Monday, December 27, 2010

Feedback: Evolutionists vs. Creationists and the same old arguments

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Creationism parody
Pictured: Typical Creationist
[full size (400×400)]

Readers of this blog who have stuck around since close to its very inception might remember one early post from September of ’09 where I took a detailed look at an article from Telegraph that listed the top five arguments for and against Evolutionary Theory and Creationism. As expected, the arguments in defense of Creationism were piss-poor, filled with illogic and falsehoods, but even the arguments in favor of Evolution weren’t all that great, either (though at least they didn’t make my brain bleed).

I shared my thoughts regarding each argument and left it there, and since that time, that post has gotten a steady trickle of traffic until it finally received its first comment by “kk” earlier today. Sadly, it’s an incongruous melange of distorted thinking that comes from someone who claims to believe in evolution, and yet seems to possess a very fractured idea of what evolution actually is and does, all the while spouting the sort of garbled faith-talk and “testing is unreliable” nonsense that would make any old Creationist proud:

What evolutionists fail to understand is the concept of FAITH.[1] I agree that Creationists should not use the "WHY?" question when debating Creationism vs. Evolution. Evolutionists do not care about the WHY.[2] I believe that yes, the universe was created by GOD - AND I believe that evolution has certainly happened within species (not across species)[3]. Carbon dating and other methods of dating can't be totally reliable unless these methods were available for the past billion years.[4] Remember, people thought the world was flat not too long ago. It's impossible to say that we have all the answers today.[5] Every day there are new technologies and ways of finding the truth.

  • 1) First of all, “evolutionists” have an adequate grasp of what “FAITH” is, as much as (if not often better than) anyone else. This comes with the territory, seeing as how they’re confronted with people who think that pointing at a tulip or a mountain and proclaiming “God did it (because I can’t imagine how it could have been otherwise)!” while spouting various bits of scientifically illiterate gibberish comprise a good argument on a daily basis. Faith isn’t exactly hard to understand: It literally means believing in something despite there being absolutely no credible reason to believe in it. Not only is this the textbook definition of ‘delusion’, but religion actually encourages its adherents to be as loud and proud about it as they want to be, thus essentially telling people to be happy about being stupid. Frankly, I don’t see the appeal in that.

  • 2) Second, it’s not that “evolutionists” don’t care about the “WHY”. It’s that it simply doesn’t matter. There’s nothing in Evolutionary Theory, or in any part of the natural world and the processes that form it, that call upon any sense of purpose or reason. Things don’t happen because they were meant to or because fate made it so; they happen because something made it happen, as per the law of causality. “Why” may be fine for philosophy, but it is inappropriate and inaccurate in scientific thinking.

  • 3) Now, what this is supposed to mean is beyond my humble comprehension. Evolution is a process that affects all life on Earth, working in animal populations and gradually mutating (ie. changing) them over very long periods of time and guided by mechanisms such as natural selection (amongst others). Interspecies breeding is not evolution, and what’s more, isn’t even physiologically possible. (The few species who can successfully interbreed (such as some canines and equines) produce infertile offspring that are incapable of further spreading their own genes, thus making them evolutionary dead ends.)

  • 4) Contrary to what deniers like to claim, carbon dating is reliable, at least up to several tens of thousands of years into the past, which is already more than needed to disprove both Young- and Old-Earth Creationism, which range from 6,000 years to about 11,000, respectively. In addition, it is only one tool in scientists’ arsenal, and cross-examining its results with various other types of testing consistently produces matching results across various fields of scientific study. The stupid old “we can’t know what happened unless we were there to see it” canard is just that – tired and endlessly debunked. Please stop using it.

  • 5) This point would be extremely pertinent if only any scientist had ever claimed to have all the answers. Or even most of them. As comedian Dara O’Brien put it: “Science knows it doesn’t know everything; otherwise, it would stop.