An Open Letter to Young Earth Creationists Who Predictably Misrepresented the News about “Lucy”

The following webpage will likely not last long once its ignorance has gone viral:

Scientific “Facts” Keep Getting Reversed

So, if necessary, I may later on simply add some of the most comical excerpts here for the entertainment of Bible & Science Forum readers. Meanwhile, the remainder of today’s blog is an email I sent to Cowboy Bob Sorensen after a correspondent notified me of the aforementioned rant filled with science and history ignorance. In the interest of time, I’ve not bothered to convert the raw email text into a richer format nor have I included any footnotes about the historical facts I reference. However, anyone who has taught or taken courses in the History & Philosophy of Science Department at any major university is already familiar with these basics of a typical History of the Scientific Method or similar type of course.

(Feel free to add your own comments about the “science reversals” rubbish. After all, my response here is in no way exhaustive of the profuse errors.)


Cowboy Bob Sorensen & other Young Earth Creationist Science-Denialists:
(cc: friends & colleagues)

Yes, as one would predict, Cowboy Bob Sorensen and many other Young Earth Creationist propagandists have confused the “Lucy” fossil ( 288-1) as the name of an entire species —so they think the entire “transitional form” (Bob’s term) is “about to be shelved!” I guess the few hundred other Australopithecus afarensis fossil finds around the world don’t count. Right, Bob?

I would love to hear the infamous “Cowboy Bob”explain why a stray fossil bone from another specimen getting washed into the collection of fossil bones labelled 288-1 somehow constitutes a change (“reversal” he calls it) in science! LOL. (And what about all of the other Australopithecus afarensis fossil collections catalogued over the years, which I understand number around a couple hundred, which do NOT have any stray fossil bone among them?)

But what is especially funny with Bob, did you all notice that he has converted his entire article of text into a quasi-graphic using php code that he thinks will make it impossible for people to copy-and-paste his nonsense so as to quote from it? LOL. Clearly, even Bob knows that he needs to be able to hide, retract, and deny his erroneous claims when they catch up with him. So he doesn’t want it to be too easy for people to cite his rubbish and tell others about his ignorance. (Too late. It is all recorded at the Bible.and.Science.Forum.)

Incidentally, his “unreliable, changeable science” tirade is another great example of how, because Young Earth Creationists like Bob never bothered to learn what constitutes modern science, they mine their examples of “wrong theories” from before modern science was developed! The “Philogston Theory” is a great example of why Science is so much more reliable than classical philosophy when it comes to understanding natural processes. Bob’s blunder is so ironic in what is actually one of the great confirmations of the value of the scientific method that I think I will write a few articles for my blog showcasing his ignorance.

The reason “phlogiston theory” survived for a while–despite the experimental evidence against it—was because it was first proposed BY A PHILOSOPHER AS A PHILOSOPHICAL CONCEPT. The philosopher Johann Becher (in 1669, before modern science was fully defined and established as the foundation of chemistry) claimed that all substances contained three kinds of earth: the vitrifiable, mercuriable, and the combustible. If that sounds a lot like Aristotle’s FOUR ELEMENTS philosophy, then you understand how Becher was a very traditional philosopher steeped in the ancient philosophies of the Greeks and Romans. He was NOT a scientist (then called “natural philosopher”) and he had limited interest in experimental verification of his claims. It was a follower of Becher, Georg Stahl, who actually coined the name “philogston” a few years later in his writings about Becher’s philosophy.

It was during Stahl’s lifetime that SCIENTISTS started heavily criticizing Becher & Stahl’s “Philogston Theory” because those early pioneer chemists were adopting the scientific method (and thereby establishing chemistry as an actual SCIENCE) and they started TESTING various claims made by the traditional philosophers who had preceded them.

What did scientists find in testing Becher’s & Stahl’s “Phlogston” philosophy? They discovered that the ash of organic materials like wood and leaves weighed LESS than the original material—while the calx (what we know as the oxidized product) of metals was HEAVIER than the original material. So scientists effectively DESTROYED the “Phlogiston Theory of Philosophy” from the start! (Sorry, anti-science propagandists. You lost again. As the Bible reminds us, the liar shall not prosper. His sins will catch up with him.)

