The Twitter Creationist Time Machine!

It’s reassuring to know that it’s not just other atheists who hate me, but that I also still piss off the creationists. In addition to the mob of atheist dudebros howling at my door, there has been a recent resurgence of creationist loonietarianism in my email. It seems to have been triggered by a Seventh Day Adventist pastor, Doug Batchelor.

SDAs are really among the battiest of the batty; their young earth creationism isn’t simply a product of ignorance and gullibility, but is literally enforced doctrine. They had a nineteenth century prophetess, Ellen White, who insisted that she had seen in a vision that God created the whole world in precisely six days, six thousand years ago, and therefore you must believe it (SDA PDF). Would Ellen White lie, or be deluded?

By the way, if you want to drive a non-SDA creationist nuts, just point out to them that their literal creationism is derived in a clear and unambiguous historical lineage from Ellen White, by way of George McCready Price, into the 1961 book The Genesis Flood, and that their creationist views are therefore simply the doctrine of a heretical Christian sect that they probably despise.

Anyway, Batchelor sent me a link that would refute evolution.

Evolution fails the science test.

It was weird. First thing: it’s written by an SDA minister, Joe Crews, who died in 1994…so you can guess it’s already a lot out of date. And then, reading it, it consists largely of quote mining a lot of scientists. These scientists:

Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)
George Wald (1906-1997)
Charles Eugene Guye (1866-1942)
Julian Huxley (1887-1975)
Ernst Mayr (1904-2005)
George Gaylord Simpson (1902-1984)
Daniel Axelrod (1910-1998)
Austin Clark (1880-1954)
Marshall Kay (1904-1975)
Edwin Colbert (1905-2001)

Notice the dates? They’re all as dead as the author. Most of the cited quotes are from the 1950s or earlier, so they predate modern molecular biology and genetics. So this is already like kicking a corpse — it’s a collection of creationist misconceptions, and they’re also really old. This corpse isn’t just dead, it’s decayed. I’m not even pushing around bones, but just sweeping up dust in a coffin.

I’m just going to zip through his major points really fast, because the 1950s were a rather ugly era, and I don’t want to hang around there. Seriously, I was born then, and I spent the whole last bit of the decade squalling and crying and pooping my diaper, so get me outta there.

Louis Pasteur disproved spontaneous generation, therefore life could not have ever come from non-life. Nope. If you’re going to play logic games and insist that every statement has to be universally and eternally true, then realize this: we all know that it can’t have always been true. There had to be a time when non-life transformed into life. Creationists think it was a magic, instantaneous zot from God; rational people think it was a gradual process of chemistry and ancient geochemical conditions spanning a hundred million years or more, and point to the evidence of Earth’s changing chemistry about 4 billion years ago. To people who think the earth is only 6,000 years old. It’s kind of futile, isn’t it?

Life is too improbable to have ever evolved. Creationists don’t understand math. Ian Musgrave explained this well several years ago.

Mutations can’t have a positive effect. Oh, yeah? Here’s a list. I also have to point out some of the unintentionally funny things creationists say:

Every species has its own particular number of chromosomes that contain the genes. Within every human being are 46 chromosomes containing an estimated 100,000 genes, each one of which is able to affect in some way the size, color, texture, or quality of the individual.

The number is way off — it’s about 20,000 genes — but I was most amused by the reduction of what genes do to that peculiar list. So it’s kind of like buying a carpet, I guess.

No transitional fossils. Oh, please. Nowadays all you have to do is go to wikipedia.

The pre-Cambrian strata are completely devoid of fossils. Wasn’t I writing about pre-Cambrian fossils just yesterday? What about the Ediacaran fauna?

Uniformitarianism doesn’t apply, because oil isn’t being formed right now. All oil deposits were created in the Flood. But peat, coal, and oil are forming today — it’s just slow, and requires millions of years to accumulate appreciable amounts.

Crews doesn’t understand natural selection. This part is just incoherent.

“Natural selection” is a coined phrase of the evolutionist to describe the survival of the fittest. Simply stated, it is the natural process that enables the strongest of each generation to survive and the weaker, more poorly adjusted ones to die out. The assumption of evolution is that since only the strongest survive to father the next generation, the species will gradually improve, even advancing into other more highly developed states on the evolutionary scale.

