Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Edmonton Adventures

I've come home for two weeks, only to be encountered by mystery here.

My second day home, we got an envelope in the mail. "A. Thorne" was all that was on the front, and it was not mailed but dropped off. It was thick in the middle. We opened it to see if we could find further identification inside since none of us know anyone by that name. Inside was a folded piece of paper filled with a slightly off white powder. Written on the paper was "See Message Above - From A. Thorne"

We did what most sane people would do if they found a package of white powder in the mail - we phoned the cops. They were going to send a car out, but since we were leaving the house, we said we'd drop it off. We brought it to the police station and after filling out the proper forms, etc. we took off.

Later that night we got a phone call from the police saying they had analyzed the powder. It was general mill flour.

The next day we got another envelope addressed to the "Household at 12..... Ave". Opening it up we were told that we were now subscribed to a website on astro-physics, which would cost us 1280 AstroMarks. Weird.

My mom started phoning the neighbours to see if they had gotten weird mail, and it turns out our next door neighbour's 14 year-old son was bored and playing practical jokes. He thought the flour would make a mess when we opened it, and so would be funny. The website was fake, and so would be funny.

He got quite a talking to from his parents, and came over to apologize looking pretty upset. I felt bad. It makes me wonder what kind of world we live in, when a practical joke immediately gets police involvement. Then again, what do you do when you find white powder in your mail box?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I've just been reading in Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology as he tries to pull apart why "Theistic Evolution" is wrong. First, he completely screws up its definition, including general evolution but with interventions along the way. (This would be progressive creationism). Then he ridicules them for their inconsistency with Genesis ("And God said 'Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds' and after three hundred eighty-seven million four hundred nintey-two thousand eight hundred seventy-one attempts, God finally made a mouse that worked"). What kind of uninformed junk is this? All it does is show his own ignorance of both the genre and intention of the author(s) of Genesis and his own ignorance of Darwinian theory. Even worse is later when he starts pointing out the issues with Darwinian theory. Especially the classic micro-macro distinction. THERE ISN'T ONE!!! If you observe micro distinctions, those are the same thing that lead to the so-called "macro" evolutions. Even back in 1953, one of the guys who coined the third (and rather ignored) term of "megaevolution" (Simpson) said "At present I am inclined to think that all three of these somewhat monstrous terminological innovations have served whatever purpose they may have had and that clarity may now be improved by abandoning them." The only difference between them is time frame. Yes, yes, I hear you saying "but macroevolution is one species to another, and microevolution is within a species." Fine. Define a species for me then. "Why," says you "it is a reproductionally isolated family of animals". Great! Good definition! Unfortunately it is often impossible to tell if certain species can be crossed or not, and often (especially with plants) there is a range between 0% and 100% success rate in cross-breeding species. So if a plant has only a 3% chance of breeding (but can be crossed) with another plant, is it a separate species? Especially if compared to another plant with which it has a 90% success rate. All the same species? Not likely. There is also the problem of birds whose mating song changes. Physically they can reproduce, but because the song is different, the females won't mate. Different species? Technically, yes. Physically, no. The science books go with the technical answer.
Here's the deal: no one can define what exactly a species is because it is a false delineation, and like other distinctions we like to make (fruit/vegetable, animal/plant, living/non-living) nature just loves throwing things in that don't fit. Darwin didn't believe in "species" as a hard and fast delineation, and a comparison of numbers of species in any animal or plant encyclopedia will always disagree. So give it up!

Woo, ok, done ranting. Sorry. Got a little carried away there. I just can't stand smart people using their excellent brains to screw over people who don't have the chance to study at Harvard and Cambridge, etc.

I wonder if Grudem thinks the sun moves around the earth, as the Bible "clearly teaches"....