No doubt Bob will claim that I’m just manipulating the words “philosopher” and “scientist” to “protect the religion of science”—but the facts are against that objection. You see, when scientists published and demonstrated to Georg Stahl that actual experiments involving careful weighing of the materials and resulting ashes totally destroyed “Phlogiston Theory”, Stahl didn’t care. Stahl’s wrote that he considered phlogiston an IMMATERIAL “PRINCIPLE” rather than an ACTUAL substance. In other words, Stahl emphasized that his was the philosophy of METAPHYSICS, not Science! If one isn’t dealing with material substances, one isn’t a scientist! Stahl repeated what Becher had claimed: phlogiston was a fundamental “principle” and not necessarily applicable to the material world, the realm of Science, in actual experiments.

Indeed, Stahl was also saying that “Phlogiston Theory” was ancient “elemental philosophy” in the tradition of Aristotle and could not be expected to be falsifiable under the scrutiny of scientific experiments. In other words, “Phlogiston philosophy” was never any sort of “established scientific fact”, despite Bob Sorensen’s misrepresentations.

It is true that a few early scientists who still wanted to embrace traditional philosophy in various ways, such as Joseph Priestly, tried for a while to resurrect phlogiston and somehow make it scientifically legitimate. They failed and the entire Science academy recognized that failure. Pioneer chemist Antoine Lavoisier (in the 1780’s) did exhaustive studies on all sorts of metals and other substances and managed to explain (using the scientific method) that OXYGEN was the scientific response and answer to what philosopher’s had tried to imagine with their phlogiston theory of philosophy. No scientist was EVER able to develop, let alone publish, a valid scientific theory of phlogiston.

So either Bob Sorensen was totally ignorant about the FACT that phlogiston was a theory of philosophy that was not subject to falsification testing because it wasn’t rooted in material processes *or* Bob just plain lied and assumed his science-illiterate audience would buy into it. I leave it to readers to decide.

Of course, Bob is not alone in this dishonest strategy built upon an ignorance of both science and history. Notice that Ken Ham in the Bill Nye debate complained that “modern science” has been “hijacked” by scientists! Ham reasoned (LOL) that because the Latin word SCIENTIA meant “knowledge”, the allegedly “correct definition” of science was simply “knowledge”. (In linguistics we call that the “etymology=lexicography” fallacy. The history of a word long ago has no necessary bearing on how a given culture chooses to define it today. Yes, Science is knowledge but in the field of science it is knowledge which is based upon the scientific method of falsification testing.) By Ham’s definition of “science=knowledge”, astrology and homeopathy are “science” because each involves a collection of known ideas—regardless of their validity or being subject to falsification testing. Yet, Ken Ham knows that he must obfuscate the meaning of Science so that he can try and taint the scientific method with the errors of errant philosophies which preceded it.

Thanks, Bob. You’ve given me some more great material for demonstrating the vapid nonsense of creationist propaganda against valid science. You will be featured in an upcoming Bible.and.Science.Forum blog. Meanwhile, I suggest that you spend some time reading the Book of Proverbs. It has a lot to say about the fool who mocks instruction and the simpleton who refuses to learn.

Also, Bob, I suggest that you read up on Australopithecus afarensis so that you can consider doing what Christ-followers are called to do in this situation: Post a retraction on your webpage explaining to your readers the many factual errors of your propaganda piece. Explain to them that the extra bone fossil that was found within A SINGLE SPECIMEN numbered 288-1 (the first collection of fossil remains of an Australopithecus afarensis which is informally known as “Lucy”) and that that extraneous ancient baboon fossil has absolutely no impact on the significance of Australopithecus afarensis as an ancient species nor on anything discovered thus far about the evolution of Homo sapiens sapiens. Moreover, even if not a single fossil had ever been found of ANYTHING on the planet, The Theory of Evolution would be just as confidently affirmed by scientists because of the voluminous evidence of many different types (especially the NESTED HIERARCHIES observed for generations and more recently verified on the molecular level as well.) You should also confess to your readers that you were ignorant of the fact that “phlogiston theory” was a PHILOSOPHY and was NEVER confirmed by the scientific method and adopted by the Science Academy through peer-review. It was a continuation of ancient “philosophy of the elements” in the tradition of Aristotle’s Four Elements and some of the first chemists of modern science soundly shredded Becher’s failed philosophy as easily falsified by scientific experiments. So when you claimed that “phlogiston theory” was once “established science” and assumed to be a fact among scientists, anyone who doesn’t share your ignorance of history will think you a liar.