A few points: “survival of the fittest” is the pop sci term coined by Herbert Spencer; Darwin didn’t care much for it, neither do I. But basically Crews has the etymology completely backwards. Evolution proposes not that species gradually “improve”, or climb some evolutionary scale, but that they become better adapted to local conditions, driving diversification.

What can I say? This was a most pathetic sally. Creationists, try to do better. At least challenge me with quotes that aren’t 50 to 100 years old, OK?


  1. garnetstar says

    Wasn’t Ellen White the one who reported that heaven lies behind the Orion Nebula? That she’d heard a chorus of hundreds of thousands of angel voices singing praises to God, coming from there?

    Ah what it is to have a rich and vivid fantasy life.

  2. says

    I generally assume why so many of them get all excited about trying to show Darwin was wrong about something or harping on 19th century controversies is because they just assume all knowledge follows their own pattern. As in old = authoritative and any newer additions must be in agreement with and reliant upon existing texts. Disprove Darwin himself and you have shown that all evolutionary science done after then is baseless and wrong.

    I think many of them honestly don’t see the difference which is why they fall back to not only claiming that they have disproved evolution but as such there is plainly a conspiracy involving all of science to promote it. Therefor all science and scientists are by definition liars and conspirators and cannot be trusted.

  3. Sastra says

    That definition of “natural selection” shows that once again conservative Christians have problems distinguishing science from New Age or liberal forms of religion. Apparently they buy into the Science & Spirituality convergence b.s. beloved by much of the media.

  4. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Hubbard, of fame far exceeding my first introduction to her: “Exploding the Gene Myth” was an incredible biologist in her own right, would toss this creationist across the room to hear her husband’s (George Wald’s) work abused this way. I know a few of the family, though I’ve never met Hubbard and did not meet George Wald before his death, and I shudder to think of dressing down the first tenured professor of biology Harvardever deigned to select from among the women biologists of the world , a woman who witnessed Nazism first hand before escaping Germany in the late 30s, an activist whose work went to the core of misuses of biology would give this ignorant creationist if he dared to spout such ignorance to her face.

    Phew, boy. It would be a sight.

  5. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What can I say? This was a most pathetic sally. Creationists, try to do better. At least challenge me with quotes that aren’t 50 to 100 years old, OK?

    You expect them to intelligently discuss a comparison of genomes? When they haven’t heard of genomes?

  6. raven says

    SDAs are really among the battiest of the batty; their young earth creationism isn’t simply a product of ignorance and gullibility, but is literally enforced doctrine.


    They are also huge fans of Joseph Stalin and his method of governing by purges. And the Dark Age Catholics and their witch hunts.

    An SDA “university” LaSierra seems to have fired most or all of their biology department for accepting the fact and theory of evolution.

  7. raven says

    RIVERSIDE: La Sierra professor, board members dismissed …
    www. pe. com/…/…
    The Press‑Enterprise

    May 10, 2012 – A La Sierra University professor and three university trustees said … assistant professor of biology, said the Riverside university refused to renew his three-year contract. The three trustees said their fellow board members booted them … in a struggle by the Seventh-day Adventist institution to reconcile the …

    The Dark Ages and Stalinism are alive and well in SDA heads. No surprise.

  8. mnb0 says

    “t’s not just other atheists who hate me,”
    If it is a bit of a comfort I like you better than a few years ago. Perhaps I will comment more often and even engaged in discussions. Has taking care for a cat influenced you? Disclaimer: I like some cats and dislike others as much as some dogs and other dogs.

    “he species will gradually improve”
    Let’s have a bit fun with this. If “improve” means “better adapted” than obviously pinguins are superior to humans in Antarctica. Not to mention brown rats and all kind of cockroaches.

  9. David Marjanović says

    ^ Intriguing. Could you post the link instead of the Google snippet preview?

    Wasn’t Ellen White the one who reported that heaven lies behind the Orion Nebula?

    :-o What a stupid prophecy – as stupid as predicting the end of the world for a certain date!

  10. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Considering creationists/IDiots can’t get past the magician tricks of *poof of smoke* something miraculous happens, one can’t expect much in the way of honest inquiry.
    But that starts with something as simple as watching a video like this: PBS Nova Judgement Day.

