By Jack Chick
Critique by Punkerslut
While writing for The Dogma e-zine, I did an article that criticized approximately ten of mister Chick's tracts. It was entitled, "Those Krazy Kreationists 4: Jack Chick." In this new critique of Chick's tract, I debunk his evidences and reasoning more thoroughly than I have previously. The one problem I really have with this tract is that it is just that: a tract. If Jack Chick desired to prove Evolution false, then he shoud have done it in a scientific publication, not in a comic book. (Of course, this may be used to target a specific, uneducated audience. To make ignorant fools believe rather than to make scientists laugh.) Also, in the footenotes, Jack Chick states that he got help with this publication from Kent Hovind.
Update: February 23, 2007
For a good time now, I have been researching and publishing collected findings of my study into the theory and evidence of Evolution. While this critique provides an insightful glance into the functioning of a Fundamentalist's prejudices and bigotry, I would have to suggest "Evolution: Origins of Life," to those who would like to thoroughly examine this science.
The beginning of this tract is riddled with prejudice and stereotyping. It begins with a college professor teaching a biology class. On the wall, you'll see a painting of a monky with the words inscribed below, "Our Father." I've yet to find such a painting on the wall of any biology teacher's class. Those of us who do believe in Evolution because of the evidence presented to us do not consider monkeys to be some mystic sort of creature. We consider it to be a close relative of humans. In this regard, we do not hold it to be "Our Father" at all. We only see it as a scientific observation, that we evolved from similar genetic structures as primates. After the opening scene with the professor, he asks a classroom how many of them believe in Evolution. Everyone raised their hands and shouted, "We do sir!" He then asked if anyone disagreed. One lone person in the back raised their hand. The response of the professor is something a bigoted and hateful Creationist would assume. "You can GET OUT of MY class!! After you've apologized to everyone for your rudeness and ignorance, we MIGHT let you back in!" was the response of the biology professor to the student. By portraying biology professors as hate mongers, as Jack Chick does, he attempts to overthrow respect in the belief of Evolution. It's not by logic or reasoning here. It is simply by using propraganda and these cruel character distortions. The biology professor continues, stating that he will systematically tear the beliefs of the Creationist to shreds in front of the entire class.
When asked what makes him think Evolution is untrue, the Creationist responds that he gets his beliefs from the Bible. Right away, the Evolution professor responds by threatening to jail the Creationist because he believes it is illegal to mention the word Bible in school. He also calls him a fanatic. Furthermore, in the footenote, it states that it has never been against the law to teach the Bible in public schools, and then suggest that individuals see the Public School Presentation video from Christian Science Evangelism (run by Kent Hovind). It is not at all illegal to teach ABOUT the Bible, however, to teach that the Bible is truth is in fact unconstitional and illegal (as numerous court cases have proven). Of course, what is the resource for the claim of Chick? Another unstable foundation set up by yet another unstable Christian Fundamentalist. Soon enough, the professor says that science proves Evolution, which is perhaps one of the most ignorant statements I have ever heard. Since Evolution is a science based on evidence and observation, to declare that science proves science is rather ridiculous. Science does not prove science any more than astrology proves astrology. Though this is what Jack Chick thinks a professor would say in defense of Evolution, I still find it to be largely unbelievable. The Creationist student goes on to point out the "six basic concepts of evolution..."
Unfortunately, to disappoint all the inquisitive Creationists, these things do not make up Evolution at all. Some of them constitute Evolution, but most of them appear to be evidenced theories on the origins of life and the Universe. This is also something I would like to note on. When this particular Creationist author is fully unaware of what Evolution specifically is, to what degree can they be found to be reasonable or logical in their claims? I would find it highly unlikely that if someone does not know what Evolution is that they are capable of debunking it.
Now, to understand these six concepts... Micro-Evolution has been witnessed -- later, the student will claim that it is the "only one observed." Macro-evolution is simply micro-evolution on a long-term scale. Although this has not been observed, there is certainly thousands of pieces of evidence to support this theory. The dinosaurs are a perfect example, as modern birds hold DNA that would reflect the ancient lizards. Of course, there is a problem with this comparison between dinosaurs and modern birds -- many Fundamentalist Creationists will be quick to deny the theory that dinosaurs are extinct. They will cite numerous examples, even drawing from the claims of drug-induced teenagers. The numerous fossils all around the world that indicate that there were different life forms, as well as the similarity between ancient organisms and modern organisms, all can be accounted as evidence that there was some form of Macro-evolution. Macro-evolution, as I stated earlier, is simply Micro-evolution in a long term degree.
