One thing that often amuses me about arguments like this from the Creationist* side is the fact that the Creationists inevitably end up using shoddy logic to prove their point. I have long maintained that it would be much more logical for Creationists to simply ignore the evidence and state that they hold their position solely as a matter of faith rather than argue with the evolutionists on a scientific basis. By waging the battle on the "scientific turf," they open themselves up to arguments that simply do not work.
I had a good example of this in the YWN thread. A poster named Bogen came up with this gem:
Evolution is just a theory, not a fact. (And a false theory, at that.)
Past evidence for evolution has been overturned. In the past, major scientific revolutions have overturned theories that were at the time considered factual.
In the past there have been scientific hoaxes regarding evolution, such as the Piltdown Man forgery.
Pieces of "evidence" for evolution such as Ernst Haeckel's 19th-century embryo drawings, were not merely "scientific errors" but frauds; Biology textbooks have continued to reproduce such "evidence" long after it had been debunked.
Evolution is a pseudo-religion (evolution is based on faith, supporters of evolution revere Charles Darwin as a prophet, and supporters of evolution dogmatically reject alternative suggestions out-of-hand.)
Evolution is "unfalsifiable" (there is no tests that could be made that would demonstrate that the statement is false). Any "fact" can be "fitted" into the evolutionary framework. Past events of speciation are not observable and repeatable, and therefore evolution is not falsifiable. In 1976, Popper himself said that "Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory but a metaphysical research programme".
I don't mean to pick on Bogen personally here. These arguments are typical of the ones that you find in the less-educated corner of the Creationist camp. And every one of these arguments utterly fails when it comes to disproving evolution (which was Bogen's goal):
- The fact that he mentions that evolution is "only a theory" shows that he does not understand just what a scientific theory is. Gravity, too, is a theory.
- The fact that " major scientific revolutions have overturned theories that were at the time considered factual," hardly proves that evolution is false. After all, at one time we had theories as to how diseases were transmitted. Now,we have the germ theory. The fact that an older theory was overturned does not invalidate the germ theory. Likewise, the fact that older evolutionary models were overturned does not invalidate newer models.
- The fact that frauds such as Piltdown Man and Haeckel's embryo drawings were perpetrated does not invalidate evolutionary theory. Fraud has existed in all branches of science at one time or another. The fact that the frauds were eventually discovered and discredited is a point *in favor* of the scientific method.
- The claims that evolution is a pseudo-religion, that Darwin is revered as a "prophet," that evolutionists dogmatically support *anything* (isn't that against the very idea of the scientific method?) and that evolution is unfalsifiable and has never been observed are simply false. A simple Google serach or common sense will show them to be outright false.
Interestingly enough, I don't have a problem with a faith based argument, regardless of whether or not I can show it to be false. For example, a cornerstone of the Christian faith is the resurrection of Jesus. Now, I personally wasn't present and can't state for certain whether it happened or not. I don't have a problem with a Christian who maintains that it happened -- after all, I have no argument to counter it and say that it didn't happen. I don't even have a problem with a faith based argument that is counter to scientific evidence. For example, someone can maintain that the universe is only 5769 years old and that God rigged the evidence to make the world look older. Now, I personally don't agree with that statement, but if that's what you want to believe, then go ahead.
Shoddy logic, or outright false claims, on the other hand, is something that I feel the need to address. In other words, when Creationists claim that evolution didn't happen because they maintain it as an article of faith, then I won't argue. I may consider you wrong, but not foolish. On the other hand, when they use bad logic and false statements, then they are wrong, and possibly foolish or malicious.
Related Post: Exactly Whom Is Doing The Arguing?
Also, check out The Rebbetzin's Husband's post regarding Creationist arguments.
* When I say "Creationist" in this post, I'm specifically referring to the Young Earth Creationists who maintain that evolution did not/does not happen. I fully recognize that one can believe in both Creation by a Divine Power and evolution at the same time.
NB: I don't mean to be attacking Bogen here "behind his back." However, past experience has shown that whenever I link to (or even refer to) my blog, the YWN editor does not put up the post. So there really is no effective way for me to alert him to this post. If someone has a way of getting the message to him, I'd appreciate it.