- Still working on the long point by point rebuttal. To provide some reading material, I’ve decided to do a quick rebuttal to the Answers In Genesis page on arguments that evolutionists should avoid. I’ll provide their comments on various arguments that some have used, ver batum. In the off chance that you don’t believe me, I’ll provide the link to the site where I’ve found their reasons. This one won’t be point by point, so this one won’t be nit picky or thorough.
Argument 1, Evolution is a fact
When our core beliefs are attacked, it’s often easy for humans to retreat to statements such as this: “My belief is a fact, and yours is wrong.” That’s exactly why we cannot trust mere human understanding to explain the unobservable past—emotion and pride get in the way. Evolution is not a fact, no matter how many times evolutionists say it is. It’s a framework built on assumptions about the past—assumptions that will never have direct, first-hand, observational proof.
“Evolution is not a fact, no matter how many times evolutionists say it is.”
- Unfortunately for the person who posted it, evolution, defined as the variation of allele frequencies within a population of a species (I mention that because they appear to not know what it means later on). The various mechanisms, such as natural selection, artificial selection, sexual selection, genetic drift, genetic isolation, speciation, etc, are well supported, with a few examples.
- Genetic Isolation among lizards in Croatia
- Artificial selection on plants
- Genetic drift
- Sexual selection
- Artificial Selection
“It’s a framework built on assumptions about the past-assumptions that will never have direct, first-hand, observational proof.”
- Unfortunately, there is first-hand, observational proof for the variation of allele frequencies within a population.
- I’m unconvinced that this one should quit being used.
Argument 2, Only the uneducated reject evolution
Besides the arrogance of such statements, this argument has no footing and should be cast off. Mainly, those who make this claim usually define “educated people” as those who accept evolution. Anyone who disagrees fails the test, no matter what their background (e.g., if we follow this ideology, Isaac Newton must have been uneducated). There are many lists of well-educated scholars who look to the Bible for answers (here’s one)—and we could point out Darwin’s own deficit of formal education (he earned a bachelor’s in theology). But the bigger issue is that education—or lack—does not guarantee the validity of a person’s position.
- Isaac Newton died in 1727. The publication of On the Origin of Species was in in the mid-1800s. Using Isaac Newton as an example is rather poor, since even the Lamarkian idea of evolution started to be spread during the early 1800s.
- If they wanted an example, it might be a good idea to use somebody who was around, at the very least, started studying after 1860, and studied biology, either zoology or botany, from a qualified source.
- Although, for a flaw with this argument, there are those who are well educated in regards to biology, but reject evolution on the basis of things such as a literal interpretation of religious texts, so they don’t reject it on an intellectual basis, or, like Behe, just don’t see how something could’ve originated (his main example is the flagellum), and even when shown how it could’ve originated by being presented features which match on several different points (such as the type III secretory system). If you want people who accept the theory of evolution, are well qualified to speak on the matter, and believe in the Bible, you’d look to the likes of Robert Bakker and Kenneth Miller.
- This argument, as presented, shouldn’t be used. What would be more accurate is that “Educated people, excluding those who hold a position based on unquestioning dogma, or wanting to have an answer no matter how little evidence there is for it (in response to the statement “I don’t know how that evolved.”), accept the theory of evolution as an explanation for the diversity of species, and the variation within each species.”
Argument 3, Overwhelming evidence in all fields of science supports evolution
The irony, of course, is that for centuries prior to Darwin’s publication of On the Origin of Species, the majority of scientists found the opposite to be true: the “evidence” supported creation. What changed? Not the evidence. Rather, the starting point changed (i.e., moving from the Bible, God’s Word, to humanism, man’s word). Creationists continue to see everything in light of God’s Word and all evidence as supporting the biblical account. In reality, there is no “neutral” starting point; everyone—whether they acknowledge it or not—interprets the “facts” according to a particular way of thinking (i.e., worldview).
- The starting point is irrelevant in science as it is the method and conclusion that matters. The only way that it can be argued that the starting point is irrelevant is due to biases, and they will be revealed in the method in the form of confirmation bias.
- The evidence did change though. For example, we started to learn about cells in the 1665. We learned about genetics, such as the structure through the work of Watson and Crick revealed in 1953, within the last little bit. About a decade or so, the Human Genome Project was completed. Those are only a few examples. To say that the evidence hasn’t changed, is to ignore the discoveries that have been made since then which contribute to our understanding of biology. If you are unwilling to acknowledge that, let’s try a different example.
evidence in all fields of science supports Heliocentrism
The irony, of course, is that for centuries prior to Copernicus’ publication of De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, the majority of scientists found the opposite to be true: the “evidence” supported geocentrism. What changed? Not the evidence. Rather, the starting point changed (i.e., moving from the Bible, God’s Word, to humanism, man’s word). Geocentrists continue to see everything in light of God’s Word and all evidence as supporting the biblical account. In reality, there is no “neutral” starting point; everyone—whether they acknowledge it or not—interprets the “facts” according to a particular way of thinking (i.e., worldview).
