If Gary Ablett is the product of intelligent design, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle

Gary Ablett Snr is a raving loony, and a plagiarist. Take a look at this bizarre rant about evolution, intelligent design, humanism, and why life doesn’t spontaneously arise in a jar of peanut butter.

First let’s deal with the plagiarism. The tenth par of the article is lifted, pretty much verbatim, from the website of Grace Haven Ministries, a US evangelical organisation.

Compare:

Ablett:
FOR example, humanism, the central philosophy of our schools and society, teaches that man is above all else, that he alone is the centre of meaning. Teaching that man has meaning totally apart from God, (humanism) leave morality, justice and behaviour to the discretion of “enlightened” man and encourages people to worship man and nature rather than God. Living without God’s divine truth causes humanity to sink lower and lower into spiritual darkness and depravity, blindly following a philosophy that intends to heighten the dignity of man, but which instead lowers him to the level of animals rather than a spiritual, emotional and moral being. Man has been classified as merely natural phenomena of time plus chances, no greater than rocks, animals or clouds.
Grace Haven Ministries:
Humanism, the central philosophy of our schools and society, teaches that man is above all else, that he alone is the center of meaning. Teaching that man has meaning totally apart from God, humanism leaves morality, justice and behavior to the discretion of “enlightened” man and encourages people to worship man and nature rather than God. Living without God’s divine truth, humanity sinks lower and lower in depravity, blindly following a philosophy that intends to heighten the dignity of man, but which instead lowers him to the level of animals. Rather than a spiritual and emotional being, man has been classified as merely a natural phenomenon of time plus chance, no greater than rocks, animals or clouds. The Apostle Paul described this foolish and demeaning perspective of man in Romans 1:20-25.

Oh dear. Naughty Gary’s been cribbing his homework, and he’s even managed to insert a couple of typos that were not in the original text. Worse yet, the passage above is probably the most comprehensible in the whole article (that’s what twigged me to the plagiarism in the first place).

OK, so he lifted a paragraph without attribution – it’s hardly a hanging offence. Let’s take a look at the rest of the article.

Ablett doesn’t accept evolution as fact – in fact he doesn’t seem to accept that Australia was once a penal colony:

Now it is bad enough misleading us by telling us we descended from convicts but to tell us we descended from “apes” – come on!

Man might look like an ape, act like a goat, eat like a pig, think like a jackass, be as stubborn as a mule and as cunning as a fox, but a man is still a man and has been that way right down through recorded history. I openly confess to being no scientist, nor will I try to pretend to be one. However, it is not hard for the average person to understand some of the basic laws and principles within the scientific world. There is so much misinformation out there called “science”, masquerading as “truth”, and because we’ve been taught to believe these falsehoods it takes an abundance of information to get these misconceptions unseated. So please bear with me as I may need to get quite technical to get my message across.

Oh dear, Gary’s getting “technical”.

First he argues that Darwin had no “hardcore empirical date”, by which I assume he means “hard empirical data”, to support his theory. Hogwash. Gary, go read The Origin of Species, and The Voyage of the Beagle. Marvel at the data, the fanatical collection and collation of data that inspired Darwin to make the greatest scientific discovery of all time. These arguments are unfortunately stock-standard among evolution deniers, as is the “evolution is only a theory” line that Ablett parrots in the next par.

But then things get interesting. Ablett’s rebuttal of evolution via a jar of peanut butter is a classic of the genre:

Yet our entire food industry relies on the fact that the evolutionary formula doesn’t work. For example, if you take a jar of peanut butter (matter), expose it to light and heat (energy) and add time you will never get new life (biogenesis) in that jar. And are we grateful about that! Why is new life impossible in a sealed jar? Because we are missing the most important aspect: information.

The very reason food is sealed is to keep information out, it’s only if and when the seal is broken that a contamination can occur because information has got inside the jar! We need to take this fact very seriously because in the food industry this experiment is conducted over a billion times a year collectively, and has been doing so for more than a hundred years, which proves that the absence of information renders life impossible.

This begs the question that since information is not inherent within matter itself, nor can it be derived from natural law, “where did it come from?”

So, let me get this straight: the fact that new single-celled organisms don’t spontaneously arise in a warm jar of peanut butter proves … what, the existence of a supreme being? And jars are sealed to “keep information out”?

I won’t go on. The rest of the article is similarly bizarre and I recommend it.

What I don’t understand is why the God-botherers are so threatened by evolution, why they can’t revise their theology to accept it (admittedly, many have). I don’t understand why the tendency towards belief in a creator-God correlates so strongly with an inability to understand simple scientific concepts like what a theory is, and what empiricism means. Maybe it’s a genetic thing.

Gary Ablett was a great footballer, and probably has some very intelligent and valuable things to say about the sport. But he should be embarrassed by the publication of this late-night rant, which just makes him look like a moron.

I attended the Atheism Congress that Ablett refers to in his article and I have a draft blog entry about it which I’ll get up soon.

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