Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Dueling Bozos

PZ Megahertz has the funny lowdown on Ray ("the banana is an atheist's worse nightmare") Comfort's latest evidence that you really do have to be an ignoramus to buy into the more egregious forms of creationism. (Whether Ray himself is himself a drooling idiot, or merely tailoring his message to the ignoramuses he is trying to exploit, is an open question).

But I'll see PZ's Comfort and raise him a W. Edward Murphy.

Mr. Murphy actually somehow connects his disdain for an alleged "Jewish friend" who does not share Murphy's belief that "that Israel has no right to give away their land" because "God described to Abraham the boundaries of the land He was giving to the Jews as an everlasting heritage," with his "friend's" supposed "softness on anti-Semitism," with "belief in Darwinism," with, in a neat quadruple play, "all of the moral, as well as civil, degradation we are experiencing in our nation." Needless to say, the connections are less than explicit.

He then segues (using that term very loosely) into a set of "challenges" that "Darwinists" have to answer before he'd agree (if anyone asked him) to let evolution be taught in Texas schools as fact. One of them may have been cribbed directly from Comfort:

"How did one man and one woman happen to evolve at the same time so that human reproduction could take place? Did each one evolve from a lower life form, and if so, would it not be necessary for each to develop simultaneously? Because, if not, if the first man, or the first woman were evolved more than 100 years apart, would not the first one have died before the evolution of the other? If that is so, how could reproduction have taken place?

And there is ordinary stupidity, of course, including the claim that there are no transitional fossils and the ever-popular but extremely hoary Darwin and the eye quote mine. But Murphy is capable of raising his game and showing that he is every bit the peer of Comfort:

"Since there must be an egg to produce a chicken, and since there must be a chicken to produce an egg, which evolved first, and from what?

But my favorite of all is:

"Why is a scientist like Michael Behe, prominent biochemist, Atheist, and former Darwinism advocate ignored? He stated, "If you search the scientific literature on evolution, and if you focus your search on the question of molecular machines -the basis of life - you find an eerie and complete silence. The complexity of life's foundation has paralyzed science's attempt to account for it…". (Behe M, Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, 1996, The Free Press). Dr. Behe believes in Intelligent Design, but not in God.

Maybe the claim that Behe is an atheist comes from the fact that he is Catholic and therefore believes in the "Whore of Babylon" or something. One thing's for sure, Mr. Murphy has never been within spitting distance of the scientific literature.

Mr. Murphy has promised that he "might consider the advisability of teaching Darwinism as fact in Texas schools" if "Darwinism can answer even ONE of the questions that have just been posed." Meeting the condition is easy but we have to ask if we want him on our side.

"Since there must be an egg to produce a chicken, and since there must be a chicken to produce an egg, which evolved first, and from what?

By pure coincidence, we went to see Garrison Keillor tonight and he described the old New Yorker cartoon about the egg and the chicken in bed, with the chicken lighting up a cigarette and saying, "Well, we've answered that question!" :)
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