MacroMicro

Here’s a nice bait-and-switch, courtesy of Frank Sherwin via Your Origins Matter:

Let’s address this issue by first defining our terms. Although many definitions have appeared, science can be described as what we really know to be true mainly through observation. The late G. G. Simpson of Harvard stated in Science magazine that “it is inherent in any definition of science that statements that cannot be checked by observation are not really about anything . . . or at the very least, they are not science.”

But the origins debate centers around macroevolution, and macroevolution has never been observed. One of the architects of neo-Darwinism agrees: “It is manifestly impossible to reproduce in the laboratory the evolution of man from the australopithecine, or of the modern horse from an Eohippus, or of a land vertebrate from a fishlike ancestor. These evolutionary happenings are unique, unrepeatable, and irreversible” (Theodosius Dobzhansky, American Scientist, December 1957).

This can be brought into sharp focus by considering other areas of science: a supernova can be observed, and science can be done using these observations, but our inability to “reproduce in a laboratory” the original explosion does not change this in the slightest.

It should be fairly obvious to everyone that not only is the argument flawed but the quotes presented are quite likely to be mined. Indeed, this is the case – the first is handled for us by an article by Robert P. J. Day on the talk.origins website:

Compare these two versions with what Simpson actually wrote:

“It is inherent in any acceptable definition of science that statements that cannot be checked by observations are not really about anything — or at the very least they are not science.”

In the first place, Simpson was discussing armchair speculation about life on other planets and, in this context, his statement is perfectly reasonable. This context was carefully removed. However, note how the CEC quote has omitted the word “acceptable” and changed the hyphen to ellipses, normally used to denote missing text, which is not happening here but is more consistent with Gish’s incorrect reproduction of the quote [and the one used by Sherwin]. Conclusive evidence that the quote came from secondhand sources is that the reference is simply wrong. The correct reference to Simpson’s article, given by Friedlander, is p. 769, vol. 143, not volume 45, which makes it abundantly clear that, wherever the quote came from, it was not from the original source, a practise quite common among creationists. It is likely that whoever designed the handout never read Simpson’s original article, and had no idea what its subject was.

(Square parenthesis mine.) Neither Sherwin’s original Acts & Facts article nor its recent reproduction at YOM give any proper reference for his quotes, so he is technically innocent of messing up the citation, but he is unlikely to have seen anything closer to the original form than Gish’s bastardised version.

The second quote, for which he gives a slightly better reference – it’s from “On Methods of Evolutionary Biology and Anthropology: Part I. Biology,” Theodosius Dobzhansky, American Scientist, Vol. 45, No. 5 (December 1957), pp. 366A, 381-392 – can be found here by people with access to JSTOR on page 388. Here’s the full paragraph, from which Sherwin only took the first two sentences:

On the other hand, it is manifestly impossible to reproduce in the laboratory the evolution of man from the australopithecine, or of the modern horse from an Eohippus, or of a land vertebrate from a fish-like ancestor. These evolutionary happenings are unique, unrepeatable, and irreversible. It is as impossible to turn a land vertebrate into a fish as it is to effect the reverse transformation. The applicability of the experimental method to the study of such unique historical processes is severely restricted before all else by the time intervals involved, which far exceed the lifetime of any human experimenter. And yet, it is just such impossibility that is demanded by antievolutionists when they ask for “proofs” of evolution which they would magnanimously accept as satisfactory. This is about as reasonable a demand as it would be to ask an astronomer to recreate the planetary system, or to ask an historian to reenact the history of the world from Caesar to Eisenhower.

(Dobzhansky had previously been talking about experiments on mutations in the lab; Eisenhower was the U.S. President at the time.)

So by carefully choosing which portion of the quote to reproduce, Sherwin – or whoever he was copying off of – created something that could be used to buttress the creationist position out of a direct indictment of it. Another quote mine for the collection.

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3 thoughts on “MacroMicro

  1. The crux of this game of semantics by creationists is that just because something isn’t observed _directly_ does not mean it cannot be reliably inferred from indirect evidence of observations. . One may not have an eyewitness to a murder, but DNA, fingerprints, and other physical evidence can be even more reliable and compelling. By the same token, the patterns of fossil succession, radiometric dates,and other evidence in the geologic record provide compelling testimony of evolution and a complex earth history. YECs can play word games all they like, but it will not change or weaken that evidence.

  2. Also, speciation has been documented as taking place in historic times. For examples, Google “modern speciation observed.” Moreover, YECs have never provided any compelling reason why there should be a limit to evolutionary change. Their “macro/”micro” distinction is arbitrary (as fossils and genetic evidence both show). Some YECs claim “no new information” can be created through mutation and natural selection, but their own “model”‘s requirements belie this claim. After all, YECs believe there were only two humans at the time of creation several thousand years ago, meaning that for each trait, there could have originally been at most four alleles (alternate states of a gene)–two for each individual, assuming (Adam and Eve were literal and created as diploid individuals. Yet many traits in the modern human population involve dozens of alleles (when the whole population is examined). The same goes for most animals, even tho all land animals were supposedly reduced to a pair of each at the time of the Flood. All these new alleles clearly constitute “new information”, but ironically. Furthermore, for all these alleles (and associated variations) to develop in a few thousand years since the Flood would require more rapid and dramatic evolution than any “evolutionist” ever imagined. Of course, none of this will stop YECs from proposing ad hoc, exrtra-Biblical miracles to solve these problems, as they did with the RATE project, and as Danny Faulkner recently did with the meteorite bombardment problem – suggesting that all the bodies of the solar system suffered massive cratering in their early history, but somehow by God’s providence, the earth did not. Of course, this makes a mockery of the claim that YECism is “scientific”. No matter how massive the contrary evidence, “miracles” can always be evoked to evade it.

  3. Let me argue against a great falsehood in mathematics, namely, multiplication. Now multiplication is defined by evolutionists as being a process of repeated addition. This is true in that we can take say three stones and add another three stones to make six stones. Thus we can say ‘3 + 3 = 6′ or we can say ‘3 x 2 = 6′. This is Biblical multiplication (or micro-multiplication) as in, ‘Go forth and multiply’ [Hezekiah 1 v 2].

    This is true mathematics – we can actually take three stones and add another three stones to make six stones. Evolutionary mathematicians argue that this process can be continued indefinitely for larger and larger numbers. This is the error known as macro-multiplication. Macro-multiplication is only a theory, these very large numbers do not actually exist, nobody has ever seen them, they are only symbols invented by evolutionists, there is no new information in them, they are merely repetition of the same ten digits.

    “From this proposition it will follow, when arithmetical addition has been defined, that 1 + 1 = 2 [Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell, Principia Mathematica]

    Thus, even these two great secular mathematicians could not get beyond 1 + 1 = 2, or in terms of micro-multiplication, 1 x 2 = 2. Yet evolutionists insist that it is possible to multiply millions or even billions.

    This theory of macro-multiplication is currently being taught in our schools, indoctrinating the minds of the young. My advice to young creationists, when told to multiply a million times a million, is to ask, ‘Were you there?’

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