Re: The Fingerprints of God are never too far away

Mr McGhee,

After reading your commentary “The Fingerprints of God are never too far away” in the Baltimore edition of The Examiner, I thought I might be able to give you a few pointers on anti-evolution marketing. I’ve read quite a bit on the subject and think I’ve come to be quite versed in effectively communicating that position.

First off, I would like to really commend you on the opening paragraphs. Solid, subtle, biting. You’re firing on all four cylinders here.

Close-minded. Accept their view by faith without questioning. Hostile. Angry. Willing to punish those who disagree — these are all charges that have been frequently laid at people of many faiths who believe that Charles Darwin got it wrong.

That’s right, they don’t like us. They call us names, just because we disagree with this musty guy who’s been dead for almost 200 years anyway. What could he possibly understand about the world, he didn’t even know there were going to be cell phones!

I also liked how you bridged the time from Darwin to now by referencing H.L. Mencken (and hey, way to bring it close to home with a Baltimorean!), the Scopes Trial and even Nazi Eugenics on the way to the new Expelled Movie.

A couple of notes here.

You might have wanted to make a little comment about the difference between a scientific theory and the immoral application of said theory. I mean, you don’t want to give the impression that you would throw out nuclear medicine and energy just because someone built a bomb using the same foundational theories, right?

Also, being up front with the fact that you haven’t seen the movie is great, but you might want to take it a little slow with referencing it sight-unseen. You really never know what a piece of rhetorical garbage it might be.

Moving on, you drop in a quick paragraph setting up the rest of your article. I think you got it right, “Science and theology should not be seen as competitors”. You should have stopped there and not gone on with the whole “colleagues in pursuit of the common goal of truth”. By establishing them as peers you’ve given Science equal authority on divining truth. This is going to be problematic. You can’t effectively undermine solid scientific theory unless theology trumps science. You have to be able to bring in god and have him bitch-slap evidence, or we’ve got nothing.

Well, I guess the damage is already done. Let’s see if we can’t recover a little in the next paragraph.

Let’s start with my dog. Patches is half Jack Russell Terrier and half Beagle – a JackaBee. No one denies you can take two different breeds of dog and mix them to make a superior animal

Whoa! Kevin! What are you doing here? We already established that Eugenics is evil by associating it with the Nazis! Now you’re trotting out little Patches a “superior” animal that is the result of not one but two directed breeding programs. You’re killing me here.

At least you gave us the little heads up that you’re going to be using humor, or the “Two dogs produce more dogs – not monkeys” line would seem just juvenile. In this context it comes across as kind of cute.

Over the last 50 years, many fossils have been discovered that have been touted as providing “further proof” of evolution. What is not described with each of these new headlines is that fossils of “transitional life forms” are very rare in the fossil record. Rather than science seeking “the missing link” that proves evolution, there are literally thousands of gaps in the fossil record which have no satisfactory explanation.

So, one of the things I’ve noticed in other articles like this, is you really have to stay away from discussing actual paleontology and biology. You don’t want to take on scientists on their own turf, you’ll just look kind of dumb. “Missing link”?? You just don’t hear anyone talking like that any more. I think the scientists have moved on from that old saw and now describe evolution as more of an ongoing process making everything a link. With many, many transitional fossils that clearly establish an evolutionary record we need to pick a better argument than having paleontologists find every one, or they’re going to have us explain why the bible doesn’t list every animal on the ark and how they survived the trip.

Our life experiences suggest that things don’t really work that way. Newton’s Second Law of Thermodynamics famously states that the natural tendency of the universe is away from order and toward chaos, rather than the other way around. If I drive my 1991 Honda into a swamp and leave it there for 50 years – or 50 million years – does anyone think that what will emerge is a Mercedes?

This is that comedy thing again? I have to say, it doesn’t really work here. First, Newton has nothing to do with the Laws of Thermodynamics (his laws had to do with motion). Second, it is pretty well established that biological systems do conform to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Is the car thing an analogy? To what? If I drown a rabbit in the swamp, it ain’t coming out either. So what?

Does such a concept really ring true – from the goo to the zoo to you? From time immemorial, reasonable people have seen in one another the very image of God. The next time you hold a newborn baby, look very, very carefully at her tiny fingers; and then ask yourself, what kind of an engineer could design something so perfect? I have dear and brilliant friends who spend their days looking through both telescopes and microscopes, and what they see are not the products of random selection or cosmic chance, but the fingerprints of God.

Your summary paragraph. As I stated before, you’ve undermined your “god trumps everything” argument by putting Science on an even footing. I like the newborn baby angle, it’s touching. I’m choked up. A baby’s fingers, though? Perfect? Maybe it’s been a while (my daughter is fourteen), but there’s a lot more perfect stuff about my kid than her fingers when she was born. Why not go for the whole brain thing? Pretty amazing, if you ask me.

Well, Kevin, I’m sorry. Now that we’ve gone through the whole thing together, I really would suggest you ball it up and start over. Get your thoughts together. I think the comedy angle was a bust. Maybe you’re more cut out for flat out demagogy, you were out to a really good start demonizing scientists. I think you just got lost along the way trying to support a theological position with reason instead of emotion. It doesn’t really work.


1 thought on “Re: The Fingerprints of God are never too far away

  1. This is excellent! I’m grateful for the belly laugh, although admittedly the topic in general is pretty sad. I think you should send this as a letter to the editor, or at the very least, do send it to Mr. McGhee. Nicely framed arguments!

Comments are closed.