Creationist letter of complaint

Debunking Creationist arguments

Incl. intelligent design, belief in divine creation

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Creationist letter of complaint

#1  Postby Chief Wiggum » Dec 11, 2014 9:39 pm

My wife works for a children's non-fiction publisher and today received this letter, which she forwarded to me, thinking I would 'enjoy' it. Even as a novice, I could certainly have a pop at debunking each and every one of his points but I would welcome expert opinion also.
Surely the human body works best on a 7-day cycle with 7 days off?!

--------------------

Dear XXXXX,

Yesterday I was in a bookshop and picked up your book '1000 Scientific Facts. It is beautifully presented with all the illustrations and I thought what a wonderful book for my 10 year old grandson. And then I turned to the chapter on evolution. What a shame that it is in this book as evolution is a theory and not a fact, and with the information available these days it is evident that life could not have simply evolved.

I believe that the earth and everything in it was created in 7 days as described in Genesis.

Here are just a few reasons:-

1. The rotation of light. When light passes through certain organic molecules, it is rotated to the left (levo) or to the right (dextro).
When these compounds are formed in a laboratory there is an equal mixture of levo and dextro molecules. In a livinf cell all the molecules are levo. How could these have been formed by chance chemical reactions?

2. There is a valve (mitral valve) between the left and right auricles in the heart and in the foetus this valve is open so that the blood bypasses the ventricles and the lungs. At the moment of birth this valve must close so that blood flows through the ventricles and the lungs. How did this happen - by chance or designed?

3. How did male and female reproductive organs occur? How did reproduction take place before then?

4. Where did the 7 day weekly cycle originate? Scientific indicate that the body works best on the 7 day cycle which includes a day of rest.

With evolution there is no basis for morality, no accountability and no hope for the future.

As a 73 year old with a Christian faith I have a great future to look forward to with life in a perfect world with no end.

I would hope that you too could enjoy this hope.

Kind regards -

Revelation 14:6-12, chapters 21-22,
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Re: Creationist letter of complaint

#2  Postby Weaver » Dec 11, 2014 9:52 pm

The mitral valve does not connect the left and right atria of the heart. That structure - not a valve, but a shunt - is the foramen ovale.

And its existence is indicative of our cold-blooded evolutionary past.

As a 73 year old with a Christian faith, I'd say he wasted a good long life when he could have been learning about reality.
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Re: Creationist letter of complaint

#3  Postby Pebble » Dec 11, 2014 10:12 pm

The presumed role of the the foramen ovale is to permit bypassing of the lungs in the womb. A role as a cold blooded animal is not something I know about, doesn't really make sense to deliberately create lungs requiring a separate circulation and then bypassing them just because of a lack of thermoregulation.
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Re: Creationist letter of complaint

#4  Postby bert » Dec 11, 2014 10:30 pm

From wikipedia "In about 30% of adults the foramen ovale does not close completely, but remains as a small patent foramen ovale."

Closing/not closing doesn't seem to be a big deal then. So, perfectly possible to evolve.

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Re: Creationist letter of complaint

#5  Postby Fenrir » Dec 11, 2014 10:58 pm

That's one of the main reasons all prospective scuba divers should have a medical. An imperfectly closed foramen can allow bubbles into the arterial system and significantly increase the risk of decompression sickness.

Babies in utero do not have active gaseous exchange happening in their lungs and the foramen simply bypasses that system until it is needed.
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Re: Creationist letter of complaint

#6  Postby Calilasseia » Dec 12, 2014 12:30 am

What a sad fucker. And a sad fucker who can't even get basic facts right into the bargain. Once again, personal pronouns directed at the original author of this moronic collection of drivel.

[1] The answer is chiral catalysis. Which has been demonstrated repeatedly in the laboratory to work. Ryoji Noyori and other chemists first demonstrated this working way back in 1961, and were awarded the 2001 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for their efforts.

[2] WRONG! The mitral valve is the valve separating the left atrium and left ventricle!