  11. raven says

    The link is there. It just has a few spaces in it like I always post them.

    What are colleges good for then? – Freethought Blogs
    freethoughtblogs. com/ pharyngula/…/what-are-colleges-good-for-then/

    Feb 10, 2012 – La Sierra U., an SDA university, fired their biology department a short while ago. They said it was for being caught drinking beer but two of those fired weren’t … oh, and most of the biology professors there do actually teach

    The xian fundie cults learned a long time again that while it can be hard to make people believe lies are truth, it doesn’t matter if they can just kill the heretics.

    These days in the USA (for now) they can’t simply murder professors for thoughtcrimes. But at least they can still fire them.

  12. numerobis says

    raven@16: I can’t find the link you claim is there. To look up your story, I’d have to go search for the text.

  13. ck says

    They always prefer to quote dead scientists. First, the dead scientists can’t explain themselves, so there’s no danger of the quote’s originator coming back to directly contradict them. Secondly, when a non-dead scientist tries to correct the creationists’ logic, they get to pretend that you’re attacking the dead scientists’ legacy, and that it’s unfair for you to criticise someone who can no longer explain themselves. Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

  14. raven says

    RIVERSIDE: La Sierra professor, board members dismissed …
    www. pe. com/…/…
    The Press‑Enterprise

    raven@16: I can’t find the link you claim is there. To look up your story, I’d have to go search for the text.

    I’ve recopied and bolded it. In addition. comment 14 reproduced the link live right below mine.

    And numerobis. Could you grow the fuck up? This is really a stupid waste of my time and some defenseless electrons and photons. Finding this story took me about 15 seconds with Google. You aren’t children and I’m not your mother.

  15. peterh says

    Batchelor’s link, provided above, leads to a single page containing, in an unbelievably (and unbelievable) brief space more of the recognized logical fallacies and falsified data than I’ve seen gathered in one spot in a very long while.

  16. raven says

    Reflections on the future of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America: Trends and challenges (part 1 of 2)

    David Beckworth , S. Joseph Kidder Ministry mag 2010

    Our research shows major disturbing trends in Adventism in the North American Division in the area of church growth. While the church experiences a decline in the rate of church growth as compared to membership and the rate of growth in the population, the church also takes more and more financial resources to produce one convert.

    Busting these disturbing trends in the North American Adventist Church will take much more than a few small changes of technique; it will require a reconsideration of our values and methods. In the February 2011 issue we will deal with plausible explanations of the current trends and some suggestions to reverse the trend.


    Adventists Assess Why 1 in 3 Members Leave the Church …

    Dec 9, 2013 – The Seventh-day Adventist Church boasts 18 million members worldwide. … membership to nearly 18 million, while the 15 fastest-declining countries are in the Adventist church’s Euro-Asia,

    I’m not too familiar with the SDA’s. They are a small group in the USA and haven’t really grown much in the last century.

    They aren’t doing terrible but not doing well either.

    1. One out of 3 leaves the church. Is that all? They prohibit eating meat, alcohol, and coffee. And hate science and don’t mix with our society. They have their own hospitals and school system. It’s definitely a cult.

    I could give up meat and alcohol although I wouldn’t want to. Coffee? Forget it.

    2. Recently they have been growing according to their sources. But that seems to be an illusion. They have a lot of immigrants from Latin America and seem to be sucking up SDA’s from that region, meaning the Latin American divisions aren’t doing as well.

  17. Rob Grigjanis says

    raven @19: What is your problem with having complete links? Isn’t it a waste of your time to replace parts of it with dots?

  18. Menyambal says

    Please, just paste in the link address as httpwhatever, in full. I know it takes up some space, but most browsers recognize it, and the rest can cut and paste. Making a proper html hyperlink is work for you, and I have to fiddle about to see the address before I decide to follow. Give it a paragraph to itself if it is long. Thanks.


    I have mingled with Seventh Day Adventists on occasion. Friends and family have belonged, I went through an SDA survival course, and my moniker is a souvenir of working for an agency of SDA (I still have a shirt, but it seems to have shrunk).

    The survival course was explained as being need for the end times. When the godless and the incorrect-godly realize that Adventists were right, the SDAs will have to take to the hills. (At least they didn’t include guns in the plan.) We were told that we could kill animals for their fur, but not for eating.

