Accurate labelling

With all this intelligent design and duplicitous “teach the controversy” stuff floating around, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a good old-fashioned, unadulterated creationist screed. I recently came across a prime specimen, however, and I thought it might be fun to go back and take a look, for old time’s sake. The author, one A J Castellitto, is a freelance writer who has a BS in Counselling and Human Services, and whose research has been published in such well-respected science journals as The Christian Post, Intellectual Conservative and Reformed Perspective Magazine. His current paper made it through peer review and was accepted for publication by

He begins with a traditional quote mine.

“Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Charles Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” – Richard Dawkins

This single statement lays out the implicit theme of the whole piece. If Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist, then it stands to reason that demolishing Darwin will leave atheists without any way to be intellectually fulfilled. Darwin delenda est!

Darwin’s Theory of Evolution provided the extra bit of fuel needed to propel Karl’s godless Marxism (or Blind Naturalism). Overall, a strong case can be made for the powerful impact Darwin’s ideas have had on the embrace and promotion of Atheism both then and now.

But how did Charles Darwin come upon his ‘evidence’? How much of his theory was actually founded on sound scientific principles?

Our intrepid creationist has found a way to Godwin without Godwinning—simply blame Darwin for Marxism instead of Hitler, and you can avoid setting off the Godwin alarms. Clever. And he has also correctly identified the keystone of Darwin’s appeal: his scientific evidence. If he can show that the evidence fails to live up to scientific standards (for example, by showing that Darwin failed to document his sources correctly, failed to report the data accurately, and/or arrived at conclusions that are unverifiable and inconsistent with material reality), then he will have made significant progress towards achieving his goal.

So which bit of evidence does he think is Darwin’s weak spot? Will it be his catalog of variations from the Galapagos? His systematic comparisons from the fossil record? His analysis of natural versus artificial selection? Nope.

Darwin’s father and grandfather were both wealthy physicians who held to a form of evolutionary thought. These were men of the freethinking, pantheistic sort. Charles was raised Unitarian and the extent of young Darwin’s Christian faith must be called into question as very soon into his extended trip (five years across the globe on the H.M.S. Beagle) he had already laid a foundation for his naturalized theory of origins that left little room for a supreme deity.

The “scientific weakness” of Darwin’s work is that his upbringing failed to indoctrinate him in the practice of superstitiously attributing everything to the miraculous hand of God? Maybe I don’t have a BS in Counselling like AJ does, but it looks to me like he just walked up to the foul line, dribbled the ball a couple times, and then chucked it as hard as he could at a couple old geezers sitting in the back bleachers. Not exactly a three-point shot.

Darwin’s observations, which even AJ admits “were not wholly unique” to Darwin, were “enthusiastically embraced by the masses of the Enlightenment Era” because of two things: they were verifiably consistent with the real-world evidence, and they explained so much more than creationism did. AJ, however, addresses neither of these points, and instead seems to think that Darwin’s conclusions are suspect because they were so popular among “the masses of the Enlightenment.”

AJ continues his social critique by linking Darwin to Thomas Huxley, who “heavily promoted the infamous concept of man’s descent from apes.” And if the “infamy” of being primates weren’t enough, AJ gleefully quote mines Darwin thusly:

The most prominent and aggressive defender of Darwin’s theories, Huxley was once referred to as ‘My good and kind agent for the propagation of the Gospel – i.e. the devil’s Gospel,’ by Darwin.

Darwin’s use of irony apparently went completely over AJ’s head, causing him to conclude that Darwin literally did worship Satan and plotted, like a cartoon villain, to maliciously spread atheism just to be evil. And yet, in the very next breath, he claims that Darwin withheld publication of “On the Origin of Species” because he was afraid of the consequences of its atheistic implications. That’s a bit out of character for someone who allegedly “was ultimately promoting atheism” with the “shameless” and “enthusiastic” help of his good and kind agent Huxley.

So his critique of Darwin’s evidence so far has consisted of ignoring the actual content of that evidence and focusing instead on Darwin’s assumed religious deficiencies and godless companions, plus the atheistic implications of his discoveries. No word yet on whether there’s any valid reason to challenge the scientific validity of that evidence, but let’s proceed.