Meanwhile, the appearance of additional chamber divisions is nothing new. Here's some scientific papers you can digest telling you all about how the chordate heart evolved:

Gene Regulatory Networks For The Development And Evolution Of The Chordate Heart by Yutaka Satou and Nori Satoh, Genes & Development, 20: 2634-2638 (2006)

Satou and Satoh, 2006 wrote:Gene regulatory networks consisting of subcircuits of transcription factors and intercellular signaling molecules are key to an understanding of the complex mechanisms of animal development and evolution (Davidson and Erwin 2006). One of the most intensively studied genetic networks is that for the formation of the animal heart. Since the discovery of the “tinman” gene (Bodmer 1993) and its vertebrate homolog, Nkx2.5 (Lyons et al. 1995), many genes have been found to be involved in heart development in a wide range of animals, from insects to mammals. Actually, it is well established that a gene circuit consisting of GATA, Nkx, and Hand is evolutionarily highly conserved. This gene circuit constitutes a “kernel,” which is evolutionarily inflexible and performs essential regulatory functions in building a body part (Davidson and Erwin 2006). Analyses of vertebrate heart development revealed that the differentiation of cardiac muscle cells and morphogenesis of the heart are governed by this heart kernel gene regulatory network (Cripps and Olson 2002; Harvey
2002; Buckingham et al. 2005). An important question to be answered about the formation of the heart in vertebrates and other chordates is how this kernel is turned on at the earliest stages of the heart cell specification process to establish the heart field.

Another intriguing question in chordate heart formation is how the dual- or multichambered heart of vertebrates evolved. It is generally believed that the ancestral chordate resembled the present-day ascidian tadpole. The morphogenetic movement of heart precursor cells during ascidian larval development and metamorphosis is reminiscent of those in vertebrates (Davidson and Levine 2003). However, the ascidian tube-like heart lacks chambers. The innovation of the chambered heart was a key event in vertebrate evolution, because the chambered heart generates one-way blood flow with high pressure, a critical requirement for the efficient blood supply of large-body vertebrates.

In this issue of Genes & Development, Davidson et al. (2006) addressed these questions by examining the function of an Ets-containing transcription factor in the tunicate, Ciona intestinalis. They found that Ci-Ets1/2 (because this is one of two Ciona orthologs for vertebrate Ets1 and Ets2 and Drosophila pointed, it was originally called Ci-ets/pointed2) (Yagi et al. 2003) establishes the heart field, probably through an FGF signal acting downstream from Ci-Mesp, a basic helix–loop–helix transcription factor gene required for the initial specification of heart precursor cells (Satou et al. 2004). Targeted inhibition of Ci-Ets1/2 or FGF receptor function blocks heart formation. Moreover, targeted expression of a constitutively active Ci-Ets1/2 causes the expansion of the heart field by forced recruitment of larval tail muscle cells that
express Ci-Mesp. Interestingly, this heart field expansion, evoked by the subtle alteration of the heart genetic program, caused a morphological change—that is, to a heart with two compartments.


The authors of this paper then go on to explain, in depth, how various regulatory genes produce the requisite effects.

Then we have this paper:

Gene Regulatory Networks In The Evolution And Development Of The Heart by Eric N. Olson, Science, 313: 1922-1927 (29th September 2006)

Olson, 2006 wrote:The heart, an ancient organ and the first to form and function during embryogenesis, evolved by the addition of new structures and functions to a primitive pump. Heart development is controlled by an evolutionarily conserved network of transcription factors that connect signaling pathways with genes for muscle growth, patterning, and contractility. During evolution, this ancestral gene network was expanded through gene duplication and co-option of additional networks. Mutations in components of the cardiac gene network cause congenital heart disease, the most common human birth defect. The consequences of such mutations reveal the logic of organogenesis and the evolutionary origins of morphological complexity.


Then we have this:

Parsing The Heart: Genetic Modules For Organ Assembly by Mark C. Fishman & Eric N. Olson, Cell, 91: 153-156 (October 1997)

Fishman & Olson, 1997 wrote:What are the pathways for the assembly of vertebrate organs, and how have these pathways evolved from those in more primitive organisms? Our goal here is to suggest one logical framework for approaching organ development, based upon recent genetic studies and buttressed by evolutionary observations. We do not presume the model to be as compelling as that for pattern and polarity in the Drosophila melanogaster embryo, although we draw upon the logic of that system, in proposing that single gene mutations can reveal units of vertebrate organ assembly, particularly the heart. These units we refer to as “modules,” by which we mean regions or functions of the heart, such as chamber designation or localized pacemaker activity, which can be selectively perturbed by single gene mutations in mice or fish. The modules appear to be recent evolutionary additions, not present in primitive chordates, in contrast to myogenic cellular activity, which appears to be an ancient metazoan property with molecular pathways conserved from insect to mammal. We suggest, in a heuristic vein, that it may be possible to view vertebrate heart assembly as the sum product of separable genetic modules.


Once again, my advice to people like this is go and learn some fucking science.

[3] Oh no, not the evolution of sex again. Oh wait, there exist simpler antecedent reproductive systems in organisms alive today, such as yeasts. Do I really have to dig out that 10,000 word essay Everything You Never Wanted To Know About Yeast Sex But Were Forced To Find Out yet again?