- And in regards to “no “neutral” starting point;” there is one. Unconvinced of either. Personally, I started out from the position of convinced of creationism. Now, on the basis of evidence and research, I’m not, and convinced of the opposite. Watch, if somebody in favor of AiG comments on this, they’ll do the No True Scotsman fallacy.
- I’m unconvinced that the argument that they use to counter the statement that an overwhelming amount of evidence in multiple fields supports evolution has any merit.
Argument 4, Doubting evolution is like doubting gravity
Why does this argument fail? We’ll show you. Take a pencil or pen. Hold it in the air. Then drop it to the floor. That’s gravity. Next, make a single-celled organism—like an amoeba—turn into a goat. Go ahead. We’ll wait. . . . No? As you can see, there’s a fundamental difference between operational science, which can be tested through repeatable experimentation, and historical science, which cannot.
- The reason that the argument is made is due to the fact that both are objectively verifiable through experiments.
- The criteria provided to demonstrate evolution (“Next, make a single-celled organism – like an amoeba – turn into a goat”) completely ignores the time and selective pressures required to produce a goat through evolution. But, if they want something going from a unicellular organism to a multicellular organism, it’s been done.
- I’m unconvinced that the argument against the statement “Doubting evolution is like doubting gravity” has any merit.
Argument 5, Doubting evolution is like believing the earth is flat
Ironically, the Bible describes the earth as round and hanging in space—long before this could have been directly observed (Job 26:10; Isaiah 40:22). The appeal of this claim is that it stereotypes creationists as stuck in the past, since the common assumption is that people once universally believed the earth was flat before science “proved” otherwise (which wasn’t the case—only a few bought into the idea that the earth was flat). But even if this were true (it’s not), direct, repeatable observation shows us the earth is round and orbiting the sun. Evolutionary stories about fossils are not direct observations; they’re assumption-based beliefs.
- Earth is an oblique spheroid, not a circle, as a few of the interpretations of the verses that they’ve ignored describe the earth as.
- Only a few interpretations of Job 26:10 and Isaiah 40:22 vaguely match the statements made.
- Unfortunately, to think that fossils constitutes all of the evidence in favor of evolution, is stuck in the past. If they think that’s the case, then through their own actions, they’ve supported something that they regard as a stereotype.
- I’m unconvinced by the argument that AiG has presented against “Doubting evolution is like believing that the Earth is flat.”
Argument 6, It’s here, so it must have evolved
A conclusion does not prove the premises are true. That is, if the answer is “four,” we could arrive at that any number of ways: 2 + 2, 5 – 1, etc. In the same way, evolutionists often assume that since certain species or traits exist, this is proof of evolution because that’s how it must have happened. This argument, however, is self-reflexive and useless. The Bible offers another (and more sound) framework for how those traits and species came to be.
- I’ve yet to see anybody use this reasoning to convince somebody of evolution.
- The bible doesn’t provide a sound framework for how the traits and species came to be. If somebody wishes to say that, then on what day were nylon-eating bacteria created? How were they created? What experiment or method of testing would be able to demonstrate that they were created? Now, I know that they’ll say something along the lines of “the living descendants of any of the original kinds (apart from man) may represent more than one species today, reflecting the genetic potential within the original kind.” (Section 2, Number 4). Then define kind in such a way that is meaningful, and isn’t better described by another term.
- The comments about argument six and argument eight provided by AiG are just about interchangeable in regards to multiple ways something could’ve come about (argument eight goes over “These observations have an alternate explanation”, and I address the point that they’ve made both here and in argument eight).
- I’m unconvinced by this reasoning, and I’d like to see if they’d acknowledge something.
- Bullshit argument for creationism 1: It’s here, so it must’ve been created. My counter argument:
- A conclusion does not prove the premises are true. That is, if the answer is “four,” we could arrive at that any number of ways: 2 + 2, 5 – 1, etc. In the same way, creationists often assume that since certain species or traits exist, this is proof of creation because that’s how it must have happened. This argument, however, is self-reflexive and useless.
- You see, when I reverse engineer the argument they provided so that it is against creationism, they are apt to see problems with it, or fail to see the problems, in which case, they demonstrate a lack of critical thinking.
Argument 7, Natural selection is evolution
This is likely the most abused argument on the list—and most in need of being scrapped. Often evolutionists bait people into showing them a change that is merely natural selection and then switch to say this proves molecules-to-man evolution. However, this is quite misleading. Natural selection, even according to evolutionists, does not have the power to generate anything “new.” The observable process can only act upon existing characteristics so that some members of a species are more likely to survive. In fact, it’s an important component of the biblical worldview.
