9. Mr. X Strikes Again

 

                                                                                                        February 5. 2007

 

Mr. X,

 

I could only force myself to view about three hours of the DVD’s (Amazing Discoveries disks 102A, 103A, and 104A) you gave me before my eyes started glazing over.  Three hours of watching Walter Veith dupe his credulous audience was all that I could endure.  In my last correspondence with you, I quoted from a review of one of Veith’s books, “The Genesis Conflict.”  The review read in part:

 

“I have checked in the scientific literature available on the Internet and in my own reference works many of Veith's claims about the scientific evidence.   I have not taken the time to check them all, but every single one I have been able to check has turned out to be demonstrably wrong.   Some of his arguments are illogical.   Some of his facts are wrong.   And he fails to deal with many facts that demonstrate how he is wrong.”  (emphasis mine)

 

The same assessment is directly applicable to Veith’s dog and pony show on the DVDs that you recently gave me.  The only thing amazing about his “Amazing Discoveries” is that he could get so many people to fall for his line of baloney.

 

While I did not subject myself to all of Veith’s anti-evolution nonsense on the DVDs, I saw more than enough to determine that he had nothing new to say on the subject.  All he did was regurgitate the same old creationist claptrap that has been refuted time after time by mainstream scientists.  These refutations are readily available on the Internet at such sites as Talk Origins Archive, No Answers in Genesis, and Creation Science and Earth History.

 

If you would take the time to visit my website (Evolution/Creation Dialogues), you would find that I am fully aware of the types of arguments that Veith makes in his DVDs.  I find it amusing that you keep scrounging around trying to dredge up some new creationist arguments to try to persuade me that there are serious problems with theory of evolution.  I’ve got news for you.  There are no new creationist arguments. They are all the same recycled pseudoscientific canards that have been shot down numerous times in the past.

 

In the DVDs you gave me, Veith uses a number of typical forms of creationist subterfuge to try to indoctrinate any one foolish enough to take him seriously.  In addition to selectively withholding any facts that contradict his claims (Science libraries are full of them.), he also distorts and misrepresents what information he does provide.  Worse, in some cases, he flat out lies.  Most people who hear his presentation in a church setting are going to take him at his word.  Because he paints himself as an honest and concerned Christian, most people will assume that what he is telling them is factual and will not bother to check out the veracity of his claims.  Sadly, in adopting this approach, he is taking advantage of both their trust and their lack of scientific expertise.   

 

I know that I have said that I would not provide you with any more printed information.  However, since you seem incapable of finding your way to a computer in the library, I think it is worth breaking my rule to show you, in this case, why Veith is not being honest and forthright with his audience.  I will not spend time discussing the rebuttal material in any detail.  Instead, what I am providing are reprints of pertinent articles that refute Veith’s erroneous claims.

 

Although I do not recall Veith’s statements verbatim, there were a number of general claims that he made that clearly reveal the duplicity of his arguments.  In what follows, I will list a few of those claims and provide information that shows why they are in error.

 

* Veith – Radiometric dating methods are unreliable.

 

Wrong.    See the attached introductory pages for the Internet article “Radiometric Dating – A Christian Perspective.”  This article gives a rather detailed description of current radiometric dating techniques and explains how these methods provide good correlative results.  Unfortunately, if you really want to find out why Veith is wrong about this claim you will have to access the full article from the Internet or some other source.  If you choose not to, then I can only assume it is because you prefer to remain uninformed on the subject.  See also the attached article “Claim CD010.”

 

* Veith – Rapid burial is necessary for fossilization.

 

Wrong.   See the attached articles “Claim CC363” and  “Non Catastrophic and Modern Fossilization.”  Incidentally, the author of the second article is a Christian geologist who was once a gung ho creationist until he examined the evidence objectively.

 

* Veith – The arrangement of fossils in the Karoo Fomation in Africa is indicative of a single catastrophic event.

 

Wrong.   See the attached article “Claim CC362.”

 

* Veith – Virtually all phyla appear almost simultaneously during the Cambrian Explostion. 

 

Wrong.   At least he is wrong if he meant almost all phyla appeared in a short period of time.  Some phyla appeared before the Cambrian period, and many appeared after.  Furthermore, even the most conservative estimates of the duration of the so-called “explosion” put it at some five to ten million years – not exactly a time frame most people think of in terms of being rapid.   See the attached article “Claim CC300” for more details.