[4] it's a human convention. Like most other aspects of the calendar. :roll:

As for this:

With evolution there is no basis for morality, no accountability and no hope for the future.


This is bollocks. How many of the 15 or so scientific papers on the evolution of ethical behaviour, and the capacity for this, do I have to throw at you?

Meanwhile, take your mythology and shove it up your arse.

Feel free to carpet bomb this wanker in reply with the above.
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Re: Creationist letter of complaint

#7  Postby Calilasseia » Dec 12, 2014 12:40 am

Wondered why I couldn't find my post originally ... there were two threads. Now merged.
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Re: Creationist letter of complaint

#8  Postby Chief Wiggum » Dec 12, 2014 1:24 am

Marvellous! Thanks for that.
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Re: Creationist letter of complaint

#9  Postby tolman » Dec 12, 2014 3:28 am

Weaver wrote:The mitral valve does not connect the left and right atria of the heart. That structure - not a valve, but a shunt - is the foramen ovale.

And its existence is indicative of our cold-blooded evolutionary past.

As a 73 year old with a Christian faith, I'd say he wasted a good long life when he could have been learning about reality.

Well, you know what they say - you can't teach an old creationist much older basic biology.
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Re: Creationist letter of complaint

#10  Postby Chief Wiggum » Dec 12, 2014 10:05 am

His days of the week argument is the least scientific and most preposterous. He may well have said, "The days of the week are named after Tyr, Woden, Thor, Freya etc, therefore proving the Norse gods to be real."
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Re: Creationist letter of complaint

#11  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Dec 12, 2014 1:33 pm

I'll take a crack at these. My answers will be brief. This may be helpful.
Chief Wiggum wrote:
Creotard Asshat wrote:
Here are just a few reasons:-

1. The rotation of light. When light passes through certain organic molecules, it is rotated to the left (levo) or to the right (dextro).
When these compounds are formed in a laboratory there is an equal mixture of levo and dextro molecules. In a livinf cell all the molecules are levo. How could these have been formed by chance chemical reactions?

The chemical reactions which take place in living organisms are not "chance chemical reactions." They are carefully regulated reactions carried out by molecular catalysts which determine the overall structure, including the chirality, of the products in order to maximize the utility of the products for the organism in which the reactions are taking place. Thus, this question underscores no flaw in evolutionary theory, simply an abiding absence of biological education in the questioner.

2. There is a valve (mitral valve) between the left and right auricles in the heart and in the foetus this valve is open so that the blood bypasses the ventricles and the lungs. At the moment of birth this valve must close so that blood flows through the ventricles and the lungs. How did this happen - by chance or designed?

Is this anything other than an argument from ignorance? What does this valve help us understand about Creationism? Why would a creator design an organism which required such sloppy and fallible safeguards in the first place- especially a perfect, biblical-style creator? One would think the designs of a perfect creator would contain fewer design compromises. I would point out that design compromises are a wonderful example of the evolutionary process: Evolution must work with what came before while a de novo Creator would not be limited by that factor. Examples of design compromises are shooting the "theory" of Creation in the foot.

3. How did male and female reproductive organs occur? How did reproduction take place before then?

This demonstrates a common misunderstanding of the prevalence of sex in living organisms. It turns out that life does very well without sex and that most species don't bother with it, or do it only rarely. Extant species delineate a large continuum of sex-dependence for reproductive success, providing a wonderful idea of how sex must have happened. This is, however, the most forgivable ignorance expressed in the letter as most people don't realize that sex is a minority endeavor. Unicellular life rarely has sex. Unicellular life outmasses all other life on Earth. We simply ignore it because we cannot see it.

4. Where did the 7 day weekly cycle originate? Scientific indicate that the body works best on the 7 day cycle which includes a day of rest.
No. You're just making shit up to support your favorite book of faery tales.

With evolution there is no basis for morality, no accountability and no hope for the future.

As a 73 year old with a Christian faith I have a great future to look forward to with life in a perfect world with no end.

I would hope that you too could enjoy this hope.

Kind regards -

Revelation 14:6-12, chapters 21-22,

The last bit is simply assertion without evidence, as well. Altruism is a widely studied animal behavior. It turns out that a lot of animals have discovered its utility without any supernatural dogma whatever. Altruism in a social group is directly beneficial to the members of that social group (so there may be no "true" altruism). Humans didn't invent being nice to each other.
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Re: Creationist letter of complaint

#12  Postby Chief Wiggum » Dec 12, 2014 1:42 pm

Lovely stuff. Thanks.

