowledge as best he can and who leaves the rest to others with more expertise (if any should exist) on such matters as religious belief. Nor can Boone's "hypothesis," that all the scientists since Darwin who have supported and expanded his theory have sought to disprove God, explain the many scientists, such as Ken Miller, Francis Collins and Theodosius Dobzhansky, who have been both committed evolutionists and committed theists.

As Darwin's son said (p. 305), about his father's reluctance to publish his views on religion, "he was also influenced by the consciousness that a man ought not to publish on a subject to which he has not given special and continuous thought."

Too bad Boone doesn't have equal good sense about evolution.
The image above was adapted from a Talk Origins Feedback article by Mike Hopkins from September 2005, which, in turn, came from Douglas Theobald's Talk Origins article "29+ Evidences for Macroevolution," which itself, in turn, used images from the Smithsonian Institution's Human Origins Program. Like Nature itself, we evolutionists are inveterate adaptionists.


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