- Natural Selection is one of the key mechanisms of evolution. If they think that evolutionists would equate a mechanism with the process, it seems like a straw man,, or at the very least, an appeal to ignorance.
- And who would say that natural selection proves abiogenesis (theory regarding the origin of life) as the comment “and then switch to say that this proves molecules-to-man evolution” would imply? Saying that evolutionists hold that position strikes me as an atrocious strawman argument, and at the very least, an appeal to ignorance, because the two are separate. You can disprove abiogenesis, with no impact on evolution, and vice versa.
- The reason that people who regard the theory of evolution as a valid explanation for the diversity of life don’t hold the belief that natural selection can produce anything new is that it isn’t the mechanism through which changes to the genotype occur.
- I’m unconvinced that argument seven is valid on account of misrepresentation by AiG, and unconvinced that the counter argument that is provided by AiG is valid.
Argument 8, Common design means common ancestry
Historical common descent is not and cannot be confirmed through observation. Rather, certain observations are explained by assumptions about the past. These observations, we might add, have alternative explanations. Common body plans (homology), for example, do not prove common descent—that’s an assumption. A common Designer fits the evidence just as well, if not better.
- Enough people have done refutations of the “Same genes, same designer” argument, which is what they try to propose towards the end.
- Statement about argument six and eight: Any observation might have any number of alternative explanations. For example, retrograde motion could also be explained by the planets not really having an orbit that goes in one direction all the time. The problem with that alternate explanation is that it lacks evidence, just like the biblical account of creationism.
- So because the criticisms of arguments six and eight are more or less the same, I’ll comment on both: I’m unconvinced by them.
Argument 9 Sedimentary layers show millions of years of geological activity
Sedimentary layers show one thing: sedimentary layers. In other words, we can—and should—study the rocks, but the claim that rocks prove the earth must be billions of years old ignores one important point: such an interpretation is built upon a stack of assumptions. When we start from the Bible and examine the rocks within the framework of a global Flood, the need for long ages vanishes.
- I can’t help but to think of that one poster: The stupid, it burns! It just sums up the entire counter argument so well, because they completely ignore why it is that the conclusion is sedimentary layers show millions of years of geological activity.
- Not to mention that they ignore the problems with the idea of a global flood. Can anybody produce one method of producing a global flood which also has evidence to support it, and wouldn’t also result in the death of everything on the planet?
- I’m unconvinced by their counter argument for number 9.
Argument 10, Mutations drive evolution
Perhaps because of movies and fiction, the popular idea is that mutations make evolution go. Given enough time, shifts in the genetic code will produce all the variety of plants and animals on earth—and beyond. The problem? Mutations cannot produce the types of changes evolution requires—not even close. Some may benefit an organism (e.g., beetles on a windy island losing wings), but virtually every time mutations come with a cost.
- Are they being serious about mutations being unable to “produce the types of changes evolution requires”? If they are, I’m curious if they are mistaking a mechanism of evolution (speciation) with evolution (the variation of inheritable traits within a population).
- “but virtually every time mutations come with a cost.” Most mutations are neutral, meaning that they have no effect on the organism. And even the beneficial mutations can be argued to have a cost, be it the need for higher nutrient intake, or, failing that, using the nutrients that would go somewhere else. So what makes a mutation beneficial? If members of a population of a species have a better chance of living long enough to produce offspring, in comparison to other members of the same population without the mutation, that is the basic criteria for establishing that it is a beneficial mutation.
Argument 11 The Scopes trial
Misconceptions about the Scopes trial run rampant. Often, accounts sound something like this: Fundamentalist Christian bigots arrested an innocent biology teacher fighting for scientific freedom, and while they won the court case, they ultimately lost the public perception battle to the well reasoned presentation of the defense. Thanks to the play Inherit the Wind, this common—though completely flawed—perception of the event continues to be used against creationists. But real history presents a much different account.
- Honestly, I can’t say that I’ve heard the Scopes trial used to support evolution, or criticize creationism. Perhaps as an example of how far people will go to prevent hearing their kids from hearing something because they disagree with it on religious grounds, which isn’t quite as relevant as recent bills that have been doing something similar, school boards advocating for equal time between creationism and evolution, using Intelligent Design to get around the various legal conclusions in regards to creationism taught in school, and other tactics.
- Just in case you want to see the movie they refer to, or read the transcript.
Argument 12 Science vs. religion
News stories thrive on conflict and intrigue, and one common meme presents science and religion as opposing forces—reason struggling to overcome draconian divine revelation. It grabs attention, but it’s bunk. Many atheists and humanists oppose biblical Christianity, but science does not. After all, the truth of a risen Savior and an inerrant Bible puts quite the damper on the belief that God cannot exist. However, science, as a tool for research, works quite well within (and, in fact, requires) a God-created universe. Otherwise, there’d be no reason to do science in the first place.