Can I ask a slightly off-topic question at this point but it is something I've wanted to do when debating Creationists online...

Is the fact that humans are growing taller as a species an example of evolution in evidence over a relatively short timeframe, aided by improved living conditions/diet?
I assume it is but don't want to state it as fact without knowing for sure...
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Re: Creationist letter of complaint

#13  Postby DavidMcC » Dec 12, 2014 1:50 pm


1. The rotation of light. When light passes through certain organic molecules, it is rotated to the left (levo) or to the right (dextro).
When these compounds are formed in a laboratory there is an equal mixture of levo and dextro molecules. In a livinf cell all the molecules are levo. How could these have been formed by chance chemical reactions?

An example of random selection during abiogenesis, in that the advantage goes to the first self-replicating molecule, which happened to be levo. The dextros lost, simply by virtue of being too late (by chance).
2. There is a valve (mitral valve) between the left and right auricles in the heart and in the foetus this valve is open so that the blood bypasses the ventricles and the lungs. At the moment of birth this valve must close so that blood flows through the ventricles and the lungs. How did this happen - by chance or designed?

It happened by a process of evolution of embryogenesis, which would have involved co-evolution of the parts of the embryo. Those organisms with poor embryogenesis are deselected - they don't survive.
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Re: Creationist letter of complaint

#14  Postby Shrunk » Dec 12, 2014 2:17 pm

Chief Wiggum wrote:Lovely stuff. Thanks.

Can I ask a slightly off-topic question at this point but it is something I've wanted to do when debating Creationists online...

Is the fact that humans are growing taller as a species an example of evolution in evidence over a relatively short timeframe, aided by improved living conditions/diet?
I assume it is but don't want to state it as fact without knowing for sure...


It's probably not a good example because, as you say, nutrition and other enviornmental factors are likely contributing.

Lactose tolerance is a much better illustration. (Not that it would penetrate this guys thick head, of course.)

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrar ... 01_lactose
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Re: Creationist letter of complaint

#15  Postby ScholasticSpastic » Dec 12, 2014 2:20 pm

Chief Wiggum wrote:
Is the fact that humans are growing taller as a species an example of evolution in evidence over a relatively short timeframe, aided by improved living conditions/diet?
I assume it is but don't want to state it as fact without knowing for sure...

In order to make this claim, it would be necessary to demonstrate that the alleles for "tallness" were increasing in abundance in a given population. "Tallness" is a complex trait and demonstrating this would be hard work. The caloric density and nutrition bit is a near-certainty, though. :thumbup:
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Re: Creationist letter of complaint

#16  Postby Weaver » Dec 12, 2014 4:07 pm

Chief Wiggum wrote:Lovely stuff. Thanks.

Can I ask a slightly off-topic question at this point but it is something I've wanted to do when debating Creationists online...

Is the fact that humans are growing taller as a species an example of evolution in evidence over a relatively short timeframe, aided by improved living conditions/diet?
I assume it is but don't want to state it as fact without knowing for sure...

No, not particularly - it is mostly an artifact of improved nutrition.
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Re: Creationist letter of complaint

#17  Postby Agrippina » Dec 12, 2014 4:15 pm

Is it possible to get Cali's answer to the grandfather?
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Re: Creationist letter of complaint

#18  Postby Varangian » Dec 12, 2014 6:31 pm

Weaver wrote:
Chief Wiggum wrote:Lovely stuff. Thanks.

Can I ask a slightly off-topic question at this point but it is something I've wanted to do when debating Creationists online...

Is the fact that humans are growing taller as a species an example of evolution in evidence over a relatively short timeframe, aided by improved living conditions/diet?
I assume it is but don't want to state it as fact without knowing for sure...

No, not particularly - it is mostly an artifact of improved nutrition.

Yup. More protein in the diet has increased the average height of Japanese males from c. 160 cm (1949) to c. 175 cm today.
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Re: Creationist letter of complaint

#19  Postby ADParker » Dec 13, 2014 3:38 am

I'l make a few remarks as well (all comments directed at the letter writer).
Chief Wiggum wrote:
Dear XXXXX,

Yesterday I was in a bookshop and picked up your book '1000 Scientific Facts. It is beautifully presented with all the illustrations and I thought what a wonderful book for my 10 year old grandson. And then I turned to the chapter on evolution. What a shame that it is in this book as evolution is a theory and not a fact, and with the information available these days it is evident that life could not have simply evolved.

You are mistaken. Evolution is a fact, it is "the theory of evolution" that is a theory.

Chief Wiggum wrote:I believe that the earth and everything in it was created in 7 days as described in Genesis.

