WND Offers Supremely Dumb Creationist Argument

I’m sure we’ve all seen more than our fair share of egregiously dumb anti-evolution arguments. I mean, it’s hard to top Ray Comfort’s banana for sheer stupidity. But the opening sentence of this column by Jerry Newcombe is at least in the running:

Every time I log into a computer and have to enter my password, I’m reminded of how impossible evolution is.

One little mistake on the keypad and I can’t log in. There’s even a website where I seem to be in permanent “log-in purgatory.” I can’t log in ever. Granted, it’s operator error. But still …

How does this tie to evolution? Because if evolution were true, then we are to believe a whole series of complex sequences managed to get everything right – repeatedly.

To use a clichéd example: It would be like a monkey typing at random and coming out with the complete works of Shakespeare without any errors.

Only if you believe that evolution had the goal of producing the complete works of Shakespeare. And if you don’t understand the difference between pure randomness and contingency. And if you completely ignore natural selection and number of trials when building that golly-gee-whiz probability assumption. In other words, only if you’re completely ignorant of the subject, as Newcombe clearly is.

There’s a new book on evolution that is getting a lot of attention – and deservedly so. It is “Darwin’s Doubt” by Stephen Meyer. If you’re familiar with the topic, the subtitle is very clever – “The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design.”

This is not some minor book by an “obscurantist backwoods fundamentalist.” It is published by HarperCollins and was written by a man who earned his Ph.D. at Cambridge. This 500-page illustrated book made its way to seventh place on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Let’s see: Appeal to authority? Check. Appeal to popularity? Check. Reasonable argument for a substantive conclusion that Meyer is correct? Nope, not here. But even the appeal to authority is absurd. Meyer has no background or training at all in paleontology, which is the primary subject of the book. And isn’t it amusing how creationists absolutely love appeals to singular authority — we’ve got this one PhD who agrees with us — while ignoring the far more relevant authority of virtually every scientist working in the relevant fields?

I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Meyer of the Discovery Institute on my radio show last week. He said of his book, “The title tells the story. I tell the story of a doubt that Darwin had about his own theory.” The doubt centers around what’s known as the Cambrian Explosion…

Meyer explains, “The Cambrian Explosion refers to the geologically sudden or abrupt appearance of the major group of animals early in the fossil record, in a period of time that geologists call the Cambrian.” The key word is “abrupt.”

No, the key word is “geologically.” We’re talking about tens of millions of years, at bare minimum, and that number keeps getting bigger as we discover more pre-cambrian fossils. Meyer and Newcombe want you to think that this happened “abruptly” in colloquial terms, like in an afternoon or a week. As Donald Prothero, who actually is a paleontologist, points out in a review of Meyer’s new book:

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