So who is right? Was Darwin a racist? Did his theory promote racism? Was Darwin an abolitionist who attempted to show that all men are part of the same, happy family? The short answer is that Darwin was a racist, but neither he nor his theory promoted racism. In the same way, neither he nor his theory fought against racism. The long answer, of course, is much more interesting.
Unfortunately, the shoddy theology of most young-earth creationists doesn’t stop with the insistence that the days in Genesis must be 24-hour days. Another unfortunate claim most make is that there was no animal death before the Fall. Like the insistence that the days in Genesis 1 are 24-hour days, this claim is based on an incredibly inept view of Scripture.
Argo is the name given to an array of over 3,000 buoys that have been installed throughout the word’s oceans. It is a tribute to how countries can work together toward a common goal, as it is the result of a collaboration among more than 50 scientific institutions in 26 different countries. Of course, as is typical, while the United States is only one of those 26 countries, it contributes over half of the money necessary to fund this ambitious project. As you can see from the image below, the buoys do a good job of covering the majority of earth’s oceans 1:
Argo Buoy System
What do these buoys do? Well, periodically, they dive 3,000 feet into the ocean and, as they rise back up, they measure things about the ocean water, like salt content, pressure, and…oh yeah…temperature. They’ve been measuring these things since 2003, and the scientific community really wanted to start seeing how these measured quantities have changed over the years. Now that they have seen the results, many scientists are shutting their eyes, covering their ears, and yelling as loudly as they can, because the data go squarely against the concept of “Global Warming.”
He’s a music man and he sells clarinets to the kids in the town with the big trombones and the rat-a-tat drums, big barass bass, big brass bass, and the piccolo, the piccolo with uniforms, too with a shiny gold braid on the coat and a big red stripe runnin . . .
If you don’t know what that is, it’s a line from the Broadway Musical called The Music Man. Why am I posting this? Because I was just cast as Harold Hill in our local community theater’s production of this classic Broadway Hit.
When Darwin was around, evolution was science. Darwin made observations, formed a hypothesis, made predictions, and then compared those predictions to the data. In his book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, he showed the data that compared favorably to his predictions, and he argued why the data that did not compare favorably to his predictions should not be taken too seriously. Overall, it was an excellent work of science.
The problem is that as time has gone on, more and more data have been shown to be squarely against the predictions of the evolutionary hypothesis. For example, Darwin himself said that if his view was correct, there should be all sorts of vestigial organs (organs that serve no useful purpose) in nature. He reasoned that as variations occurred in organisms, some useful organs would eventually stop becoming useful – their functions would be “overwritten” by new biological structures that made the creature more fit to survive. However, the now useless organs would not necessarily go away. It would take a long time for natural selection to get rid of them, so at any given time, vestigial organs should be around in a variety of creatures. In fact, Darwin compared vestigial organs to the silent letters in a word. Silent letters don’t necessarily serve a function in the word, but they can give you a hint about the word’s origin. In the same way, he reasoned, vestigial organs don’t serve a useful purpose in an organism, but they can give hints to the organism’s origin1.
Recently, my favorite atheist (P.Z. Myers) went to the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum with about 300 fellow atheists. It was an event organized by the Secular Student Alliance. He wanted to go there to make fun of the exhibits and provide fodder for his blog.
The Creation Museum, of course, was happy to have them. They helped the SSA arrange the whole thing and had a tent outside for them, etc. In fact, the SSA’s organizer for the event, Lyz Lydell, said:
Now, I was absolutely blown away by how accommodating and friendly the Creation Museum staff were. They knew we were coming; they knew exactly who we were. And there had been a little bit of tension about the purpose of our visit before we went. But after we got there, the staff were just phenomenally polite and kind and helpful, and the security guards were very polite and helpful to us. We were expecting more tension, so to have everything so polite and so smooth was absolutely great.1
Imagine my surprise, then, when I read P.Z. Myer’s accounts of the visit.
Alkali metals (like sodium) really like to give up their last electron. That way, they have a very stable electron configuration. Well…one way these metals can give up their electron is to react with water:
2Na + 2H2O –> 2NaOH + H2
In NaOH, the sodium is in its ionic form, Na+. Thus, it has lost its last electron and is now quite stable. Note that hydrogen gas is a product. Well, hydrogen is an explosive gas, and this reaction produces a lot of heat. So when sodium and water react…
Note that this was done in a drainage pond with the owner’s full permission. There were no fish in the water, and the byproduct, NaOH, is actually good for the soil in this area, as the soil is acidic. Thus, this is an environmentally friendly shenanigan.
It turns out that of all alkali metals, sodium is the SECOND LEAST reactive. Lithium is the least reactive. The other alkali metals, in order of reactivity, are potassium, rubidium, cesium, and francium.
If you haven’t seen it, there is a video on Godtube, Youtube, and probably any other tube out there. It is of some preacher named Louie Giglio. He claims to have spoken to a “molecular biologist” from a “local university” who told him about the protein called laminin. This supposed molecular biologist told him that laminin is a cell adhesion molecule that “holds the body together.” Then, he shows his audience a “scientific illustration” of what laminin looks like. Here is basically what he shows the audience:
He goes on to say that this is confirmation of Colossians 1:17, “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” So…because the “scientific illustration” of laminin looks like a cross, God is using science to remind us that Christ holds all things together. Just in case the “scientific illustration” doesn’t convince you, he shows you an electron microscope image of laminin. He shows this:
Now I have to admit that someone who knows little about protein chemistry could easily be taken in by such tripe. Thus, even though this video upsets me, I am not upset with the people who send me this video. Neither am I upset with Louie Giglio for talking about this in his sermon without really understanding it. Preachers talk about things they don’t understand all the time, including the Bible. Thus, it doesn’t surprise me that a preacher would talk about protein chemistry even though he doesn’t understand it. What bothers me is that Louie Giglio claims he got this information from a molecular biologist.
John Holzmann is a man I respect and admire. I have never met him, but he seems to me the picture of a true Renaissance Man. He has a degree in philosophy from Michigan State University and a Masters of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary. He and his wife started a homeschool curriculum company (Sonlight Curriculum) that is wildly popular and promotes what I like to call a “neo-classical” approach to education. In this approach, a large fraction of learning comes not from textbooks, but from real literature that relates to the topic at hand. When you study Native Americans, for example, you don’t read a textbook about Native Americans, you read literature written by Native Americans or by people who interacted with Native Americans. It is an approach that can be a bit time consuming for the parent, but it produces well-educated students who are voracious readers.
Obviously, anyone who has enough knowledge of literature to be part of a two-person team who could produce such a complete curriculum must be incredibly knowledgeable about a wide variety of subjects. In addition, I have had drawn-out E-MAIL conversations with him regarding the age of the earth (a subject on which we disagree), and not only is he thoroughly familiar with the main scientific issues related to the subject, he can discuss them in a meaningful and respectful way. Thus, when John Holzmann commented on my blog, I sat up and took notice.