Costco and the Creation-Evolution Debate

There is a debate scheduled this evening (2/4/2014) between a creationist – Ken Ham, and the “science guy” Bill Nye. I’m not necessarily recommending watching the debate, you can Google it for more information.

What I am recommending is a visit to your local Costco in search of this book:

The Human Body: A Visual Guide to Human Anatomy (Metro Books Edition)

If you can’t find it at Costco, perhaps you can find it at your local Barnes & Nobel book store (click on the image above). Failing that, there are a number of very good web sites showing the marvels that are the human body. For the thought experiment I propose below, I prefer lingering over the large format hard copy book.

– The experiment –

With the book spread out in front of you on top of the other books on the Costco table, relax and try to put your mind in the following state (you can return to your own reality following the experiment):

  • Try as best you can to focus your attention entirely on the book and what it contains.
  • Forget everything you might have heard or known about the age of the earth.
  • Forget everything you might have heard about fossils.
  • Forget everything you might have heard or known about a worldwide flood and an ark.
  • Forget everything you might have heard or known about a guy named Darwin.
  • Forget everything you might have heard or known about “mountains of indisputable evidence.”
  • Forget everything you might have heard or known about the creation accounts in a book called the Bible.
  • Open the book in front of you and start browsing through it.
  • Scan through the book and get a feel for the numerous human anatomical  features the book calls “systems.”
  • Go back and spend a little more time looking at a few of the “systems” that may particularly interest you (my favorites are the inner ear, the cell  – including DNA, and the eye).
  • Be mindful of your fellow shoppers and move as necessary.

Now return to your previous reality, whatever that may be and mentally review the results of the experiment, with emphasis on the following ( you may revisit the book at any time):

  • The obvious emphasis on “systems” as shown in the chapter titles for each distinct part of the human anatomy (e.g.  the eye, the cell, …).
  • Notice that each of the “systems” described in the book are part and parcel of the “system” as a whole, namely the functional human body. Visualize the impact should any of the “systems” cease to exist, or were never there in the first place.
  • Revisit the chapter on the cell and visualize how the cells, and in particular the DNA within the cells participate in the manufacture of the final product of each “system.”
  • Visualize the information contained in DNA that enables the detailed construction of such a complex machine as the human body.
  • Start referring to these “systems” as “subsystems.”
  • Since what we have before us in the book is a representation of a system containing multiple sub-systems, relate that picture to other systems of sub-systems you are familiar with such as: your automobile, your house, your computer … .
  • As in your automobile or computer, the subsystems must coordinate with and communicate with each other by some mechanism – in the case of the automobile and computer such coordination and communication is typically done electronically with wires or other forms of connection specific protocols such as hydraulics and mechanical devices.
  • Now translate such coordination and communications in your own body by revisiting the chapters on the nervous system, the glandular system and the circulatory system.
  • Revisit the text of the book and notice the occurrences of the following words or terms: evolve, Darwin, natural selection, design, or related terms and words. Did you find many or any?
  • Look at the index for words or terms such as Darwin, evolution, natural selection. Did you find many or any?

Now to return to the subject of the debate, here’s Nye’s rational for the debate:

Nye said that he is “frightened” by the push for creationism in science textbooks and instruction.

“If the United States produces a generation of science students who don’t believe in science, that’s troublesome,” he said, reflecting past statements he’s made on the matter. “We want to raise the most scientifically literate students that we can.”

So Nye’s position, as well as the vast majority of evolutionary biologists, is that those holding to a world view contrary to neo-Darwinism are scientifically illiterate, and such views  present some sort of a clear and present danger to the United States.

I don’t know what views Dr. Sarah Brewer, the author of the book discussed above holds, but she is obviously very highly educated, very scientifically literate, very well informed on human anatomy, and is able to present a very beautiful and compelling picture of the marvel that is the human body – and she is able to do that without invoking the neo-Darwinian dogma of Bill Nye the Science guy and others holding to that now outmoded view of reality. I don’t see this highly scientific woman as one who does not believe in science.   And, I find many other actual scientific practitioners and researchers seem to be doing the same as Dr. Brewer – namely giving the wink and nod to the evolutionary biologist educators – the bullies, and proceed to investigate and work with the actual, not illusionary,  designs they are finding in nature.

Hope you enjoyed the experiment.

Don Johnson – February 2014 


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