AJ’s next critique centers on natural selection, which he describes as being the idea that “a creature’s ability to adapt to it’s [sic] environment directly influenced it’s [sic] ability to thrive and ultimately survive over time.” This implies that creatures which survive longer will probably produce more offspring, resulting in a greater prevalence of those traits in succeeding generations. Not a too-terrible summary of the concept, and in fact AJ concedes that “Most of the evidence used by Darwin to confirm these considerations was consistent with his ideas.”

So far so good. Darwin is a man who looked at the evidence, relatively free from religious indoctrination, and arrived at conclusions that are consistent with the evidence. So what’s the problem?

Where Darwin enters the realm of presumption and blind assumption is his ideas related to common ancestry and progressive mutations. These are the areas of consideration that are used to propose a godless creation.

Why, exactly, is Darwin presumptuous and blind? Apparently it’s because he fails to presume that God is the Creator, and fails to blindly assume that all species were created at once, during a literal seven-day creation period. The distribution of traits and of species varies from the older strata to the newer ones, so the most logical conclusion would be that as older species go extinct, newer species evolve to replace them, as would naturally result from the kinds of variability and selection that Darwin observed and documented. But because he did not arbitrarily and superstitiously reject these conclusions in favor of blindly assuming a dogmatic fixity of species, he has (in the topsy-turvy world of “creation science”) entered “the realm of presumption and blind assumption.”

To further demonstrate Darwin’s blind presumption, AJ next offers us that most compelling of creationist evidences, the personal anecdote.

I have been repeatedly told with great assertion that the scientific community has moved on from the concepts put forth by Charles Darwin. Personally, I am quite pleased with this assertion. However, my follow-up question is often met with either silence or indignance. That question being:

What aspects of evolution do they now deem disposable?

Has Darwin been wholly discredited by modern science?

Is any aspect of his considerations beneficial or shall we wholly discard his theory?

What were his expectations for natural selection and does today’s evolutionist hold to those same expectations?

I have yet to hear an honest answer to such inquires.

One suspects he is failing to hear the answers because he’s wearing headphones that are blasting “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” into his eardrums at maximum decibels. Even elementary introductions to evolutionary theory point out that since Darwin’s time we have identified genetics, rather than Lamarkian inheritance, as one of the primary the mechanisms by which variation and selection operate on a population, and have identified a number of other mechanisms as well. If AJ has indeed never heard an honest answer to his question about science after Darwin, it’s not because there’s any great mystery about it. Perhaps they don’t have Google where AJ lives.

Now things begin to get interesting. AJ’s next maneuver is to admit that evolution is correct, and that “change over time” and “survival of the fittest” are all phenomena that are readily observed and confirmed in the real world. Then, just when we’re all ready to congratulate him for taking a reasonable view of the evidence, he casually informs us that this is not what On the Origin of Species” is about!

There are very few that fail to acknowledge these concepts. But that’s not what Darwin’s Origin of the Species was proposing.

In reality, natural selection does not bring about the wholesale changes Darwin hypothesized. There is no real evidence for the theorized level of progressive change proposed by Darwin and still promoted by the science of today. This is the unfounded, further application that drives the skeptic of blind evolution to cry ‘foul!’

Having been a creationist myself, I can vouch for how he arrives at this conclusion. It’s easy. You simply assume, blindly, that the number and characteristics of the species were fixed at Creation, and that any evidence which contradicts this assumption is not real evidence. Once you have rejected all the evidence suggesting that species do evolve and arise over time, you then announce that there is no evidence of evolution. No matter how much evidence there is, there is no real evidence, just like there are no true Scotsmen.

Our genetics are fixed and remain ‘in kind.’ The establishment would do well to stick with the facts until they can be proven to be expanded upon. Any further proposal is nothing more than ‘wishful thinking.’ What evolution proposes is crossing the line of science into the realm of creative fiction.

Fixed how? What physical mechanism exists that prevents ordinary biochemical mutations from altering the “fixed” definition of what a species is? Any physical mechanism would double or triple the amount of genetic information that would need to be carried by each and every individual, since each trait would need to be represented not only by the current value for the individual, but also the maximum possible value for the species, and the minimum possible value, so that the specification for the species as a whole would be retained across successive generations. And then you would need a physical mechanism for monitoring the variable individual value and then taking appropriate actions, if necessary, to ensure that it remains within the fixed boundaries for that species.

