I was sent a link to an excerpt from a brand new creationist book, and I expected yet another twisty bit of dishonest weirdness of the sort that the Discovery Institute has conditioned me to see. But then I saw the title, The Death of Evolution, and felt a twinge of deja vu — as Glenn Morton says, the imminent demise of evolution is the longest running lie in creationism. And then there was the blurb: “A growing number of respected scientists are defecting from the evolutionist camp purely on scientific grounds.” Wow, that’s gotta be like the second oldest lie by creationists. I haven’t even opened the cover, and it’s already boring me!
Open it, and you discover it begins with a series of quotes — again, an old game the creationists have been playing for years, trotting out a series of authorities, some of them quote-mined, some of them from creationist nobodies, some of them from the turn of the last century.
And then you get to the first chapter. It opens with the bombardier beetle! And then it declares that evolution is in violation of the second law of thermodynamics! Both claims are ridiculous. The bombardier beetle is an animal that farts caustic substances, all of which have evolutionary precursors, but creationists are fond of claiming it couldn’t have evolved, because it would have exploded during the intermediate steps. The second law of thermodynamics gets trotted out because they don’t understand it and claim that it means everything has to be getting worse and running downhill. I hadn’t even gotten to page 10 and I could tell this was antiquated, useless crap.
These are arguments that were made by creationists in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. It’s a book full of recycled stupid. It’s a sign that creationism, not evolution, is dying when they have to resort to dredging up old dead arguments that were unconvincing targets of derision when Duane Gish was on the creationist talk circuit.
But then I look in the acknowledgments: the author, some right-wing kook named Jim Nelson Black, thanks West, Dembski, Meyer, Richards, and Bohlin of the Discovery Institute. Isn’t that sweet? I think I know what they must be doing in their ‘research’ arm of the Biologic Institute: they are trying to reanimate the moldy corpse of George McCready Price in order to get some fresh ideas.