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How did water evolve?

March 23, 2006

The South Carolina schools system is in a worse state than I ever expected. Carol Crooks, of Greer SC, opines:

The theory of evolution does not and cannot explain so much about the universe that we know. For instance, when and how did water evolve? How does it happen that gravity can hold us to the Earth, and at the same time allow us to step up without any trouble? How did it happen that the Earth is spinning at the exact rate that keeps us from feeling that movement?

Yikes. I guess we need to “teach the controversy” in physics class as well.
Hat tip to Steve over at the Thumb.

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  1. pough
    March 23, 2006 at 11:48 am | #1

    Good thing there are plenty of gods to fill those gaps in the theory that deals only with changes in populations of living things…
    I can’t believe that first question could ever be asked by a non-comedian.

  2. Mr. Upright
    March 23, 2006 at 11:57 am | #2

    That reminds me of my favorite Chick tract, “Big Daddy”. At the point the beautiful Aryan boy has the balding ethnic-looking professor on the ropes, he challenges the teacher to explain what holds the nucleus together. The professor of evolution, surprisingly, is not well-versed in nuclear physics and mumbles “I don’t know.”
    I always thought it was funny in that it seemed to imply that evolution can’t explain the structure of the nucleus — surely a major blow to the field of evolutionary biology!
    The newer version is even sadder. Apparently Chick got a lecture on nuclear physics from somebody, and decided to acknowledge then dismiss it. The new question is (to paraphrase) “What holds the nucleus together … if it’s not gluons, what is it?”
    It’s gluons.

  3. March 23, 2006 at 1:31 pm | #3

    There are so many misconceptions about physics and chemistry in that letter that I wouldn’t know where to begin to correct her.
    The rest of her letter, in which she discounts centuries of Scriptural analysis, tells us she is a Biblical literalist beyond the hope of a rational re-education. Explaining chemistry and physics would probably be a waste of time, since she would constantly want to compare the scientific explanation to Genesis, and reject the scientific version.
    Sadly, for one of these letter writers, there are probably legion who believe the same thing.

  4. March 23, 2006 at 1:50 pm | #4

    I don’t think it’s fair to use this as an idictment of the whole SC school system. We don’t know where or when this woman was educated, or if she even finished high school. And besides, I am a product of SC schools, and look at me!
    Seriously, this is a symptom of how bad creationism has become. The creationist leaders don’t care if they feed outright nonsense to their followers; this particular letter is simply a mangled and slightly dumbed-down version of what prominent creationists say all the time. If the creationist movement ever gets its way, this kind of thing will become commonplace. That’s why all scientists, not just biologists, need to be worried about its encroachment. In fact, all rational people need to be concerned.
    In the meantime, just because a quality education is available, that doesn’t mean that everyone takes advantage of it. Or that it can penetrate those who adhere to an extremist belief system.

  5. John Lynch
    March 23, 2006 at 1:56 pm | #5

    Steve,
    I agree that one cannot generalize to the SC system. I was only searching for an opening sentence, I guess.

  6. SyraDunk
    March 23, 2006 at 2:04 pm | #6

    I grew up in Greenville, SC (Carol Crooke’s letter was published in the Greenville News), & I’m sorry to see such a letter reinforce a sad, distorted sterotype of SC & its school systems.
    SC’s State Board of Education is currently considering changes to educational standards that would encourage students to ‘critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory’. Fortunately, more moderate views have also appeared in the same Greenville newspaper, such as the opinion article coauthored by Alan Leshner (CEO of AAAS) and the Rev. Baxter M. Wynn of the First Baptist Church of Greenville (see news link through AAAS: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2006/0308oped.shtml).
    Charle Townes, Nobel Laureate for the Maser & Laser, graduated from Greenville High School (my alma mater) and earned his bachelors degree at Furman University in Greenville. Throughout his life, Townes has provided a moderate voice in the clashes of science and religion. Recently, at age 90, he commented strongly against the current push to teach ‘Intelligent Design’ in public schools.

  7. March 23, 2006 at 2:24 pm | #7

    Go ahead, add “physics” to your evilution. All your “sciences” still can’t explain what the leopard was doing at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, who killed the chauffeur in the “Big Sleep” or why hotdogs come in packages of ten while hot dog buns come in packages of six.
    Actually the Bible cna’t explain any of these, either. Or why Earth is spinning at the exact rate that keeps us from feeling that movement.

  8. TrekJunkie
    March 23, 2006 at 2:51 pm | #8

    The theory of water evolution!!! That’s a great idea.
    Do you think that AiG would be interested in funding that?

  9. blogista
    March 23, 2006 at 7:57 pm | #9

    Once I merge onto the highway I always flush with admiration that the automakers all figured out exactly at what rate I have to drive continuously so I don’t feel that movement. Especially since I don’t think they know exactly when I’m driving East or West. You know, with the spin of the earth or not.

  10. Bilner
    March 23, 2006 at 9:22 pm | #10

    Well, thankfully, we have physics and chemistry to make up for these areas that evolution cannot explain.

  11. March 23, 2006 at 10:20 pm | #11

    SyraDunk:

    Fortunately, more moderate views have also appeared in the same Greenville newspaper, such as the opinion article coauthored by Alan Leshner (CEO of AAAS) and the Rev. Baxter M. Wynn of the First Baptist Church of Greenville.

    Ironically, it was this very letter that Carol was responding to.

    Charle Townes … he commented strongly against the current push to teach ‘Intelligent Design’ in public schools.

    That’s great news if true. Do you have a link?

  12. March 23, 2006 at 10:30 pm | #12

    About Townes:
    I found this interview, which I forgot I had read already:
    http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2005/06/17_townes.shtml
    Unfortunately, it was only a weak-kneed criticism of ID if a criticism at all. He seems to make the mistake of thinking that ID = belief in God, and doesn’t seem to realize that the ID movement is explicitly anti-evolutionary. It’s clear he’s more or less on our side, but he leaves himself open to serious quote-mining by the IDists.

  13. SyraDunk
    March 24, 2006 at 1:02 pm | #13

    Reply to Steve Reuland about Charles Townes:
    The link you cite is one that I recalled as well, but I think there is another that I can’t find at the moment. Probably some other news article after he got the Templeton prize last year.
    Townes does have a different concept of ID than the current incarnation, but this is because he has been thinking & commenting on the interplay of science & religion for much longer (his article in “Think” from 1966 is available through the link you cite).
    Even so, I don’t think it’s accurate to describe Townes’ comments in that interview as ‘weak-kneed’. He does say “People who are anti-evolution are working very hard for some excuse to be against it. I think that whole argument is a stupid one.”

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