So where is any of this? What peer-reviewed scientific papers have been published documenting the mechanisms by which a species propagates an additional set of parameters that define the fixed limits beyond which individual offspring cannot deviate from the original traits of all of their ancestors? No such evidence exists. It’s purely wishful thinking on AJ’s part, which is why he accuses evolutionary scientists of “wishful thinking” for failing to assume that it must be there regardless of whether or not there’s any plausible mechanism for it.

Instead of scientific evidence, AJ has the three c’s: common creationist canards.

Ultimately, the overall problem with blind evolution both in process and acceptance is the non-skeptical adherence to a contrived, ideologically-based foundation. Especially since a sinless, godless form of evolution is arguably a building block of communism, apathy and moral decay.

Once again, he deftly avoids overt Godwinning by substituting communism for Nazism, but you get the point. Even though, as AJ himself declares, “No rational human being argues the basic concept of evolution,” it makes you an evil person and somehow dictates your political philosophy regarding government ownership of property. By failing to arbitrarily reject any evidence inconsistent with Genesis, by refusing to assume the existence of complex and hitherto undetected genetic mechanisms for enforcing strict limits on species variation, and by abjectly failing to superstitiously attribute virtually everything to the magical hand of an invisible deity, science has become “scientism,” and “resembles religious dogma.”

And why is religious dogma bad? “True science,” AJ loftily informs us, “should leave no lasting place for unsupported assumptions, unfounded speculations and insurmountable barriers”—except when those assumptions and speculations come from the Bible, and the barriers come from real-world genetics (i.e. the kind scientists study outside the Counseling and Human Services curriculum).

He ends as he began, with a quote mine from Richard Dawkins.

“Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.”

Sorry Dick, I have faith, but not enough to believe in evolution!

He might have missed the point, but what Dawkins is actually saying is that faith is very often a bad thing, not something to brag about, and certainly not something to use as the basis for believing that evolution is real.

So all in all, a fairly typical creationist screed: emotional arguments, ad hominems, thinly-veiled Godwinning, quote mines, anecdotal evidence, projection, aggressive ignorance of the evidence, patronizing self-righteousness, and a complete lack of awareness concerning the fundamental difference between science and superstition. He did do one thing right, though. In a probably accidental bit of truth in advertising, he labelled his article as being “The ignorance of blind faith.” In that one label, he was spot-on.



  1. Al Dente says

    Darwin literally did worship Satan and plotted, like a cartoon villain, to maliciously spread atheism just to be evil.

    Then wouldn’t Darwin promote Satanism rather than atheism?

    Ultimately, the overall problem with blind evolution both in process and acceptance is the non-skeptical adherence to a contrived, ideologically-based foundation.

    This from someone who adheres to a contrived, ideologically based foundation. Introspection is not one of AJ’s strengths.

    Especially since a sinless, godless form of evolution is arguably a building block of communism, apathy and moral decay.

    However argument from assertion is something AJ does well.

  2. says

    I’m just saying the rewind & reconstruct approach is bogus… But they are merely following the money trail & you guys follow them….

    does not explain molecules to man overcoming entropy probability & the futility of mutations…. Go!

    • Nepenthe says

      The money trail.

      Pardon me while I go die laughing. And then go to lab to do unpaid evo-bio work.

      Money trail. Hah.

    • M can help you with that. says

      does not explain molecules to man overcoming entropy probability & the futility of mutations…. Go!

      Go read any of the literally thousands of conversations between creationists and biologists that have addressed both of these.

      (This is, of course, assuming that you haven’t already read more than one of these. In other words, being generous in assuming that you’re lying about your level of competence rather than lying about your memory.)

  3. says

    I think you skipped a few good parts… If I may be so bold,

    This is not to say there exists no variation within the species and that over time these variations do not alter the characteristics or traits of the species to some ultra slight degree. But to make a case that a blind and random form of molecules to man evolution is responsible for the formation of a single cell, then to infer that genetic advancement may, by way of some phantom ‘positive’ mutation, occur which somehow enables the development of some newly defining trait that, in turn, causes a creature to develop into a more progressive life form …….?