The next concept is Organic Evolution. Firstly, please draw your attention to how Kent Hovind and Jack Chick explained Organic Evolution: "life from rocks." Although this actually is the truth concerning the matter, it was actually dressed up to look less probable. Organic Evolution can properly be defined as organic material appearing from inorganic material. In 1952, Stanley L. Miller and Harold C. Urey, working at the University of Chicago, conducted experiments that offered worth to the theory of Organic Evolution. To quote Professor Fred L. Wilson at the Rochester Institute of Technology...
There is ample evidence to support Organic Evolution. The next concept that Jack Chick and Kent Hovind present to us is the Evolution of stars and planets from gas. This is a common phenomenon. Space dust collects, forming nebulas, which in turn form stars, which in turn collapse and possibly form black holes. There's an innumerable amount of encyclopedias, websites, books, magazines, etc., which have pictures of this actually occuring. The idea that this has not been observed is ludicrous. The second concept of Evolution (at least within the realms of the minds of Hovind and Chick) is that of Chemical Evolution. It is described as the change of atoms to other atoms. An atom consists of a nucleus and electrons, and protons and neutrons in the nucleus. The protons and neutrons are what defines the nature of the atoms. (One proton and one neutron is a Hydrogen atom; two protons and two neutrons is a Helium atom; etc., etc..) The occurence of the combining of these nuclei is called Fusion: the process by which atoms are fused together, combining their protons and combining their neutrons. This occurs within the center of stars, when hydrogen atoms are combined together to form higher elements that have a higher complexity. Upon the death of the star, it explodes releasing all of the elements to the surrounding area -- thus forming planets, comets, natural satelites, etc., etc.. Fission is the opposite of Fusion -- Fission is the seperation of protons and neutrons in a nucleus. Through these two observed phenomenon - Fission and Fusion - it is not difficult to see that Hovind and Chick are wrong in their assertions that "Chemical Evolution" has not been observed.
The final concept of Evolution, as described by the authors of this tract, is that of Cosmological Evolution, or the Big Bang Theory. There is a plethora of evidences are reflective of what the Big Bang Theory declares. The amount of time suspected between now and the Big Bang is under debate, but most can agree from evidences that it was at least ten billion years ago (and, at most, seventeen billion years ago). The Red Shift, which can be described as a shift towards the red in the light spectrum, is one evidence for the Big Bang Theory. The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation is radiant heat left over from what is believed to be the Big Bang. There are these various evidences for the Big Bang Theory yet Chick and Hovind fail to address any of them. As to the six concepts of Evolution as described by the professor in this tract (which only two of them can accurately be described as Evolution as described by Charles Darwin and other leading biologists), most of them have evidence for them. They are rather theories on the origin of the Universe and some of them are not even theories but hard proven facts. The student in this tract then goes on to say that those "concepts of Evolution" are believed by faith, and the audience says, "He's got a point there!"
After inaccurately describing Evolution, this tract makes itself appear even more ridiculous by flagrantly making sure that any educated person who reads it finds it hilarious. The biology professor shows a picture of a Neanderthall skullcap and then he shows a picture of Lucy, "Lucky, the oldest known ancestor of humans, is 2.9 million years old." The Creationist retorts by saying that most experts agree that Lucky was only an unusual chimpanzee and not a missing link. However, the very nature of a "missing link" escapes the minds of the authors of this tract. A missing link would be exactly that: "an unusual chimpanzee." What the Creationist would have a difficult time explaining is why a chimpanzee would be unusual in the first place. The key word is mutation. There are some religious sects which even deny the existence of the Germ Theory -- they believe that when a person gets sick, it is because of spirits. Evolution, holding an explanation to how mutations come about and how they often lead to new species, is denied by the person who refers to a specimen as "an unusual chimpanzee," (thus infering a mutated chimpanzee). The Creationist student goes on to state that Richard Leakey found a modern skull dated 212 million years ago (early dinosaur times), however, that was the first attempt of dating the age of the skull. When scientists removed sedimentary rocks that showed signs of weather or alteration, to procure an accurate date of the skull, it showed to be only 2.6 million years old. Even if it was true that the skull was 212 million years old, what good is this finding to a Creationist who believes that the Universe is only 6,000 years old? That is the condition of these Creationist authors: utilize scientific facts that agree with your case, but throw out all science when it comes to examining your own scientific theory. Upon telling the biology professor of this so-called 212 million year old, normal, human skull, the professor retorts, "WILL YOU SIT DOWN!"