Using lies as one’s anti-Science propaganda may seem like a useful strategy for a while—but it will always catch up with the propagandist when a reader chooses to check the truth for themselves. The question every denialist-propagandist should be asking themselves is whether their behavior reflects well on the teachings of Jesus Christ and the reputations and credibility of those who claim to be his followers. Sadly, even though the Bible itself in no way justifies what you are doing, many readers will incorrectly assume that the Bible somehow condones such conduct. That is why I have to waste time explaining and exposing such whoppers and those of other creationist science-denialists. In no way do I want your behavior and claims to be associated with Biblical Christianity or with true Christ-followers in any way.

Science-Denialists, I hope you will all change your ways, eliminate your pathological dishonesty, and remedy your appalling ignorance of science and scriptures. In fact, even if you are truly that ignorant of science and history, you shouldn’t be surprised when the average reader has difficulty imagining such appalling ignorance and naturally assumes that you are simply committed to dishonesty. Either way, it is profoundly sad for all.

Professor Tertius

(c) 2015. Professor Tertius & the Bible.and.Science.Forum at
All rights reserved. Email us at address for permissions on reposting and publication.



Filed under Uncategorized

23 responses to “An Open Letter to Young Earth Creationists Who Predictably Misrepresented the News about “Lucy”

  1. To be strictly accurate Ken Ham’s words at the debate were that science had been ‘hijacked by secularists’. He of course is doing BIBLE APOLOGETICS – and calling what he does ‘science’ or ‘creation science’ or ‘how to think correctly about the unseen past’.

  2. “To be strictly accurate Ken Ham’s words at the debate were that science had been ‘hijacked by secularists’. ”

    I may be confusing what Ken Ham said in his after the debate commentaries (where he recalled that part of the debate)—but I thought Ham’s exact words (in one context or the other!) were “hijacked by secular scientists”. So, because Ham often refers to science as mostly controlled by “the secular scientists who support evolution and want to leave God out of science”, I thought I heard “secular scientists” and so I shortened it to “scientists”.

    So, you may be right as to the exact wording in the debate per se. But I do know that Ham has spoken and/or written about science being “hijacked by secular scientists” and that they “control the liberal university campuses.” Of course, Ham considers Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, and other “anti-theists” as controlling the Science Academy, so he does speak of them hijacking the science world that was “founded by creationist scientists.”

    Of course, at about this point he also complains about how “they don’t even distinguish between observational and historical science.”

    [By the way, I saw a post on the Grace With Salt blog where he responds to a question about those “two kinds of science” and basically admits that they are a creationist invention and aren’t textbook science terms. That surprised me. So apparently he notices that only creationists have “discovered” that distinction. I find that website fascinating. Obviously, he is far more sophisticated and generally polite than Cowboy Bob type of creationist–but his totally failure at logical thinking and sense of Kruger-Dunning hubris amidst total ignorance. Frankly, I find that blog much more disturbing than Bob’s. He is equally committed to censorship and covering his eyes and ears to evidence. But one senses that he could understand the science if he really wanted to–i.e., he probably has the intellectual capability–while Bob and denialists like him appear to lack the basic skills and capabilities of investigating and learning about the basic science of evolutionary biology. (Of course, the net result is much the same: denial and ignorance and, thereby, a general immunity to ever actually examining the evidence.)]

  3. Prof T recalls: “Notice that Ken Ham in the Bill Nye debate complained that “modern science” has been “hijacked” by scientists!”

    That’s like complaining that modern plumbing has been hijacked by plumbers.

    AHR remembers: “Ken Ham’s words at the debate were that science had been ‘hijacked by secularists’.”

    Okay, then that’s like complaining that plumbing has been hijacked by secularists.

    Prof T explains: “…but I thought Ham’s exact words (in one context or the other!) were “hijacked by secular scientists”

    Now we’re getting somewhere! Modern plumbing has been hijacked by secularist plumbers!

  4. As Mark Germano observes, denialist Christians consider the word secular to be recognized by the reader as an inflammatory, very significant word that should alert all believers to a recognize of imminent danger. They don’t consider something secular as simply a “non-religious” or non-sectarian thing. Many American Fundamentalist assume that that which is secular is intentionally and consciously anti-God! So a “secular scientist” is not just a typical scientist who happens to not identify himself with a religious designation. The secular scientist is considered a dangerous enemy agent in a position where Satan can use him/her to fight against all that is good and holy!

  5. As Ashley Haworth-Roberts could verify from his own experience, we won’t be seeing Cowboy Bob Sorensen posting anything here to defend his multiple websites or his particularly angry brand of Young Earth Creationist science-denialism. Like so many of his ilk, he fears dialogue in any forum where he doesn’t have complete censorial control.