What you believe has no bearing on what are or are not facts. Why would you even bring this up?!

Chief Wiggum wrote:Here are just a few reasons:-

1. The rotation of light. When light passes through certain organic molecules, it is rotated to the left (levo) or to the right (dextro).
When these compounds are formed in a laboratory there is an equal mixture of levo and dextro molecules. In a livinf cell all the molecules are levo. How could these have been formed by chance chemical reactions?

Note that this is nothing but an argument from ignorance. Not knowing how this occurs in no way shakes the theory.
Calilasseia covered this sufficiently; it is about chirality and chiral catalysis, on which a lot of work has been done, with plenty of information freely available for your perusal, even though it gets quite complicated for a layman such as yourself. The bottom line is that this is not seen as a concern by those who actually understand the relevant science and facts.

Chief Wiggum wrote:2. There is a valve (mitral valve) between the left and right auricles in the heart and in the foetus this valve is open so that the blood bypasses the ventricles and the lungs. At the moment of birth this valve must close so that blood flows through the ventricles and the lungs. How did this happen - by chance or designed?

Another argument from ignorance. The valve you are trying to allude to is called the septum primum. You should really get your facts straight before making an argument.

There is a passage called the foramen ovale (foramen basically just means "hole") which during fetal development allows blood to flow directly from the right atrium to the left atrium of the heart, instead of via the lungs (where the blood is oxygenated), which are not developed at this stage. Once born the now working lungs take in air and result in the pressure in the pulmonary circulatory system dropping, which causes the septum primum to be pushed against the atrial septum, closing the passage between the two atria (i.e. blocking the foramen ovale closed). Over time it becomes fused in place.
There is nothing particularly remarkable going on there. Your question "how did this happen?" turns out to be rather simple; air pressure caused by breathing. Which also neatly explains what you seem to find so mysterious (and thus designed); "why does it happen at that particular time (birth)?"

Chief Wiggum wrote:3. How did male and female reproductive organs occur? How did reproduction take place before then?

Any broad look at the variations of sexuality throughout the living world should make this clear. Unfortunately apologists for religion seem to have some notion of an immediate switch from asexual (one sex) to perfectly sexual (two sexes) species, as if by magic. The organs of two sex species evolved in earlier species that developed those features within single sex species; hermaphrodites etc.
A good example can be found in flowering plants, many of which maintain what we call "male and female" sex organs within the same individual.
Some fertilize themselves, their 'male' organ fertilizes their own 'female' organ.
Some fertilize others while they are in turn fertilized by their sisters (typically those of hermaphrodite species are all labeled "female"). 'True' hermaphrodites that impregnate others and are impregnated by those others (get pregnant and get others pregnant).
And some that have one 'gender' of their sex organs that have atrophied to work less (more male than female or the reverse for example).
And finally some that have become purely differentiated into two distinct sexes (while many still show signs of their now almost shrunk out of existence other organs - pistol and stamen).

Another example are snails and slugs.
Slugs that have sex in which two slugs impregnate one another simultaneously (At least one David Attenborough documentary has brilliant footage of this), and snails that meet and enter into an elaborate 'dance' in which the two 'decide' which will be the impregnator and which the impregnated, both being hermaphroditic and capable of either role.

Both of the above being most instructive indicators of how two-sex species arise.

Chief Wiggum wrote:4. Where did the 7 day weekly cycle originate? Scientific indicate that the body works best on the 7 day cycle which includes a day of rest.

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The 7 day week is a human invention though, it doesn't otherwise exist in nature as far as I know. Other length weeks have been known thought history.

Chief Wiggum wrote:With evolution there is no basis for morality, no accountability and no hope for the future.

None of that is true. Empty assertions like this can be dismissed just that easily.

Chief Wiggum wrote:As a 73 year old with a Christian faith I have a great future to look forward to with life in a perfect world with no end.

Once again; the fact that you personally happen to believe that you will somehow survive your own death has no bearing on the facts.

Chief Wiggum wrote:I would hope that you too could enjoy this hope.

Leave your fantasies to yourself.

Chief Wiggum wrote:Kind regards -

Revelation 14:6-12, chapters 21-22,

For what it's worth:


Revelation 14:6-12 (NIV):
The Three Angels
6 Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water. 8 A second angel followed and said, “‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,’ which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries." 9 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, 10 they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” 12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.


Which can be summarized as "Worship God or burn!" :yuk:

I have no idea what chapters 21-22 is meant to be.
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Re: Creationist letter of complaint

#20  Postby Fenrir » Dec 13, 2014 4:37 am

"its only a theory "

So is gravity.
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