Next, the two argue about the methodology when it comes to determining the age of fossils. The professor states that certain fossils have been proven to be millions of years old due to how far within the earth they are found. The student responds by saying that it is circular reasoning: to deduct that fossils are millions of years old, because the come from deep within the earth from layers believed to be millions of years old (which, in turn, are known to be millions of years old because of the fossils they contain). Keep in mind, the dialogue of both the Creationist and the Evolution professor was written by a Creationist. Scientists understand that the layers of the earth are millions of years old because, as time passes, new layers of the Earth develop. This is known, however, from the nature of the layers of the Earth. From studying the layers of the Earth and uncovering types of stones, fossils, dirt, etc., etc., scientists can deduct that these types of findings are reflective of different weather patterns and a much different time. The argument that the Creationist conjures up to battle the theory that the Earth is millions of years old (which he embraced moments prior simply because it would make it difficult to prove Evolution), the argument against the theory that the world is millions of years old is that trees are often found going through different layers of the Earth make the trees having existed for millions of years. It is true that there are trees going through millions of years of soil, however, these are petrified trees and I find it difficult to prove the assertion that their existence debunks the theory that the world is millions of years old.
The biology professor next states that human embryos have gill slits in them proving man evolved thorugh the fish stage millions of years ago. The Creationist retorts by claiming that Earnst Haeckel made up the drawings that convinced everyone that embryos have gill slits. The biology professor thinks, "I hate him!" and the crowd responds, "Wow! Wrong for 125 and still in our book!" It's odd that a Creationist would think that college students were this gullible. The Creationist claims that the "folds of skin" (which appear to look like gill slits, which seconds ago he said were entirely made up) grow into bones in the ear and glands in the throoat. There is a resource to back up this claim and it is the co-author's other publication (which can be purchased for a meager $17.95). There are a few errors with the claims of the Creationist (1) If these two authors wish to disprove a scientific theory which has been accepted for over a century, it is best that they do it in a scientific publication, and not in a comic book. (2) It is commonly accepted that these gill slits change before the mammal is born -- whether or not they grow into bones in the ear and glands in the throat does not take away from the fact that they are gill slits at all. (3) It is commonly accepted among all biologists and life scientists that all mammals have gill slits while in gestation.
In the next scene, the professor thinks, "(Gulp) He's destroying me!" (In comic books, the cartoonist is allowed to make any of the characters think as he wishes them to.) The professor then goes on to say that Vestigial organs like the human bone prove we evolved from animals with tails. There is a footenote attached to the word "Vestigial" that states "a shrunken part of the body that is no longer used." Dictionaries around the world will disagree with this claim. A vestigial organ is actually simply a rudimentary organ which serves no purpose -- not necessarily a shrunken part of the body. It is amazing how unfamiliar the authors of this comic book are with Evolution. They are unfamiliar with the term "vestigial" -- this should set up red flags for anyone who is scientifically minded. The Creationist responds by saying, "there are nine muscels that attach to the tail bone......it is not 'vestigial!'" The fact that muscles are attached to a vestigial organ do not mean that the organ is any less vestigial. There are abdominal muscles keeping the appendix in place -- yet this appendix is about as vestigial and useless as numerous other organs. In fact, during surgery, surgeons often take out the appendix just in case it later gets infected -- because the appendix simply serves no purpose. My point, however, is that the muscles attached to the human tail bone do not mean that the human tail bone is not vestigial. In fact, the muscles there also serve no purpose, as they are attached to a vestigial organ, and they themselves are also vestigial to an extent (they protect a vestigial organ).
The professor then points to a picture of a whale and a whale pelvis bone, claiming that the pelvis bone is vestigial. The Creationist offers the objection that whales need the pelvis bone to have sex. Without the pelvis bone, argues the Creationist, whales would be unable to reproduce. The evidence the Creationist offers is that the vestigial pelvis -- or the reasoning, rather -- is that the pelvis serves as anchor points for muscels during reproducing. Firsty, it is good to note that this pelvis is not attached to the main skeleton of the whale; it is simply within the flesh of the whale. Since it is not attached to the main skeleton, it cannot serve as an anchor point at all. If, however, it actually did serve some reproductive purpose, the design of the pelvis is completely inadequate for that purpose. The Creationist student goes on to state, "Even if there were 'vestigial' organs, isn't losing something the opposite of evolution?" Again, Hovind and Chick go to such lengths to disprove vestigial organs yet the relevance of vestigial organs to the Evolution theory is beyond them. They do not understand how vestigial organs prove Evolution -- again, this failure to understand Evolution should set up red flags for those who are scientifically minded. These two authors want to debunk a theory which they are not even familiar with! The relevance of vestigial organs is that they prove that there was once a time when we benefited from the usage of these organs. It is believed that although the appendix is useless to humans now, that it may have served as a digestive organ to our ancestors. The fact that a whale has a vestigial appendix is ample evidence that it may have once been a land-walking organism.
