A minor one, but still instructive for its illustration of how some (many?) people think, stunning ignorance and breathtaking stupidity. Mark Holmberg is apparently an investigative reporter and commentator for WTVR, Channel 6, the CBS affiliate in Richmond, Virginia. Holmberg qualifies for an entry because of his stunningly idiotic piece “Theory of evolution should be challenged – scientifically”. How stupid is it? Well, here’s the framing: “Why does the apple fall from the tree to the ground? The 325 year old law of gravity explains it. In science, a law is a theory that has been proven, without a shadow of a doubt.” That stupid. And just in case: No, that’s not the relationship between a scientific theory and a law, and you have to be audaciously ignorant of science to think it is. But you can probably predict the reasoning trainwreck that is going to follow from Holmberg’s framing. Oh, yes: “A century and a half after Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution, it remains a theory. It hasn’t been proven.” And it follows with: “Even Darwin himself, 155 years ago, wondered why there are no transitional fossils – missing links – between not only man and ape but between dog and cats, fish and amphibian. In fact, all the animals alive today can be found in the most distant fossil records [trilobites and rabbits, all cuddling up together], although many have slowly changed over time to adapt to changing environments. But nothing showing one species turning into another.” In other words, Holmberg has apparently been perusing creationist literature and failed to even understand the positions those creationist authors arrived at by misunderstanding evolution.
And for the final flourish: “Me, I have a bachelor of science in biology, and have a lifelong fascination with this study of life. I am constantly amazed at the absolute certainty of peole [sic] who, armed with maybe one high school biology class, believe so completely and passionatey [sic] in the theory that man evolved from apes.” We haven’t double-checked his claims, but Holmberg may have grounds for claiming a refund; of course, given that this is Virginia, perhaps the institution that gave him his “education” was a particularly glitzy and expensive diploma mill.
Holmberg wrote the piece in support of one of the creationism bills submitted by Virginia House Delegate Richard Bell. The problem Holmberg, uh, identifies is of course that “this theory of evolution is considered a law by many. It’s often taught in schools as a law. It is widely believed as a law. Typically, anyone who doesn’t believe it is branded as a religious kook or an idiot.” Indeed.
Diagnosis: Religious kook and idiot. Minor figure, but his facepalm-inducing powers are impressive.