Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Darkest Stupidity

PZ could only make it two paragraphs into Ray Comfort's moronic reply to Eugenie Scott's prior dismantling of him. But, because PZ took care of those two, I could make it to the third ... just to find this:

Nor does any evolutionary believer adequately address the fact that all those 1.4 million species managed to evolve into maturity together in our lifetime. Nothing we have in creation is half evolved. The cow has a working udder to make drinkable milk. The bee has working apparatus to make edible honey. We don't find a half-evolved cow or bee. None of the 1.4 million species on the Earth has half an eye. All have the necessary functioning equipment, from the brain, to the teeth, to the eye, to limbs, to reproductive necessities. Everything that we see in creation is in full working order—from the sun, to the mixture of the air, to the seasons, to fruit trees and vegetables, to the animal kingdom—from the tiny ant right up to the massive elephant.

The man is a gibbering loon spewing drool over those who are so determined to have their religious fantasies confirmed that they don't even notice the spittle dripping off them.

The logical fallacy Comfort is suffering from (or dishonestly foisting on others) involves thinking that any of the ancestors of extant organisms had the same needs as its descendants have today. There were never any "half-evolved" organisms ... each was evolved to fit its environment well enough to reproduce its kind. We have a word for populations of organisms that weren't well enough adapted to their environment to reproduce: "extinct."

I call this the "wrong end of the telescope" fallacy. What we see around us today is the result of billions of years of evolutionary changes. Changes that are constantly being filtered through selection, with the traits that make the organisms well suited to the (changing) environment increasing in frequency, while those which are detrimental decrease, and those that are close to neutral becoming fixed in a population randomly, where they may become favorable or detrimental at some later date because of changes in the environment. Life in the past worked well enough to survive in the same way that extant life works well enough to survive. It goes without saying that we are all descendants of a (very long) line of successful reproducers, even if those ancestors could no longer do well in our environment.

And, of course, in the childish sense that Comfort means, there are "half-eyes" (see hagfish) and "half-utters" (see platypuses) around today and those sorts of organs function well enough that those creatures have not gone extinct, just as did all the different organs our ancestors had.

There is nothing "mature" about life today. It is continuing to change and evolve all around (and in) us; it just takes place at a pace so slow that ephemeral creatures like ourselves have to look very hard to see the evidence for it. Since Comfort so desperately doesn't want to see the evidence, it is hardly surprising that he makes up such incredibly lame and ignorant excuses to keep his eyes squeezed so very tightly shut, his fingers buried so very deeply in his ears and his humming of Amazing Grace so very loud.

He certainly didn't get this "objection" to evolution from studying what scientists have so patiently explained, at length, about the theory of evolution but apparently have keep hidden away from his eyes in libraries and museums and other places of actual learning.

Maybe now someone can do another paragraph before their brains melt.

I would say your argument concerning "half-evolved" forms should go the other way: we are all "half-evolved." I recognize that this implies that there's some sort of endpoint, which there isn't, but I feel it fits better than all forms being completely evolved. Every population of organisms is in transition from its current state into another, just as all of our ancestors were in flux from what they were to what we now are. Our eyes today may only be "half-evolved" compared to the eyes of our descendents many generations from now. I guess it's sort of a half-full/half-empty sort of situation, but I think we can agree Ray Comfort is completely insane.
... we are all "half-evolved."

That is another way of putting it. I chose my way because I thinks it emphasizes that evolution is ongoing and what we see is as fully evolved as it needs to be to be here.

Comfort is completely insane.

Ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that).
I'd step up to the plate, but alas, after three paragraphs of Ray Comfort's drivel, my brain has crawled under the bed and refuses to come back out. Apparently, the trait that would allow me to survive the storm of stupidity that is Ray Comfort's paragraph four is only half-evolved...
Comfort is absolutely wrong.

Cows may be maturely evolved, but not humans. We won't be, until we evolve huge, hairless heads and telepathy, just like in all the movies.
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