Heart of Stupid



I like the title. I’m going for some mileage. It all has to do with an interchange with creationist David Buckna. I’ll get started.

First off, David posted an item on the Web site of the Institute for Creation Research. He posted “33 questions” that supposedly challenge the science of biological evolution. My post addressed each of these in one way or the other, and I received some response from David. Rather than continue to respond in the comments section I figured it was better to up the level and respond with new posts.

Here’s what I have most recently from David:

Mr. Blanton:

Why have some of my posts not yet shown up on your blog?

I responded with an email apologizing for being so tardy and promised to get back after I had cleared some of my priorities. I’ll start with this. David had commented on my remarks about an op-ed piece by Eric Metaxas that appeared in The Wall Street Journal. My own post was titled, ironically, Heart of Stupid. It’s not readily apparent that this post had anything that related to David’s comment:

From a Facebook posting “‘ The horror! The horror!’ …

“….thanks to Charles Darwin that the appearance of design is not the same as design, it is in fact a remnant of the remarkable efficiency of natural selection.”


a) If living things look designed–if the empirical evidence suggests purpose–then how do evolutionists know they weren’t designed? b) What is the criteria for “apparent” design?


The quoted text above is from my post, but it’s really part of a quote that I posted. The quote is from Metaxas’ op-ed piece from the WSJ, so David didn’t actually respond to my post; he responded to something from the WSJ op-ed. I’m not too sure how I’m supposed to handle this. I will start by following the links.

The first link is to a post that David previously wrote for The True.Origin site: “Evolution: The Creation Myth of Our Culture.” This appears to be an expanded lists of David’s “questions.” I have a note to myself to cover this in a future post, so I will get to it later.

The other link is to the Answers in Genesis site. It’s a page written by Jerry Bergman. Biology professor PZ Myers had some experience with Dr. Bergman which was not all that enjoyable:

Jerry Bergman is a fairly typical creationist: he’s a loon, and he’s dishonest. I debated him once to an utterly ineffectual conclusion, and it was like having an argument with a rabid squirrel — he makes no sense, he splutters out nutty fragments of angry rhetoric, and he’s ultimately of no consequence whatsoever. But he still has an audience, and he’s still out giving invited talks at churches all over the country. Next week, Bergman will be speaking in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and we’ve got a preview of what he’s going to say on the — duh duh DUHHH — Dark Side of Charles Darwin.

Bergman’s page on Creation Ministries gives some background:

Jerry Bergman has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology at Northwest State College in Archbold OH for over 25 years. He has 9 degrees, including 7 graduate (= ‘post-graduate’ in some non-US systems) degrees. Dr Bergman is a graduate of Medical College of Ohio, Wayne State University in Detroit, The University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University. He has over 800 publications in 12 languages and 20 books and monographs. He has also taught at the Medical College of Ohio where he was a research associate in the department of experimental pathology, and he also taught 6 years at the University of Toledo, and 7 years at Bowing Green State University.

His posting on Answers in Genesis has the following abstract:

The fact that design is omnipresent in the living world has created problems for Darwinists who believe that life was not designed but rather evolved. One solution proposed by some evolutionists is to self-censor terms from their writing that imply design. This is a problem because terms that imply design are commonly found in the biological literature, and it has been a problem to replace such terms with more evolution-friendly terms.

Getting back to today’s topic, David posed the following:

  1. If living things look designed–if the empirical evidence suggests purpose–then how do evolutionists know they weren’t designed?
  2. What is the criteria for “apparent” design?

I think I have addressed the first of these in a previous post:

What are some examples of useful information coming from intelligence? Meyer claims design comes from intelligence. Instead of the word design I will substitute invention. I do this for a simple reason. We have stupid computers that do design. Here is an example:

As a young engineer I carefully laid out the electrical leads for a circuit board design. Now computers do this automatically. Computers do not add any information when they do this. The information is already there when the board designer decides what components to put on the board and supplies some design constraints. The operation of the computer is said to be deterministic. Given the same input, the result is pre-determined by the mathematics involved. When I laid out the traces on a board I was not generating new information.

Before creationists start talking “intelligent” and “design” they need to get serious and get a good grip on what these terms mean. My experience is these guys are not exceptionally deep thinkers, and their thinking shows a lack of follow through.


The second of David’s point seems to be covered by my response to his first. I will burn additional posts taking up the David’s remaining comments. Keep reading.

And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.


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