My friends and I always meet at a local pizza place on the second Tuesday of each month. The venue is a monthly get-together run by local pastors inviting people for free pizza and honest discussions about some tough questions for Christianity. While their advertisements state that skeptics are welcome and encouraged, their responses often show us that we are more tolerated than welcome. I have written on this previously. Steve and I always manage to stump them...but we can usually predict the content based on past meetings (they repeat the topics form year to year and this is now our second year attending). We have gotten to know the two moderators, Rob and Corey and actually we quite like them despite our differences. However, the topic the other day was, "Don't Science and the Bible Conflict?". We were sure the answer was going to be NOMA friendly-as long as science doesn't tread into theological "territory" each can prosper. The problem is that this time they brought in a guest speaker to field the questions.....my questions. The guest speaker, a blond haired woman with trendy glasses and a nice suit came up to the mic after the talk-which was NOMA friendly as we expect-and started out rather reasonable. Rob told us that she had a law degree and a Ph.D. in molecular immunopharmacology. Impressive. The first question from the audience was, "Well, we know that the earth was created in 6 days, so how are we supposed to feel about evolution vs. creation?". *Eyes roll back into head* Rob said that he was fine with evolution, but felt that this might have been a way the creator set everything into motion. I was expecting this molecular immunopharmacologist to agree and tell the man that evolution is a fact and that we shouldn't read Genesis literally. Instead, she said this: "There is no evidence for evolution, and creation is much more plausible". My jaw dropped, but my interest peaked. Then she went through a rapid laundry list of the most outdated and purile creationist trope imaginable from "Nebraska man" to "Like only produces like" to "if you have a protein of 200 amino acids, the odds of it forming and functioning at 20^200" to "there are no transitional fossils" and finally, "mutations ONLY produce bad things, there are no examples of beneficial mutations".
As D'Souza says in his debates, "I feel like a mosquito in a nudist colony...where to begin?". I took on the protein calculation first. I told her that this was GIGO math (garbage in, garbage out). The assumption is that the protein must come together all at once-completely at random. This misunderstands Darwinian processes. Second, and just as important, anyone who does bioinformatic analysis of nucleic acid or amino acid sequences knows that the same protein will look different even between closely related individuals. You see, amino acids cluster together based on their chemical characteristics. Some amino acids are hydrophobic, some basic, some acidic. I told her that a protein only has to fold correctly so that it's active site is in the correct geometry. Substitutions for charged amino acids, such as glutamate (E) for aspartate (D) generally have no functional consequences. I told her that this is an area of expertise for me, because I also have a Ph.D., mine being in molecular microbiology. She then became defensive and instead of argue with me, tried to drown me out and used several ad homs. She started shreaking at me, "Name one beneficial mutation, NAME ONE, NAME ONE (at this point, I'm trying to answer her), NAME ONE, NAME ONE (still trying to answer her), NAME ONE!!! I finally said, "Could you please stop interupting me, I'm trying to answer your question. I pointed to mutations in Cis acting elements (gene regulatory regions) that can alter body plans....such as those discovered in the gene bmp-2 which lead to longer digits in mice (and suggested to have been important in both forming bat wings and optimizing length). As I left I thought, "antibiotic resistance". Goddamnit, why didn't I say that??? I chose a much harder example to explain. Next, I informed the audience that transitions do in fact exist for many lineages. I pointed to Basilosaurus-a transition from four limbed tetrapods to modern whales. One of several whale transitions known. We can see the blowhole migrating with time from the snout towards its current position, and at the same time the legs becoming modified until the hind limbs are gone, changes to the skull allowing for hearing underwater, etc. Finally, I asked the audience what sense it makes for some modern whales to have a pelvis??? The "Ph.D" lady blew this all off, telling them it wasn't true.
Finally, she claimed that because of the second law of thermodynamics, evolution can't be true because we couldn't increase order. I interupted her and said, "The earth is an open system". She mocked me saying, "Open system, closed system, who cares????" I shit you not, that is what this bimbo with a title said. I said, "Why do you think we are eating pizza right now??? Carbohydrates, protein and fat are used to increase order and thus decrease our entropy at the expense of the entropy of the environment". I went on, "You don't even understand the second law of thermodynamics!!!" She told the audience this wasn't true. Finally, she refuted Rob's whole premise that science and the Bible don't conflict by stating that evolution couldn't be true because this would mean that "death came before sin". I looked around the room wondering if anyone else even realized this. Rob just stared at her. Rob and Corey have always come across as rather liberal preachers who don't take OT events very literally, and she just came in and might as well have taken a dump on Rob's foot. Finally, she spent about 45 seconds berating "any Ph.D's in the room" that use jargon and can't make concepts in science simply enough for children to understand. She said I was making the people do "mental gymnastics" and because of this, what I was saying MUST NOT BE TRUE!!!! Can any of you stomach this brand of non sequitur???? I couldn't, so I interupted her little diatribe against me and said, "You were the one who introduced entropy without explaining it". She paused and glared at me. Then went on to say that my degree wasn't worth anything. A bunch of Christians came up afterwards and said they couldn't believe how rude and dismissive she was and thanked me for being calm and sticking to the argument. It was fun....but that bitch is still a FUCKTARD!!!!! Can't stick to the argument forever!