A Lack of Basic Understanding

By Micah Cowan

I have recently subscribed to Answers magazine, produced by Answers In Genesis, famous for their recent opening of the Creation Museum.

I received my first issue a couple months ago. The chief reason I subscribed was that I wanted to keep abreast of anti-evolutionary arguments, and Creationist reactions to recent scientific discoveries as they occurred. The issue I first received was almost entirely dedicated to the stories of the global flood and Noah’s Ark.

I was rather disappointed to discover that there was actually rather little in the magazine for me to actually evaluate, as most of the writing offered no references to back up their claims and assertions; thus, there was nothing for me to reason about—only rhetoric. I have just received the next issue, which I have not yet opened; I’m hoping there will be more interesting arguments in that one, and hopefully some references to back up a few of the claims.

However, I was struck by this very brief snippet of an article (it was, IIRC, less than half of a page in length). I think it illustrates rather well the extreme lack of understanding of basic principles of evolutionary theory or mechanics, or even terminology:

The textbook authors recognize that the resistance is already present in the bacterial population (Fig. 15.5) and then claim that selection for resistant bacteria in a population is direct evidence for evolution. Selecting for something that is already present does not provide support for the information-gaining change required for evolution.

Of course, this text completely ignores the question, how did the variations between resistant and non-resistant bacteria arise in the first place? No biology textbook will claim that the selection itself is how an individual organism becomes stronger: selection only explains why the percentage of resistant bacteria will tend to get stronger. But, evolution does explain how the variation arose that allowed some of the population to become more resistant than the others.

Of course, I have to wonder about a group who struggles with the idea that a colony of bacteria can develop minute changes allowing some of them to become resistant to antibiotics, but clings to the concept that lions and house cats evolved from the same animal “kind” (which was represented by a population of two to seven on Noah’s ark), and dogs and foxes from another, in the last 4,000 years, while, of course, rejecting the idea that evolution could have caused any transition from one “kind” to another.

The article also claims that evolutionary biology textbooks say there is support for the claim “that molecules can change into completely different kinds of creatures.” So much for proof-reading.

It appears I may have been a tad optimistic in expecting to find some shred of reasoned argument in this periodical…

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