Friday, August 03, 2012

Ross S. Olson, Creationist Pediatrician

Ross S. Olson wrote a creationist screed, The evolution of a Creationist. It was a through and through piece of creatocrap. I have started a reply. The first installment is as follows;

Famous creationist Duane Gish developed the debate technique of spewing so many falsehoods in just a few minutes that his opponents were left wondering where to begin. The "Gish Gallop" was used by pediatrician Ross Olson in his recent commentary "The Evolution of a Creationist." Several of the remarks following Olson's article demanded that the gross errors by Olson be individually exposed. The following is merely a start.

Wilder-Smith's book cited by Olson was published in 1970, and reissued 1981 by the Institute for Creation Research. This was when scientific origin of life research was in its earliest years- even before the discovery of ribozymes. These are the bridge between primitive nucleic acids and later peptides, and still later proteins acting as enzymes. It would be magic for proteins to spring out of nothing. Instead, we know that they too were a product of a long evolutionary history. For modern studies, see Professor David W. Deamer's book, “First Life: Discovering the Connections between Stars, Cells, and How Life Began” (2011 University of California Press). Scientists make the effort every day to inform the public. Why hasn't Olson got the news? I hope he isn't treating children with 40 year old medicine.

Olson next moved to archaeology. In the 16th, and 17th centuries arrowheads were thought to be magical. When stone age technologies were rediscovered in North and South America, it was slowly admitted that Europe, and the Near East had had an ancient prehistory not recorded in the Bible. I was a professional archaeologist and museum curator for many years. I was brought hundreds of "arrowheads" by amateurs. Nearly all were just rocks. We differentiate the real from the fake by how they were built, chip by chip. The creative physical process of manufacturing and reshaping is how objects can be determined as human artifacts. We archaeologists can even identify individuals by their personal style. In the 2005 Dover, Pa "Intelligent Design" trial, creationist Michael Behe was forced to admit under oath that ID creationism and archaeology were totally unrelated. For more details, read the Trial Transcript for Day 12, PM, or "Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism" (Matt Young, Taner Edis Editors, 2004 Rutgers University Press). What no creationist can show is how their magical origin story left any physical evidence. When pressed for real evidence, Discovery Institute creationist William Dembski insisted, "ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots." "Connecting the dots" is why scientists can develop new medicines, crops, and technologies while creationists whine about how they should get to teach nonsense in our schools.

Olson's next gross errors are about geology, and paleontology. For example, clams nearly all live bedded into mud, or fine sand. When they die inside their burrows, the surrounding sediment holds their shells closed. That will be how they fossilize. This position is their common undisturbed fossil form. Oysters, and scallops have very different lives, and leave very different fossils. Clams that live in the shallow surf zone, like species of the genus Donax, are rarely ever found fossilized closed. Only one situation can easily do this, when the mouth of a lagoon is closed by sand build up during a drought. Drought- not a flood. Olson's creationist claim that "closed clam shells" implies "rapid burial" can be refuted by anyone at a clam bed with a shovel and a working brain. Yet, this is offered as "science" by Ross Olson who thinks being wrong "proves" a recent, and magic creation.

There are too many remaining errors, and misrepresentations to be responded to in the 4125 character Commentary limit, and they must wait for a second post.

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