Saturday, October 16, 2004

Evolution is an evil, evil lie

Thanks to my friend Lori for pointing me at this site about a Creation Science Fair. I don't know whether it's a spoof or not; I'm torn between thinking that nobody could possibly be that simple-minded and fearing that yes, indeed, there are people who think this way.

In any case, my favorite is

1st Place: "Using Prayer To Microevolve Latent Antibiotic Resistance In Bacteria"

Eileen Hyde and Lynda Morgan (grades 10 & 11) did a project showing how the power of prayer can unlock the latent genes in bacteria, allowing them to microevolve antibiotic resistance. Escherichia coli bacteria cultured in agar filled petri dishes were subjected to the antibiotics tetracycline and chlorotetracycline. The bacteria cultures were divided into two groups, one group (A) received prayer while the other (B) didn't. The prayer was as follows: "Dear Lord, please allow the bacteria in Group A to unlock the antibiotic-resistant genes that You saw fit to give them at the time of Creation. Amen." The process was repeated for five generations, with the prayer being given at the start of each generation. In the end, Group A was significantly more resistant than Group B to both antibiotics.

The bit I don't get, though, is: doesn't this experiment contradict their actual faith, which is based on denying the existence of evolution ?


Blogger David said...

Maybe I can help clarify this. Before I do, I'll just point out that I believe in evolution, and I am not a christian. However, the people in this experiment believe in microevolution, but not large scale evolution. Microevolution is the process of minor evolutionary changes within a species, such as bacteria becoming resistant to certain antibiotics. This is opposed to larger scale evolution such as a species developing a venomous bite. Or growing legs.

Typical arguments against venomous bites (although this applies to a lot of things) is that if you grow the sack to hold venom in first, it is redundant. If you grow venom glands first, then you poison the animal since it has no venom sack. Therefore *both* must evolve in the same generation. Something highly unlikely to happen.

So if you listen carefully to their faith, this experiment hasn't contradicted it.

Most systems of belief tend to be fairly self-consistent (note: most ... fairly). When you start trying to stack up one against the axioms of another is where you get contradictions. Obviously there are some universal axioms (1 + 1 = 2) though.

3:59 PM  

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