    I know, we should just give it time…… The answer lies in potent bacterias and genetically modified fruit flies…. Sorry, call me a skeptic, but I’m not buying it.

    • Deacon Duncan says

      Hi, AJ, welcome to the blog. I’m sorry, I can’t call you a skeptic because skepticism is a two-way street. If we refuse to believe things, irrespective of the evidence, then we are not skeptics, but merely denialists. True skepticism judges the truth of a proposition by the degree to which it is consistent with the objective, verifiable evidence. That means that if we wish to be skeptics, we are bound to accept the evidence that does exist just as strongly as we are bound to withhold belief in the absence of such evidence.

      If we step outside on a dark, clear night, we can see stars. Because light travels at a finite speed, and the distances between stars are so great, the things we see in the night sky are not things that are happening out there right now. Instead, they are the things that happened thousands or even millions of years ago. These things are not artist’s conceptions, or photographs, or computer simulations. They are the past, the actual sight of what happened, and we are eyewitnesses. We are seeing, first hand, with our own eyes, the history of our galaxy and of the universe, as it was thousands and millions of years ago.

      This is objective, verifiable evidence. Anyone can look outside on a dark night and see the stars. Anyone can be an eyewitness of the history of the universe. To be true skeptics, we must believe the evidence that the universe is far older than the 6,000 to 10,000 years cited in the stories men call the “Word of God.” If we merely reject the evidence, or attempt to substitute fanciful speculations for which there is no evidence, then we are not skeptics, but merely denialists.

      Creationism itself provides us with some fairly substantial evidence that Genesis is a myth, drawn from the imaginations of men. Men can imagine any god they like, and they can imagine him with as much power and wisdom and knowledge as they like. But what they can’t do is devise a myth that incorporates things they don’t know about. God may be “omniscient” in all the old stories, but His creators did not know about evolution, and therefore He could not know about it either, and evolution could not be part of the creation myths. And it’s not just me saying so. Creationists go to great pains to prove to the rest of us how utterly foreign evolution is to the Genesis creation account. They know for a fact, based on their belief in Scripture, that their “Creator” never came up with any such thing—even though evolution is a far superior design.

      What’s the best we can expect from God’s design, as recorded in the Bible? Failure. The species may struggle on for a while, but every change, every variation (creationists assure us) is a degradation, another step downwards in the long, slow corruption that will eventually bring each species to extinction. Blame it on sin if you like, you still cannot deny the complete absence of any evolutionary-calibre mechanism for improving an existing species, let alone giving rise to new species. Creationism is the denial that God ever managed to come up with a working, beneficial counter to ceaseless and inevitable degradation of His creation. Evolution is not and never has been God’s idea. He completely failed to come up with it, at least as far as the Bible and creationism tell us.

      Darwin discovered an astonishingly elegant and powerful mechanism by which creation could be endlessly innovative and beautiful and practical, to the point that theistic evolutionists have been quite pleased to give God credit for having come up with it. And let’s face it, any biological system that could prove difficult for a Richard Dawkins to work out would indeed qualify for the description of Intelligent Design (provided there were anyone who actually designed it). But theistic evolution is wishful thinking. As you yourself point out, Genesis-style creation offers no such hope. If the environment changes, as it so often has, God’s creatures are flawed, unable to adapt beyond certain, narrow limits, doomed to failure and extinction. Only a man like Charles Darwin has the vision to discern a simple, ingenious approach capable of preserving the biosphere and even innovating and flourishing in the face of unpredictable changes. No such vision exists anywhere in Genesis. God, the fictional character invented by men, is out-done by a seminary dropout.

      Thank you for pointing out the Creator’s failure and inability to figure out how to overcome entropy, probability, and the other obstacles that creationists have put in His way. Since you are trying to praise God rather than to discredit Him, we can only conclude that the design deficiencies you point out are indeed the best we could expect from Him, and that there’s no point in hoping He might have been wise enough to figure out how to solve your “unsolvable” puzzles. This does not mean that science cannot find such answers (some of which have already been discovered), but it does help document the fact that God is the creation of men and can never be greater than the imaginations of those who invented Him.