 

* Veith – Meteors did not fall during the time when dinosaurs lived as evidenced by the fact that no meteorites are found buried in the earth.  They are only found on the surface.

 

Wrong.   See the attached articles “Absence of Meteorites in the Geological Record” and “Global Flood Problems 1.”

 

* Veith – There are no simple organisms at the bottom of the fossil column.

 

Wrong.   Stromatolites are fossils dating back to more than 3 billion years that are found at the bottom of the stratigraphic column.  They are colonies of structures formed by photosynthesizing cyannobacteria which were primitive single-celled organisms that thrived in warm aquatic environments.  They even occur at certain points in the exposed basement rocks along side Highway 200 on the way to Hope.  See the attached article “Earth’s Earliest Fossils: Solution to Darwin’s Dilemma” for more information. 

 

* Veith – Living forms look exactly like their fossils.

 

Wrong.   See the attached articles “Claim CB930” and “Living Fossils – There are None.”

 

* Veith – The Mount St. Helens’ eruption shows how so-called “fossil forests” and coal deposits can be formed from a single catastrophic event.

 

Wrong.   See the attached articles “’Polystrate’ Tree Fossils” and “Coal Beds, Creationism, and Mount St. Helens.”

 

*Veith – The rivers of the world have only been flowing for 4 to 5 thousand years.

 

Wrong.   See the attached article “Amazon River Switched Direction.”  

 

* Veith – The bending of the rock in the Beartooth/Bighorn valley in Montana shows that the rock must have been soft when bending occurred.

 

Wrong.   See the attached article “Claim CD510.”

 

* Veith – There has been only one Ice Age.

 

Wrong.   See the attached article “The Ice Age.”

 

* Veith – Varves do not represent yearly depositional events.

 

Wrong.   See the attached articles “Varves” and “Lake Varves.”   The first explains how true varves can be differentiated from other depositional phenomena.  And the second discusses a remarkable correlation between varve counts and age of the varves determined using radiometric dating techniques. 

 

* Veith – Since fossils can form rapidly, they are compatible with a young earth.

 

Wrong.   See the attached article “Claim CC361.”

 

* Veith – A miner’s hat turned to stone in just 50 years.

 

Wrong.   In order for this hat to be a true fossil, all the organic material would have to be replaced with minerals.  Has any competent geologist examined it to determine if it is completely fossilized?  Until this question is answered, it is safe to assume that the hat is only covered with surface concretions.  See the attached article “Ham’s Hat” for more insight.

 

{Notice that many of these responses come from a section of the TalkOrigins website known as the “Index to Creationist Claims.”   Creationists repeat the same hackneyed arguments so often that a special database has been developed to save time in addressing many of them.}

 

In the preceding section, I have only dealt with a few of Veith’s general misstatements.  If one had nothing better to do, one could refute every anti-evolution argument included in his DVDs.  I know that you are strongly committed to the creationist worldview.  But I would think that, from the information I have provided above, it would start to dawn on you that those who are pushing the creationist agenda are not being completely honest with you.  Not only are they misrepresenting the information they give you, but they are withholding the information that directly contradicts what they are saying.     

 

That raises an intriguing question.  Why does Veith mislead his audiences?  One could assume that he simply doesn’t know any better.  However, having been trained as a scientist, he must be aware of the well-established counterarguments that severely weaken his own position.  The unavoidable conclusion is that he is misrepresenting the facts on purpose.  Apparently he is of the opinion that the ends (defending biblical inerrancy) justify the means (telling falsehoods and withholding evidence).  As the DVDs made clear, the primary motivation for Veith’s rejection of evolution is related to his religious beliefs, not to a lack of scientific evidence.  For Veith, misleading his audience to establish belief in a concept that he wants to be true for emotional reasons takes precedence over objectively dealing with the myriad of facts that disprove that concept.  It is unfortunate that he is driven to misuse science in this way in an attempt to dupe others into joining him in his delusion.

