Reverend, Save Thyself

The following letter to the editor was submitted in response to a previously printed letter.

To the Editor,

The Rev. Arnold Lemke published a letter (March 4, Star-Tribune, West Extra) ridiculing Darwinian science as a faith-based initiative. He argued recent science has disproved Darwin and his present-day adherents are left with little but their faith in the man’s ideas.

But the Reverend violated a core ethos of his calling: Thou shalt not bear false witness. He so mischaracterizes Darwin and the nature of science as to remind us all why churches no longer set school standards.

Contrary to the Reverend’s contention, there is considerable scientific evidence life emerged via abiogenesis. Stanley Miller devised lab experiments that recreated some of the basic abiotic conditions of early Earth, including an atmosphere of methane, hydrogen, ammonia and water. Miller showed that when exposed to an energy source such as ultraviolet radiation, these compounds could react to produce amino acids essential for the formation of living matter. Sidney Fox later demonstrated amino acids could spontaneously form small peptides, which in turn could form closed spherical membranes comparable to replicable cells. 

The Reverend confounds scales when he cites the second law of thermodynamics for natural selection’s impracticality. Selection can build increasingly complex organisms locally on geological time scales even as the universe’s entropy increases across cosmological scales.

Mass extinction events have wiped out whole clades of organisms, that’s true, but none of these ended life as we know it. Such catastrophic events instead changed the course of evolutionary history. The dinosaurs were wiped out by the effects of a meteorite 65 million years ago, letting mammals, until then a marginal group of vertebrates, to diversify into Earth’s dominant megafauna. Chance disaster, then, has proved a source of evolutionary innovation. Without it, humans may never have emerged in the first place.

Representing science as one long refutation of Darwin’s explanation is a falsehood so egregious as to require Reverand Lemke seek absolution from his higher power.

Robert G. Wallace
South Minneapolis

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2 Responses to “Reverend, Save Thyself”

  1. Not evolution – again!

    “Atheism is good. Religion is bad.” This mantra is getting tiresome, not to mention fatuous. You can’t argue with religious people, but, equally, you can’t argue with atheists – they are both arrogant and dogmatic!

    Hitler was a eugenicist, believed in evolution, the “survival of the strongest”, started a world war, killed millions, and attempted to create a “master race”. American eugenics had not only inspired Hitler, but helped found and fund Germany’s eugenics movement. Hitler read about the “utility” of eugenics: the thousands of U.S. citizens who were sterilized to prevent them from having genetically “flawed” offspring – mere burdens to society!

    How about atheists telling us about the evil committed by their fellow “believers”, which even includes qualified scientists – those, for example, who claim GM crops are the cure for hunger.

    Human nature will find any excuse to show its worst side – it can use religion, it can use atheism, or it can use science.

    Finally, evolution does not explain consciousness. No one has managed to explain it, and no one will.

    Science has been successful at explaining phenomena such as heat and sound ONLY because they are PHYSICAL phenomena. Heat is merely atoms jiggling about; sound: the movement of air molecules. But this does not explain our conscious experience of heat and sound, as neither are physical phenomena.

    Science can only explain the PHYSICAL, and, to date, it has only explained how particles move about and interact.

    The evolutionist dogma is to claim consciousness is a physical phenomenon, an emergent property, but it takes less than a moment’s honest reflection to realize this cannot be so. Consciousness is far more than merely particles moving about – it is something separate that needs explaining in its own right.

    Scientists who say otherwise – or who claim evolution explains everything of importance about biological life forms – are being dishonest.

    Attacking religion is easy. How about scientists doing the really hard thing – explaining consciousness! Or is their reluctance due to the fact that they can’t?

  2. Science hasn’t explained everything.

    Religion hasn’t explained anything.

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