Thursday, March 11, 2010

Quote Mining Produces Explosion in Cambrian Rock!

Well, in my daily searches for good arguments for creation, I ran across this page that contains a video from a geologist identified only as Dr. Patton.

Dr. Patton's video employs one of the more effective anti-evolutionist methods: quote mining.

Quote mining, in the case of the creationism vs. evolution debate, means digging up quotes by evolutionists and presenting them out of the context of their original discussion so that it looks like the people who believe in evolution are speaking against it!

I wrote down the first 13 quotes that Dr. Patton used.

To the ignorant person, they're powerful.

To someone even minimally educated on the subject of evolution, only one of them is actually relevant. The rest don't defend creationism even on the surface unless you don't know anything about evolution at all.

For example, Dr. Patton titles one slide "Separate Living Kinds," which made me laugh out loud. I hope it makes you laugh, too, once you know why it's funny.

The quote is from the April, 1993 issue of Discover magazine. It says:

… demonstrates that the large animal phyla of today were present already in the early Cambrian and that they were as distinct from each other as they are today … a menagerie of clam cousins, sponges, segmented worms, and other invertebrates that would seem vaguely familiar to any scuba diver.

The person who is ignorant of what the Cambrian is and what phyla are might be very impressed by such a quote. "Wow," they might think, "All the Biblical 'kinds' are represented here, right from the beginning."

In fact, that's what the title of Dr. Patton's slide suggests. "Separate Living Kinds,"s says the title over the quote.

Well, let's discuss those kinds.

One of those kinds is the phylum chordata. That's the phylum we belong to. Oh, it's also the phylum fish belong to. Oh, it's also the phylum reptiles belong to. Oh, it's also the phylum frogs belong to.

In fact, it's the phylum that bluebell tunicates belong to:

Photo by Nick Hobgood

bluebell tunicates

And it's the phylum that these sea squirts (also tunicates) belong to:

sea squirts

As you can probably figure out, there are no sharks, sting rays, salmon, frogs, salamanders, dinosaurs, snakes, bats, tigers, people, or duck-billed platypi in Cambrian rock.

For some odd reason, since they're not there, and since they all belong to the phylum Chordata, scientists think they evolved since.

Hmmm, I wonder why.

So, is Dr. Patton suggesting that the phylum Chordata qualifies as a "kind" according to Genesis? That would be very convenient for Noah, since he would only have to take a gross-looking jar of sea squirts onto the ark, then let them evolve in the last 4,500 years into all the animals of the world.

Surely Dr. Patton is not suggesting that. So what is he suggesting?

Is he suggesting that the alternative explanation is a series of creation events in which God would later create fish, then sharks, then amphibians, then reptiles, then mammals, and then man?

Because that is what the fossil record says happened. Not one of Dr. Patton's quotes changes that at all. Thus, all but one is irrelevant to the topic.

Did Dr. Patton know what I just told you?

I'll leave you to figure that out.

I will tell you, though, that people like Dr. Patton make me angry, and I think they make God angry as well.

What About the Relevant Quote

The relevant quote was:

It is now clear that the pride with which it was assumed that the inheritance of homologous structures from a common ancestor explained homology was misplaced; for such inheritance cannot be ascribed to the identity of genes. The attempt to find homologous genes has been given up as hopeless.

That's from the Oxford Biology Reader, from an article entitled "Homology, an Unsolved Problem." It's written by Sir Gavin DeBeer, a professor of embryology at the University of London.

Important quote, but his statement is unjustified.


Oh, well. One more attempt to justify young earth creationism fails.

Hey, what about old earth creationism?

Well, as far as I can tell, I'm an old earth creationist, but I can't figure out the difference between that an believing in evolution. I'd have to suppose that every evolutionist that believes in God is an old earth creationist.

And here's how I address Intelligent Design.

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