Finally, the Creationist student delves into something which both authors are absolutely ignorant of: the Atomic theory. The student asks the professor, "what is the binding force of the atom?" What ensues is not even comprehensible. The professor responds that it's gluons and thinks, "Gotchya!" What I fail to understand as a reader is that, even if he answered correctly, how would he believe that this proves Evolution? In fact, what the student says has absolutely nothing to do with Evolution. The Creationist's reply is amusing. "Wrong sir!" (As though he may have agreed with him for once!) The student states that no one has seen or even measured them. This is highly amusing, as the word "gluon" is also used for the device that mediates strong interaction among quarks. (Source: WordNet 1.6, 1997 Princeton University.) The student said, "Gluons are a made-up dream. No one has seen or even measured them... they don't exist. It's a desperate theory to explain away truth! We know that the electrons of the atom whirl around the nucleus billions of times every millionth of a second......and that the nucleus of the atom consists of particles called neutrons and protons. Neutrons have no electrical charge and are therefore neutral -- BUT -- Protons have positive charges. One law of electricity is: LIKE CHARGES REPEL EACH OTHER! Since all the protons of the nucleus are positively charged, they should repel each other and scatter into space." What the student is obviously so ignorant is that electrons are the negative charge which are attracted to the protons. This is a fundamental fact of physics. The student then asks, "If gluons aren't the answer... what is?" The professor, looked flushed and exhausted, responds, "I don't know." Student says, "I'm sorry sir, but I can't hear you." Professor responds, "I said -- I don't know. You tell me!"
The student asks if he can go the Bible and is met with an emphatic, "YES, YES, YES!!" The students declares, "It says that Christ, the Creator, 'is before all things and by him all things consist (are held together). Colossians 1:17 Also it says, 'All things were made by him (Christ); and without him was not anything made that was made.' John 1:3" The answer that the student provides is absurd to the unmeasurable proportions. He declares that Jesus Christ is the binding force which holds atoms together. This is amusing, considering that the world had no problems before the Biblical Jesus was born -- even if the world is only 6,000 years old, atoms were popping every millisecond for the first 4,000 years prior to Christ's birth. It is absolutely absurd!
"They'll understand why I'm quitting. They're intelligent, logical, compassionate scholars. Everything will be alright!! [all right*]" says the professor as he takes down his picture of an ape with the slogan "Our Father" on it. "I'll simply tell them I can't teach it any longer!" To the dean and professors of the college (I presume), he says, "I'm sorry gentlemen, but I can no longer teach evolution. It can't possibly be true!" Their response is typical (for a Chick tract), "WHAT? Are you crazy? GET OUT of OUR university! After you've apologized to everyone for your rudeness and ignorance we MIGHT let you back in!" Obviously, this is not what would actually happen in a university. This is the attempt of Chick and Hovind to make Evolution and its professors appear to be cruel and merciless humans. I think, however, that it is rather reflective of how Chick and Hovind think of those who believe in Evolution. I do not know what kind of evidence it would take to prove their theory wrong about how Evolution believers are vindictive -- but there is no credible evidence that Evolution professors are harsh as portrayed in this comic book. If the authors of this tract think that Evolution advocates are cruel and heartless, perhaps that is the way they authors simply act towards the Evolution advocates: cruelly and heartlessly. (Which this tract is ample evidence for their emotions!)
The Creationist student then fills in the other students about how they will die in their sins and be eternally lost unless they repent and surrender their lives to Christ, acknowledging that he died for their sins. One student responds, "Then we didn't evolve! The system has been feeding us THE BIG LIE! We really do have a soul!" This last comment is hilarious. No where in any significant Evolution publication have I read that Evolution denies the existence of the soul. It is proposterous for Chick and Hovind to publish this, what can be described as hate-literature. It is not even scientifically sound. It is full of holes and errors, and written in a comic book fashion. In no way is this tract even slightly scientific.