    • says

      You know what I find hilarious/tragic? That you know, on one hand, that unskeptical behaviour like blind assumptions and dogmatic adherence and leaps of faith and denying science and willful arrogance etc. are Bad Things™, but on the other hand you somehow don’t see how they wholly apply to you and your own ideas (I use the term “your own” advisedly; these arguments of yours are so worn out and hackneyed and long-debunked that it’s laughable that people still try to employ them. Many were laughed off in Darwin’s own lifetime).

      Seriously, if you walked into a laboratory spouting this inanity they’d laugh their arses off, scold you for wasting their time or call security (or all three). Of course, that’d get you whining about conspiracy theories – but hey, I’ll listen. Tell me exactly how every reputable university and research organisation on the planet, and all their countless thousands of employees, is managing to keep the Big Lie of evolution a secret. Tell me how medical research, much of it done on the basis of the fact of evolution, could possibly progress if it was based on a global lie. Tell me who’s paying them to keep quiet about the alleged Truth of Genesis or what the actual pay-off is. I’d find that very interesting because scientists like to actually find out how things work, and hoaxes and purposeful dishonesty don’t last and aren’t tolerated in science – think about Piltdown Man or Nebraska Man or any other similar fraud, then tell me who uncovered it. Theologians? Creationists? No – it was scientists, who were less than impressed about con-artists dragging their discipline through the mud.

      Seriously, for the scientist that disproved evolution and/or proved creationism there’d be international, lifelong fame, Nobel Prizes, cash, influence, things being named after them left, right and centre and the satisfaction of being a scientific pioneer. Not only that, every scientist in the world would relish the opportunity to pursue their work in a brand new paradigm. It’d literally change the world for everybody. Why hasn’t anyone spoken up? Is the Darwinian conspiracy keeping everything quiet? For what possible purpose? The entire US government security apparatus couldn’t shut Ed Snowden up – how, in today’s age of instant global publication, could anyone possibly silence the one scientist in the world who discovered the Truth of Genesis and wanted to post it online for all to see and confirm for themselves?

      Creationists need to lift their game a little. It’s been over 150 years since Darwin, yet you people still think he’s some kind of cornerstone of atheism and evolution, and if you can undermine his work and discoveries the whole edifice will come crashing down. Even when you do stop babbling about Darwin (newsflash: WE KNOW he was wrong about a number of things but that doesn’t invalidate evolution), all you can do is spout little soundbites like “molecules to man” and “I aint no monkey” or some word-salad about entropy (which none of you understand), mutations (ditto) or “progressive creatures” (which you made up), as if evolution is some kind of straight line moving upwards in complexity, like the development of the Ford Mustang. Even when you guys do bother to attempt to use scientific terminology, it just displays your rank ignorance of the topic (especially when quote-mining somebody, leaving out part of the quote that demolishes your argument completely, or discussing data that superficially appears to agree with you, but actually contributes to more demolition).

  4. mikespeir says

    I’ll keep my comment lean for fear I’ll say things that would make Deacon Duncan’s head so big it might explode. I will offer this, though: Dang, I wish I had a brain like that!

  5. says

    Again, to argue against impossibility is the essence of insanity

    Molecules to man can never overcome probability, entropy & the futility of mutations….

    You can try to dress up your argument any fancy, technical way you want …. Bishop
    Wilberforce called out Darwin & Huxley back in the day as did CS Lewis & GK Chesterton…..

    The establishment have their orders will keep beating that dead horse & so will you fools….. Who replace God with magic & scientism…. It’s just willful arrogance

    • Deacon Duncan says

      Again, to argue against impossibility is the essence of insanity

      That’s an odd remark, considering you are labelling evolution as an impossibility and arguing against it.

  6. says

    Creation is dying – the effects of sin…. Completely consistent with the Biblical rendering of reality…. You needed 3 paragraphs to spew nonsense & propaganda?

    Evolution is on trial here not God

    • Deacon Duncan says

      I agree that a dying creation is consistent with a biblical rendering of reality. I merely point out that this leaves us with a creation myth whose flaws reveal a lack of information and imagination on the part of the men who invented it. I also agree that God is not on trial here, since there is no god to put on trial. What we are looking at are the things men say about the origin of the species. Some men say things about a god being involved somehow, but these are just superstitious stories made up by (relatively) ignorant and primitive men. We can see this in the fact that their stories lack anything as ingenious, elegant, and powerful as evolution. They have fairy-tale stuff like talking animals and magical trees whose fruit can make people live forever, but nothing that reflects any kind of knowledge or understanding of how biology really works.