- Science is agnostic when it comes to the idea of a god, be it the one described in Judaism, the gods in the Hindu religion, or any other deity, so it doesn’t require one to have developed the universe. And if any supernatural entity, be it a god, spirit, or demon, existed, and was able to interact with the universe in such a way that we could objectively test or measure, then it would also be impossible to make accurate predictions on the basis of what we do know.
- The statement that “and an inerrant bible puts quite the damper on the belief that God cannot exist.” is really, REALLY, I used up all the capitals and happen to be regretting it because I can’t put more emphasis on it now, stupid. The sun stayed in place for a battle. If they wish to say that it is inerrant, then provide a mechanism for making Earth tidally locked for a short period of time, and cease once the battle is over, which would give the impression of the sun staying in one place. Then again, it isn’t surprising that they’d make such a statement, since they have admitted to ignore all evidence that contradicts their position (From Section 4: General, number 6, “By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.” While they do say why, they also ignore the fact that science is a self-correcting process. Should somebody, or a group of people, make a mistake, in procedure or interpretation, they are going to be corrected as a result of testing to improve our understanding.) Should any errors be pointed out, the history be presented from credible, well supported, and reliable sources, etc, they will reject it. Not because they can reject it after evaluating it, but because they hold a position which they will not reject.
- “Otherwise, there’d be no reason to do science in the first place.” Lets look at that carefully. It was through the use of science that we were able to eradicate smallpox. It was through the use of science that you are able to read this right now, as it is either on a screen or printed out. Because having knowledge, and being able to apply that knowledge to benefit our species and the world around us has use, without belief in god, it is possible to see why science is something that should be encouraged, regardless of if a deity exists or not.
- The available evidence contradicts a significant number of the claims made in the bible.
- I’m unconvinced by the counter argument to number twelve.
Why address these arguments?
Answers in Genesis wants to show the world that the creation-gospel message and the book that contains it are trustworthy from the first word to the last. We don’t try to hide that. Most of the attacks against the Bible and those who trust in it are based on flawed premises and faulty logic, which is why we point out the arguments above as just a sampling.
Beliefs about the past—and arguments against what God says—have real consequences. If we do demolish such strongholds, it’s because we want as many as possible to experience the fullness of God in Christ.
- So it is trustful when it says that “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good,” and as a result, we should ignore the likes of Bill Gates, secular humanists, and the like who do a lot of good? And if they wish to point out the likes of Pol Pot, Mao, and Stalin, I won’t get into why they did what they did, instead I’ll point out Isabella 1 of Castile, Torquemada, King James, a fairly significant number of the Germans who had been involved with the Nazi Party and the Holocaust, Nigerians who’ve been killing their children, and the recent Michael Pearl, who’s writings had influenced the death of a child on the basis of verses from books such as Proverbs. So what is a more accurate statement:
- people will do bad things regardless of what they think, or
- people will do bad things depending on what they think
So far, lets look at the number that were good arguments.
- Unconvinced by the counter argument
- Argument as presented wasn’t valid, slightly revised version presented
- Unconvinced by the counter argument
- Unconvinced by the counter argument
- Unconvinced by the counter argument
- Not an argument used for evolution, and the counter argument presented wasn’t that strong
- Based on a misunderstanding, and even then, the counter argument wasn’t really that strong.
- The basic idea behind six and eight is the same, and even, the counter arguments as presented aren’t that great.
- Just a pathetic counter argument.
- Unconvinced by the counter argument
- Rarely used, if ever, argument in favor of evolution. Also unconvincing counter argument.
- Not really relevant argument, but because AiG is more of a religious organization than a scientific one, they had to include it, and even then, their counter argument isn’t that strong.
Only one of those, number two, when given every point that could be made, was even close to an argument, and that one, if used to convince somebody of evolution, would be a logical fallacy, while as a comment about who it is that accepts the theory of evolution as an explanation, as it was originally presented, isn’t quite accurate. So as far as an page on twelve arguments to quit using, with counter arguments to each, with only one being arguable, it isn’t that successful. For a more thorough refutation of the page, see the rationalwiki article on it.
Now, most of that was to those who are convinced by the statements made. This, is to those who work as AiG. What you are doing, is counter productive to your cause. In order to maintain the ideas that you present, you need to heavily indoctrinate, and shelter the lives of the people that you present them to so that they never see the science that you attempt to critique at any point in their lives, because otherwise, they’ll see through your bullshit. Take it from one of those who saw the deception you’ve employed, and saw through it. It is from people such as us, christians and christian apostates who reject your claims, that you will, and have, seen the most vocal criticism.