    Of course, that’s nothing new or unusual among “creation science” promoters and “ministries.” But most of them try to be a little more subtle about it. (Indeed, at so many Young Earth Creationist websites, quick deletion of any comments which interrupt the self-congratulation and group-think of YECism is standard operating procedure. Yet, it doesn’t stop there. Even something as “disruptive” as posting embarrassing evidence or asking a revealing question and ESPECIALLY the posting of links to educational webpages brings instant bans on so many of the “creation science” websites.)

    That tells us that most “creation science” leaders know quite well and legitimately fear the fact that evidence and any questioning of their tradition-based dogma is death to their survival. Otherwise, they would welcome all evidence and skepticism as excellent opportunities to debunk the opposition’s claims and teach their followers how their “creation science” is superior to all other “secular science”.

  6. I have just had the chance to acquaint Bob with this blog article, here:

    You can no doubt guess exactly how he is behaving in response.

    Trying to pretend it does not exist.

  7. Mark is saying here that Georgia Purdom has deleted comments that challenge her Facebook nonsense re ‘Lucy’ (or argue for evolution – how appallingly some people behave on Facebook):

    Fortunately censorship is less automatic at Worldview Warriors – because, I assume, YECs do not have absolute control of the site.

  8. Sorensen is now behaving like a criminal who has just been arrested and is about to be charged. Surprise Surprise.

    I have invited him to come here and defend his position.

    He will not. Because he is a fraud.

  9. PS
    This – from around post 59 onwards – has got pretty ‘lively’ (come back YECs all is forgiven 🙂 ):

  10. Ashley, that’s interesting where Charlie claims this blog censors people. In the entire history of this blog, I think there have only been one or two comments that were deleted and it was because they were spam. We WELCOME Young Earth Creationists to post their arguments. That’s half the fun!

    There’s no better way to discredit an angry evidence-denier than to let them speak freely.

    [I’ve heard of WordPress errors that caused comments to disappear but I’m not presently aware of that ever happening on this blog. If someone thinks it has happened to them, I will gladly restore their comment.]

    • It was that ‘Anonymous’ character who alleged censorship here rather than Charlie Wolcott.

      But – the lack of censorship notwithstanding – Sorensen has neither the guts nor the honesty to come here and try and defend his Facebook comments about Lucy and how finding a stray baboon bone is ‘akin to the debunking of phlogiston theory’ (how can you defend dishonesty, except to other similarly dishonest folk with the same anti-scientific agenda?).

    • Wow! His blog is filled with famous quote-mines and outright lies peddled i the YEC propaganda mill. His ignorance of science is incredible.

      As for him thinking there is no evidence for The Theory of Evolution, I’d love to see him deal with nested hierarchies.

      As the comedian says, “You can’t fix stupid.” I try to give them the benefit of the doubt but when they make no attempt to engage the evidence, I lose all respect. It is so easy to read both sides of these debates nowadays, thanks to the Internet. In my day (in the 1960’s and 1970’s), it was a lot more work.

      • TomS

        I was pleased when I learned of the possibilities of discussions on the ‘net. One could take one’s time to get corroboration on a point (one doesn’t need to have memorize the exact facts and figures and primary source). One could keep the conversation focused. One could point to what exactly had been said, in context. The “quote mine project” is an exemple of the possibilities.
        But it seems that some people are stuck in the old ways. And seem to get away with it.

  11. The hypocrite Sorensen is totally ignoring (despite being made aware of it by myself at the recent Worldview Warriors blog discussion) this rebuttal – and repeating on his blog (no comments permitted) his previous FALSEHOODS:

    He won’t even try to fix his stupid.

  12. I have attempted the comment “So a literally global flood less than 5,000 years ago is not a fact since nobody alive today witnessed such a thing” but the so and so’s have put me on pre-moderation so I don’t know whether you will be allowed to read it there.

  13. I was able to read your comments there, Ashley. I see at the end of the thread, they censored one of the commenters for pointing out their nonsense.

  14. Pingback: Even when mocking Miley Cyrus, Ken Ham embarrasses himself by exposing his ignorance of evolution. | Bible.and.Science.Forum

  15. Pingback: Young Earth Creationist Hecklers Are My Favorite Hecklers. | Bible.and.Science.Forum

  16. Pingback: “The silly Bible even errs in counting the number of legs on a grasshopper!” | Bible.and.Science.Forum

  17. Pingback: Speaking of Favorite YEC Hecklers: How to Copy-and-Paste Cowboy Bob’s Hilarious Howlers | Bible.and.Science.Forum

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s