    I can’t remember vegetarianism in my last encounter, because we ate a lot of fish. There was one fish with smooth skin that was technically forbidden, but it really had scales, really, they were just too small to see, see?

    I liked the people, always, but the religion was hard for me to take seriously, and they always seem to. I have yet to meeet a casual Adventist.

  19. whheydt says

    Re: raven @ #23….

    The SDAs have had a series of predicted dates for the end of the world. One of the major ones was that it would start in 1914 (and in a sense, the end of the world *did* start in 1914…if you were a member of an Eastern European ruling house). After that they decided that the Biblical line about Jesus returning “before this generation passes away” applied to the cohort of 1914 (they don’t put it that way, but it’s what it amounts to). Depending on how you decide a cohort has “passed away” (no longer controlling governments? last one has died?) there are still a few feeble twitches left to that prediction. It’s last gasp–barring major and immediate advances in geriatrics–will be about 2036. They have since backed off even that, though and are now very vague about an end date.

    Re: Rob Grigjanus @ #24…

    It may be the posting software rather any action on raven’s part.

  20. Sean Boyd says

    The precursors of the Adventists, the Millerites, made a few predictions when Jeebuz would return. Strangely enough, they kept getting it wrong. The Adventist improvement to the Millerite brand was to decide that all the number-crunching the Millerites had done actually determined when Jesus would enter the “tabernacle”, instead of when he would return to Earth. See here, for instance. I don’t remember 1914 or any being particularly significant when I was an Adventist. 1844 though…that’s the year they finally got it right, if you ask them.

    As regards Adventism and evolution, the most coherent attitude I ever heard was from a church elder, who had no issue with microevolution, ‘cuz that just made sense. But abiogenesis? That was crazy talk, in his opinion.

  21. anteprepro says

    A creationist time machine would be terrible. Set the dial to 6000 years and you would anywhere between now and 750,000 BCE. The fact that they managed to find their way back to a mere 50 years from our current space-time coordinates is bordering on a miracle.

  22. moarscienceplz says

    Sadly, this is pretty much the state of evolutionary knowledge of nearly all Americans old enough to have received a letter from AARP. It pretty much describes my level of knowledge before George ‘Dumbya’ Bush started saying he supported “Teach the Controversy” and I began to try to debate creationists online, only to realize I didn’t know enough to defend my position.

  23. sadmar says

    I met some 7th Day folk in the early 90s. Must have been typical of the faith as a whole, as with their beliefs and practices they could never have been involved in operating a college. They didn’t really do money, for one thing, mainly barter. To my ears, their beliefs could not have been more odd. That is with typical fundies I can see how the belief system sort of fits together if you accept certain false premises, but these folks seemed all over the place, a real crazy quilt of weird. My contact was a guy I who responded to a want ad I’d placed to sell my surplus computer gear. Though Fred had this really archaic theology, he was all about trying to use multi-media to spread the Word, teach the children well and what-not. This was well before the Web. IIRC we had the Web in the form of email and Gopher and a couple other text things but it wasn’t yet a Big Thing. Fred was definitely looking to the future, pushing his self-taught graphics and authoring skills to the bleeding edge. He lived in a communal compound outside of Columbus with several other members of his group. When I found out this was the case, IIRC I asked jokingly, “You guys aren’t Branch Davidians are you?” He replied seriously that he’d had contact with the BDs, and shared some sympathies with them, but they were a LITTLE too extreme. He may even have met David Koresh. I did not pursue the topic.

    Anyway, if the more ‘mainstream’ SDAs are even a little like Fred and his group, they’d be about the last people I’d try to convince of anything by any means, especially science and logic. But I could certainly imagine them having a web presence disproportionate to their social significance. Outside of being dangerous to people so desperate for… I dunno, whatever, that they fall into cults where they may be abused (not that I saw any signs of anything like that in the Ohio folk) I can’t imagine them posing any threat to the wider world or being worth the time talking about for other than curiosity-engaging entertainment. Based on my very small sample, I got the impression that dominant cult-of-personality figures like Koresh weren’t necessary to the communal lifestyle and theology, and maybe not even all that common, but the groups were vulnerable to such folk seizing control to the extent that you wouldn’t be surprised to find SDAs in any cult insanity that made it to the 6PM news.