Because I Hate Bad Arguments…

Written by Emma on February 18th, 2009

People are often very invested in creationism*. For most, it is a moral imperative – the Bible says it is so, and if that part of the Bible is wrong, then what’s stopping the whole thing from being wrong? Or, it’s a matter of fear – not wanting to dare tread on the toes of the insitution they’ve been raised in. A minority don’t believe evolution because they’re ignorant of science.

For me, the most frustrating thing about most creationist arguments is that they’re just plain untrue. Half of them betray a complete misunderstanding of the Theory of Evolution. The rest of them betray a complete lack of a science education or basic research. Or they’re off-topic. One that continually drives me bat-shit-insane is “Vestigal organs, like humans losing their tail, are proof that evolution is false, because evolution is about advancing and gaining function, not losing it!”

If you don’t understand why this argument is wrong, then the rest of this post is probably too advanced for you. You should spend the time reading basic evolutionary theory instead, then come back.

What most creationists don’t realise (I assume…) is that the claims they gather so eagerly off the internet (seriously?) are so very untrue. Very few sites cite sources; fewer sites cite scientific research as sources. Creationists, I can again only assume, seem to think that these ideas they’re spreading around are completely new and untested. Perhaps believing that scientists wouldn’t deign to look into matters like religion, or more likely, that scientists are too scared to test these ideas in case they were proven correct! (*Gasp*) But, as so often, creationists are wrong again. While perhaps few of the arguments have been directly tested, science itself is advanced enough that most of these crazy new ideas are disproven quite easily.

Unfortunately (but understandably), in order to come up with reasons why these creationist arguments are false usually requires at least a decent understand of biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and argumentative fallacies and at most a good poke around in the scientific literature. Otherwise, you’re unlikely to even know where to start looking, never mind where to find the answer.

Luckily, these days we have the Internet. And these days we have someone intelligent enough to realise that only having scientists and professors, scattered over many fields, well-enough equipt to refute and give proof that these arguments are false is not a good enough defense against hoards of list-waving people screaming out reasons why evolution can’t exist that they don’t even understand, never mind came up with. At least, not a good enough defense if the common person can’t access a scientist or professor for the truth when confronted with these reasons. And these days, we’re lucky enough to have someone kind enough to spend the time to make a website of happy!!!

I present: Index to Creationist Claims

This website is a compiled list of pretty much every creationist argument ever made, and perhaps every personal question you’ve ever pondered about evolution. And every argument has a refutement – and every refutement has citations! Hooray! It has answers to the simpler arguments we’ve all probably come across, like:

  • Some systems are too complex to be explained by evolution [answer]
  • The second law of thermodynamics prohibits evolution [answer]
  • Ockham’s Razor says’s the simplest explanation is prefferable, and creationism is simpler [answer]
  • The eye cannot have evolved gradually – that means at some point there would have been ‘half an eye’ and that would be useless! [answer]

And the more complicated ones**:

  • Does chirality make the chance of simple chemicals/structures forming too small? [answer]
  • If DNA is replicated by proteins, but proteins are formed by DNA, how could one form without the other already being present? [answer]

So go, browse around. Have a look for yourself. There is no real science behind creationism. It’s the sad truth. If you want to disreguard science, that’s your personal choice, but please understand there’s no more reason for doing so than your own personal convictions. And please understand that your own personal convictions do not make science into a ‘pick and choose’ buffet line – evolution is proven far well enough to be taught everywhere, just like all the other hard sciences, so whether it’s controversial or not, we must include it, or degrade our own scientific system.

To quote:

“Evolution matters because science matters, and too many people (including some presidents) are willing to believe that science is something you can pick and choose from, with “good” science being anything that supports your own views and “bad” science being anything that doesn’t. …Too many people can’t accept that although scientists are not perfect, and do make mistakes (sometimes whoppers), science isn’t something you can pick through like a buffet, accepting only what is to your “taste” and designating the rest inedible. If people feel free to reject the science of evolution, they feel free to reject any science on no better grounds ” [source]

* For the purpose of this post, I’m clumping ‘creationism’ and ‘intelligent design’ together, because if you strip away the BS and politics, they are the same thing. Yes, really. To quote from the site referenced above, “A solution to a problem must address the parameters of the problem, or it is just irrelevant hand waving. Any theory about design must somehow address the agent and purpose, or it is not really about design.” [link] So you can argue your heart out that intelligent design isn’t about God, but it’s pretty obviously some kind of deism. I chose to use ‘creationism’ because it’s shorter.

** These arguments actually deal with the origin of life, which can be argued seperately from evolution. (Yes! It can! I could believe God threw a bunch of one-celled bacteria into the ocean and then it evolved into everything we have today.)

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