 

During our previous exchanges regarding scientific aspects of evolution/creation issue, I have made an effort to analyze and discuss (often in some detail) most of the information you have given me.  Unfortunately, you have not been upholding your end of the bargain by responding in kind.  When I provide a rebuttal to your material, you respond by largely ignoring my comments and dumping another load of creationist propaganda on me.  You need to understand that, in order to engage in a fair debate, it is your obligation to address the specific points that I raise before moving on to new topics.  To excuse yourself from reading my detailed responses on the Internet, you have used the handy cop out that you do not have access to a computer.  That is why, in this case, I have provided you with written copies of all the articles I have chosen to support my arguments.  Please understand that these are not articles cranked out by some pseudoscientific fringe group.  They all represent current thinking from the mainstream science perspective.  You may ignore them if you choose.  Nonetheless, if you do, you will not have the excuse this time that they are unavailable to you.

 

I have also included a copy of  “A Challenge to Young-Earth Creationists” from my website for your attention.  Please take note that, until you respond to the specific points raised in this latest response to Veith’s “Amazing Discoveries” and until you make a concerted effort to address the topics discussed in my “Challenge,” I will not accept any more creationist materials from you nor will I discuss the matter with you any further.  If you choose to ignore the information that has convinced virtually the entire scientific community worldwide to accept the theory of evolution, that is your prerogative.  Nevertheless, I am done playing the “ignore the evidence and heap on more garbage” game with you.  Please do not attempt to foist off any more of your creationist apologetics on me until you have addressed the above issues. 

 

 

Regarding the drinking of “booze,” let me just say that I agree with you that individuals who are driving or engaging in other activities that depend on optimum reaction times should refrain from alcohol use during the times they are engaged in such activities.  (Just as they should avoid the use of any drugs or medications that impair reaction times.)  And I agree with you that people who cannot control their drinking habits should refrain from partaking of alcohol altogether. 

 

Nonetheless, in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with people drinking alcoholic beverages responsibly and in moderation.  And, as you have been informed, definite health benefits are associated with moderate alcohol intake.  (See the attached article from the Harvard School of Public Health on the subject.)  I do not think it is anyone else’s business if responsible drinkers choose to consume alcohol in moderation so long as they do not adversely affect their own wellbeing or that of others.  And I certainly do not think anyone has the right to deprive them of the health benefits that can be derived from such usage.

 

Alcohol, like some other agents that are toxic at high does, can have beneficial effects at low doses.  This is a phenomenon known as “hormesis.”  For example, ionizing radiation in low doses has been found to protect animals from cancer, and low doses of carbon monoxide show promise in treating multiple sclerosis.  As was recently demonstrated in the case of a radio promotional scheme, even plain water can have lethal effects if it is consumed in excess quantities.  

 

Like most other things in life, in the case of alcohol use, moderation is the key.  After all, even overdosing on religion can have deleterious effects resulting in such things as barbaric Inquisitions, genocidal Crusades, 30-year wars, burning “witches” at the stake, mass suicides (i.e., Jonestown), flying airplanes into tall buildings, etc.  If everything that could be seriously abused by humans were to be banned, religious belief would have to be one of the first things to go.

 

Freethoughtfully,

 

Jack DeBaun

 

P.S. -  In your letter you say, "...but do not worry, for I am snowed under with evolution stuff from the TV I see, which is the Learning Channel and National Geographics; even the Travel Channel shoves it down my throat."

 

I am curious.  Why do you think educational programs consistently present the pro-evolution viewpoint?  Do you think it could have anything to do with the fact that the pro-evolution viewpoint is the one that is actually supported by the scientific evidence?  Or do you think the vast majority of the scientists in the world who study such things (many Christians included) are ignorant or involved in some kind of conspiracy to mislead the public?  I think even you would agree that scientists, in general, are not ignorant with regard to the subjects they study.  Are you of the opinion, then, that virtually all the many thousands (millions?) of earth and life scientists in the world are engaged in some kind of vast conspiracy to dupe the public?  (Frankly, it is not clear to me what benefit scientists would derive from perpetrating such a conspiracy, and it is not obvious how they could carry it off if the evidence were truly against them.)  Or do you think it is possible that it might be the handful of  "scientists," whose religious beliefs are threatened by the concept of evolution, that is being less than candid about the facts? 

 

If you don't want to be exposed to the truth about evolution, then I suggest you unplug your TV and restrict your viewing to Veith's DVD's.

 

Return to A Frank Dialogue with Mr. X