      I think that’s the main reason creationists get all indignant and blustery when confronted with evolution. It’s a better idea than anything the inventors of Genesis could come up with. They weren’t smart enough and/or knowledgeable enough to imagine any way to make the natural world self-repairing and self-improving, and therefore the God they invented could not come up with anything like that either. Their lack of knowledge necessarily became God’s lack, because He was only a character in their fables. And what’s worse, there’s no way for modern creationists to go back and improve the original story. Scientifically, creationists are stuck in the Bronze Age because they cannot correct their “revelation” without admitting its flaws. And without its presumed infallibility, the Bible has nothing, because the real world certainly does not work anything like the biblical accounts of God’s supposed miracles.

      • says

        “by ignorant and primitive men”
        Not really a criticism of what you are saying in general, but can we find a better way of saying that?

        I mean the men (and women) who lived when those myths were made up were as intelligent and knowledgeable as we are, just about different things.
        Look at the pyramids, Silbury Hill, various henges to see what they were capable of: it’s just that they didn’t know about things like molecular bio or stratigraphy!

        And then consider Newton’s line about seeing further because standing on the shoulders of giants and remember that it’s giants rather than turtles all the way down…

      • Deacon Duncan says

        Ok, I made it “relatively ignorant and primitive,” is that better? The point I want to make is that, though they may have been intelligent and worthy folk, they knew less than we know now. It’s no shame, of course, but it is an indicator that they had no access to any infallible, supernatural source of information that modern scientists lack.

      • says

        OK, that does seem an improvement. 🙂

        It seems to me though that that that old time religion is simply an earlier stage of what we do when we do science. They wondered about the world and came up with something. It was extremely limited because the intellectual tools they had were limited, but, surely, once people started wondering “Why do we have floods?’ or “Why is childbirth harder for humans?” they eventually get to better tools and better hypotheses.

        It’s just a pity that nowadays some people (for example AJ Castellitto) can’t let go.

      • corwyn says

        “by ignorant and primitive men”
        Not really a criticism of what you are saying in general, but can we find a better way of saying that?

        Actually, no we can’t. Those two words have exactly the meaning that is intended in this conversation. Any substitute words would soon gain the same derogatory connotation. No amount of clever word-smithing will ever stop people from correlating ‘lack of knowledge’ with ‘lack of intelligence’.

    • Deacon Duncan says

      Actually, evolution is a far simpler explanation for the origin of species than anything in the Bible. Of course, that’s because nothing in the Bible actually explains anything about how the species came to be. Genesis gives God credit for creating the species, but explains nothing about how you go about doing that, any more than any other creation myth does. A genuine explanation needs to explain the conditions and processes by which one thing is transformed into something else, and to show where the causes and effects are in a detailed and verifiable manner. Genesis doesn’t even come close.

      Even when creationists do attempt something like a scientific explanation, their explanations become much more complicated than the evolutionary theory they’re trying to replace. For example, creationists claim that all the millions of species on earth today are descended from a few thousand ancestral “kinds” that were on board the ark (as illustrated here, for instance). The only problem is, that’s Darwinism! That’s exactly what Darwin’s theory describes: new species arising through descent with variation from common ancestors—exactly the victory over “probability, entropy & futility” that you say is impossible. But if Darwinism is impossible, then the Ark cannot explain how there are millions of species alive today, since the Ark would not be big enough to hold them all and keep them alive and healthy for a whole year while being thrashed and buffeted by the most violent storm the planet has (allegedly) ever seen. And that’s just one of the many complications that keep creationism from having any scientific validity or usefulness. There’s tons more.

    • mikespeir says

      ??? I’m the only Mike that I’ve seen comment here, but what you addressed to “Mike” isn’t posted as a reply and doesn’t seem to have any relevance to what I wrote. If anything, people like Deacon Duncan make me feel inferior!

    • Deacon Duncan says

      Thanks, I’ll have a look at this tomorrow. I notice that this is from last September, and it’s Part 1. Where’s Part 2?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *