Opening Argument for Evolution
- Budikka, 2/6/2000

The Creation Fallacy

"No, creation science is not testable scientifically."
- Harold Coffin, Loma Linda University

"If you want to define science as testable, predictable, I would say [that
creation science is not really science]"
- Ariel Roth, Loma Linda University

"No rational scientist would believe that the Earth is less than 1 million
years old."
- Chandra Wickramasinghe, mathematician

"There is no scientific evidence for special creation"
- Margaret Helder, botanist

The above quotes are from 1981 testimony in the evolution-creation trial of
Arkansas balanced treatment Act 590. Are they evolutionist quotes? No!
Every single one of the above quotes is from a committed creationist
testifying on behalf of the creationist cause! The quotes are reported in
"Evolution and the Myth of Creationism" by Tim Berra (Stanford University
Press, 1990).

Margaret Helder was then vice-president of the Creation Research Society, and
even she could not scientifically support creation! The assertion that
creationism is science is demonstrated to be the first fallacy of creation
by creationists' own testimony!

Creationism is the art of combining the world's most diverse collection of
fallacious reasoning, dishonesty, misquotation, smoke, and mirrors. This URL
shows how creationists deal with error:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/cre-error.html
See this URL for out-of-context quotes by creationists:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/ce/3/part11.html

Unlike evolution, which has one theory adhered to by the overwhelming
majority of scientists and teachers throughout the entire world, creationism
is the habit of a tiny minority (out of two billion Christians worldwide),
nearly all of whom are resident in the USA. Virtually none of the
creationists have degrees in any biological or paleontological science.
So-called credentials of leading creationists are revealed here:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/credentials.html

Henry Morris, founder of the modern movement, insists that if established
facts of science contradict the Christian Bible, then the facts are wrong!
He has so little trust in his fellow Christians that he forces them to sign
an oath before they can join his organization! Thus, creationism begins with
the dogma that the Bible is inerrant. Creationist faith is not in god, but
in the scientifically ignorant and anonymous scribes who wrote the Bible.

By placing their faith in the Bible rather than in god, creationists are
putting themselves in the impossible position of having to deny evolution by
means of the very book that has, by its own copying history, demonstrated
Darwin's descent with modification!

Morris' claim that the Bible is true in all its original autographs is the
second fallacy of creation. Unlike the Koran, which has only one original,
dating to within 15 years of the death of its prophet Mohammed, there are no
original autographs of the greatest book in Christendom! Bible stories were
passed down by word of mouth for generations. Many of these stories are
traceable to cultures which predate Bible times (the creation story comes
from the Sumerians, the flood story from the Babylonians). If scientists
tried to get by with such lousy evidence, they would be rightly laughed out
of school.

Anyone who has ever played the party game of whispering a phrase around the
room and seeing how the end result differs from the beginning must realise
that the Bible was already inaccurate before it was ever committed to scroll.
The oldest version of the Old Testament that we have in Hebrew is the
Leningrad Codex dating to 1008AD, over 1,000 years after the time of the
christ!

Hebrew was written in consonants only. It was assumed that you would
understand how to pronounce the word. Thus we cannot be sure if Elijah, in 1
Kings 17, was fed by ravens or by Arabs. The consonants for these two words
are the same, only the pronunciation differs. Realistically, which is more
likely? Do creationists really want us to base science on such doubts?
Psalms 119:160 insists: "Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one
of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever." yet Jeremiah 20:7 has the
prophet bewailing: "O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived...."

Examples of Biblical errancy:
1.
The last verse of 2 Chronicles (26:23) ends in mid sentence. The story
starts over in the next book and is completed Ezra 1:3. If an error of this
obvious magnitude has escaped correction, what does this say about important,
but less easily discernible errors? For example, the four gospels tell
differing stories. Not one was written by an eye witness, and the earliest
dates to a half century after the supposed events. An ex-pastor turned
atheist has defied anyone to combine the four gospels, include everything,
and have them make sense:
http://www.infidels.org/org/ffrf/lfif/
2.
Mark 4:31 claims that the mustard seed is the smallest seed of all. It is
not. The smallest are those produced by epiphytic orchids, of which it would
take over 28 million to weigh one ounce. This doesn't mean that whoever
wrote Mark's gospel was deliberately lying, but it does prove that he was
ignorant, and therefore hardly inspired by god. How can creationists pretend
that the many authors of Genesis were somehow less ignorant than the author
of Mark?
3.
In Matthew 12:27-28, Jesus tells his followers that people alive then will
still be alive when he returns. He amplifies this prophecy in Matthew 24:34,
Mark 9:1, Mark 13:30, Luke 9:27, and Luke 21:32. Obviously the prophecy was
false. The Jesus Seminar, an organization of Biblical scholars, has in
recent years published two books which insist that Jesus neither said nor did
the majority of things ascribed to him in the gospels. More about The Jesus
Seminar can be found at:
http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~religion/jseminar/jsem.html

Creationists claim they can scientifically disprove evolution, but this begs
the question: why are they not putting forward their arguments in the
scientific forum, instead of preaching them from the pulpit and web sites?
Why are they trying to get creation into school through the courtroom instead
of through science?

Since they do not attack evolution in the standard science literature, I am
forced to assume that they cannot do so. This is buttressed by the fact that
in order to argue, creationists are forced to caricature. Thus the third
fallacy of creation is that creationists have mounted a serious attack on
evolution. They have not. They have mounted a laughable attack on a cheap
caricature. It is this poor caricature of their own invention that they
attack, not evolution itself, and it is important to be aware of this fact
when reading their material. See this URL for more information:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html

The present web site is a prime example of creationist argument by
caricature. It announces" "Evolution, a Fairy Tale for Grownups," -
insisting that evolution is not science, yet it can only replace it with myth
and cartoon!

Science is not religion. There is no mythology, no god, no ritual, no
prayer, and nothing that must be taken on faith. Science and religion are
two different entities covering different spheres of interest. Except where
religion makes claims that are testable scientifically, science has nothing
to say about religion or about god. See these URLs for what evolution really
says:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-definition.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html

Science carries us all the way back to 10 to the minus 43 seconds after the
Big Bang. For further information see:
http://dir.yahoo.com/Science/Astronomy/Astrophysics/Universal_Origins/
If someone asks, "What came before?" scientists answer quite honestly, "We
don't know."

Creationists magically turn this ignorance into knowledge. They say, "We
don't know either, therefore we do know - Godidit!" Which of these two
positions is the more honest? Creationists to try to pretend that evolution
is an "atheistic religion." Not only is that a logical impossibility, it is
a lie. See these URLs for the majority Christian position on creationism:
http://www.enconnect.net/rjtolle/CreationismAndMainstreamChristianity.htm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/newsid_578000/578972.stm

Behind evolution and "Big Bang" cosmology are multiple, separate, but
complementary sciences. They are not one single science of "evolution" as
creationists misleadingly pretend. No science that I know of precludes a god
from having started it all, yet, based solely on their deep and abiding faith
in those ancient, ignorant scribes, creationists pretend that evolution is
somehow satanic and anti-god.

Because science is not equipped to answer questions of religion, creationists
have a very easy time. They can make the most outlandish claims about magic,
myth and miracle, and science cannot attack these claims. I, however, can
attack them and am fully prepared to debate the existence of god on the
internet, with anyone who cares to.

So what is it that creationists would have us believe? With complete faith
in those ignorant scribes, they require you to believe in an incompetent, a
malicious, or at least a short-sighted god. Creationists want you to believe
that there can exist an infinitely complex god who was never created, but
there cannot exist a relatively simple universe that was never directly
created. They want you to believe that this god is eternal. Eternity
necessarily extends as far into the past as it does into the future, and this
being so, how could this god have ever reached the time when he began to
create this universe? It is impossible.

Creationists insist that science prove and demonstrate every single step from
the Big Bang to the present, while they are quite comfortable taking a god on
pure faith alone! Is this logical? Creationists want you to accept on faith
that this god pulled everything out of nothing, but insist, contrary to what
evidence clearly shows, that this universe could never have arisen from a
singularity.

Creationists want you to accept on faith that the Earth is only 6,000 years
old. Or is it 10,000? Or five billion? Now we have run into the fourth
fallacy of creation - that there is one creation "science." While there is
only one Theory of Evolution, which maintains the consistent position of an
Earth approximately 4.5 billion years old, there are as many creation
theories as there are creationists. Which of these do they want to teach in
school? Which one of those three ages do they wish to subsistute for science?

Let's look in more detail at the arguments made by this "Evolution, a Fairy
Tale for Grownups" web site:

The cleaner fish:
This is actually the wrasse, and there are six hundred species. I believe
only five are in the cleaning business. Why did god create so many when one
would do? Did he lose track of time that day? Was he paid by the lot? This
web site is an example of how creationists muddy the water, because it does
not accurately describe wrasse activity. They primarily pick parasites from
other fish, not "food from their mouths."

It is dishonest to pretend that evolution cannot explain the wrasse behavior.
First of all, sharks do not eat every fish they come across. They have a
preferred diet, and if you are not on it, you don't get eaten unless you are
really unlucky. This is why the human death toll to sharks is so low - they
don't like the taste! An evolutionary scenario for shark-wrasse interaction
is simple: those sharks which allowed the cleaner fish to rid them of
parasites were not plagued by infection. They remained healthier for longer,
and reproduced more of their kind, who were similarly disposed to allow the
wrasse to clean them. Now how hard was that?

Notice how badly misnamed creationists are. They create nothing! They spend
all their time trying to destroy, clueless to the bottom line which is that,
even if they did disprove evolution, this does not prove their own case!
They are required to establish a case which can stand on its own two
scientific feet, and this they have failed to do! You know why? Because to
establish their case scientifically, they would have to use the very same
scientific methods that they are irrationally putting all their efforts into
discrediting! They cannot win!

How do creationists explain the wrasse?

Have you ever heard a creationist try to come up with an explanation as to
why god did something? No - their answer is always the same: "Godidit,
period." There can be no explanation! There is, therefore, no need for
science in the creationist world. Why do any science at all when all you
need do is pray for whatever you want (John 16:24)? What greater
disincentive to industry and curiosity could there be?

Scientists are always asking 'why?' and making many discoveries because of
it. Creationists never ask this question. The reason? We are supposed to
take creation on faith. Well let's try asking why. Why is it that in a
perfect creation, a cleaner fish was necessary to clean up parasites? Why
did god create parasites to begin with? These parasites have caused untold
misery for human and animal alike.

I can see creationists employing their standard argument from mythology,
claiming that humanity somehow "caused" parasites by disobeying god.
However, since there was no creation after that initial binge, god must have
pre-created parasites knowing we would sin. If he knew that, why did he go
ahead and create us, forcing us to go through this farce? He created humans
whom he knew would challenge his authority and then destroyed them in a
flood, only to fail with the one family he saved! He then had to impregnate
a betrothed young Jewess and crucify the resulting child! Does this sound
like science to you? Or does it sound more like Greek mythology? Can you
imagine a supreme being so completely outmaneuvered by an adversary he
created, in full knowledge of what would happen?

The fall-of-man cop-out does not explain why animals are plagued far more by
parasites than humans ever are. What did animals do to deserve this? Maybe
it amuses the hell out of god to see little fish putting their lives at risk,
because some of the cleaner fish do get eaten. This is what I mean when I
say that believing in creationism requires believing in a short-sighted ,
incompetent, or malicious god!

The giraffe:
Here (according to the creationists) we see another example of god's
incompetence! He couldn't, with all his wisdom and skill, create a universal
design to support circulation in all animals. He had to kludge together a
system in the giraffe of which a human engineer would be ashamed. Well, once
again creationists have it wrong, so allow me to save them from their own
folly.

Contrary to the claim on this web site, there is no special blood reservoir
in a giraffe's head. There is a network of blood vessels which, like ours,
is elastic, and can accommodate more or less blood. A giraffe's maximum
blood pressure is actually not that much more than ours, especially when you
consider that an adult giraffe weighs 20 times what an adult human does.

Ask a creationist why is it, if the giraffe is specially created, that its
neck has no more bones than other animals? Doesn't this suggest an adapted
neck rather than special creation? There are other long necked animals, such
as the camel (which helped give the giraffe its Latin name), and the okapi,
which looks for all the world like a transitional giraffe.

This web site asks how evolution could generate an animal with such a
disadvantage (as the giraffe is at when drinking), but this disadvantage is
the same whether the animal evolved or was created. Why is it that
creationists never ask why god didn't create shorter trees so the giraffe
never had this disadvantage to begin with?!

Creationists paradoxically argue that evolution must have some kind of end
plan for its devices, but they are confusing it with creation. The fact that
evolution does no planning is evident in living and fossil organisms the
world over, and nothing about evolution predicts that every species must
climb in an upward spiral of dramatic improvement! If there is no
environmental or mutational coercion towards change, there is no reason why
organisms should not remain largely the same. So-called living fossils do
not disprove evolution.

Evolution is basically two things: mutation (which in one sense is
chance-driven, but is also strictly controlled by the laws of chemistry) and
suitability to the environment. Evolution can as easily result in a
near-perfect adaptation as it can in a rather imperfect one, but it cannot go
back and change its mind. If an imperfect adaptation does the job, there is
no reason it the animal should suffer by it unless a better adapted organism
comes along, or the environment changes adversely. In a creation scenario,
however, there is no room for approximation and imperfection. There also
ought to be evidence of special design, not simply evidence of adaptation
from the same design all other creatures have.

Here is some information about giraffe circulatory systems:
http://compphys.bio.uci.edu/hicks/gravity.htm
http://www.chaffeezoo.org/zoo/animals/giraffeheart.html

I noticed the comment about PETA. Obviously they put more stock in the
Genesis injunction that god has given us every green herb for food than the
author of this web site does.

The Whale:
According to "At the Water's Edge" by Carl Zimmer (Simon & Shuster, 1999), in
1919, a female humpback whale was killed by whalers. It had a strange
appendage near its tail, which turned out to be a leg, including a femur, a
tibia, an ankle, and a foot. Evolutionists have no problem whatsoever
explaining this: whales are descended from land animals, and still have the
genes to produce their old limbs.

Creationists cannot for the life of themselves explain how such an appendage
could even begin to arise in a creature that was perfectly and specially
created with designer genes for a solely aquatic lifestyle by an infallible,
omniscient, omnipotent, perfectly competent god. Nor can they explain why it
is that god created aquatic mammals such as whales and then denied them
gills. If creation were true, then the only conclusion I could draw is that
god is not only obsessed with beetles, he just loves to see poor animals
struggle and suffer.

Typically, creationists, offer few or no references, so I can only guess that
the present web site's claim that whales descended from wolves refers to a
fossil called pakicetus. Once again, creationists caricature in order to
attack, since they cannot attack the hard science behind pakicetus. This
animal was not a wolf or anything like a modern wolf. It was, however, a
mammal, just as the whale is, and it was succeeded by ambulocetus, an animal
that apparently had traits of pakicetus and modern whales, yet led the
lifestyle of a crocodile. Sounds like a transitional form to me.

All the evidence is not yet in for whale evolution. Whale fossils are rare,
and genetic evidence shows links to animals like the hippo. This scenario
does seem realistic, given how many mammals alive today are in the position
of transitional forms: seals, sealions, walruses, and manatees. These
animals are mammals, and all but the latter are at a disadvantage both in and
out of the water. They have no great adaptations for a land existence, and
neither do they have gills! Where is the evidence of smart design here?
Creationists need to explain why a loving god would create animals with such
handicaps.

I am going to ask another difficult 'why' question. Why struggle to adapt
the wing of a bird into a flipper? Or was it the hand of a monkey? Maybe it
was the digging paw of a mole. Or was it the wing of a bat? A Horse's hoof?
All of these appendages have the same bones in the same relative places
(although the horse is missing a few), yet each and every one of these
appendages has a different function. If a human engineer suggested you use
an airplane wing for digging a hole, would you think him omniscient and wise,
or would you think him retarded? Yet creationists have to believe that their
god was no better than this.

For more on whale evolution, see:
http://anduin.otago.ac.nz:800/Geology/morefeat/whales.htm

Flight:
It is downright dishonest to pretend, as this web site does, that evidence
for the evolution of flight is non-existent or in disarray. It most
certainly is not, as even a casual reading of scientific literature will
demonstrate. The squirrel example was particularly poorly chosen since there
are indeed flying squirrels (these animals glide, but they are still
successfully airborne)! Because of the nature of evolution, transitional
fossils are not come by easily. The surprise is not that there are none, as
creationists dishonestly pretend, but that there is such a wealth of them.
See this site for an extensive (but by no means complete) list:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html

Flying animals are not well preserved because their bones tend to be very
fragile, yet there are many that are known which connect reptiles to birds.
The most famous of these is the Archaeopteryx, which, to the best of my
knowledge, preceded the first undisputed bird fossil by 10 million years.
Despite claims by creationists, Archaeopteryx was truly transitional - it had
many characteristics of reptiles which modern birds do not possess, and many
characteristics of birds, which modern reptiles do not possess.

One transitional reptile-bird find (Archaeoraptor) has been called into
question in the last couple of weeks. This was done by scientists, not by
creationists, proving that creationist claims that scientists are "all in on
it together" are nonsense. Science is constantly challenging itself to find
proof or disproof. Creationists never do this. They never dispute each
other, and never double-check their work. Even if Archaeoraptor turns out to
be inappropriate, there are many others. See:
http://www.zoomdinosaurs.com/subjects/dinosaurs/dinos/Caudipteryx.shtml
http://www.dinosauria.com/jdp/archie/protocaud.html

A short list: Caudipteryx, Confuciornis, Gobipteryx, Protarchaeopteryx and
Sinosauropteryx. There are also acknowledged dinosaurs which possess bird
characteristics: Compsognathus (found in the same deposits as Archaeopteryx),
Deinonychus, Ornitholestes, Ornithotarsus, and the whole family of
Coelurosaurs.

There are dinosaurs with inordinately long forelimbs, and dinosaurs that had
feathers. There are primitive birds which exhibit reptilian characteristics.
Fossil birds such as Hesperornis and Baptornis had teeth that modern birds
do not have, but do exhibit in the form of tooth buds in the embryo. There
can be no creation explanation for this. Modern birds have scales on their
legs and lay eggs, just like reptiles. Why did god create so many
evolutionary links for the apparent sole purpose of misleading scientists?
Isn't deception supposed to be the devil's work?

Hominid Evolution:
Nebraska Man was an error that was revealed not by creationists, but by
scientists. It is completely irrelevant to paleoanthropology, since it is no
longer an issue with anyone but the creationists!
Piltdown man was a deliberate fraud just like the creationist claims that
human footprints were found along with dinosaur prints in the Paluxy river in
Texas, USA. Unlike the Paluxy prints which were exposed not by creationists,
but by scientists, the Piltdown hoax was exposed by scientists, not by
creationists. Once again this gives the lie to the creationist claim that
evolutionists are in some sort of satanic consipracy. Clearly they are in
hot pursuit of the truth in complete conformity with 1 Thessalonians 5:21:
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" and are not, unlike
creationists such a Duane Gish, afraid to admit mistakes. See:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/icr-whoppers.html

I challenge creationists to state just what the problem is with Java Man (and
to get up to date with nomeclature), but first, they need to get up to date
with this URL:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/

Neanderthal is a very poor choice to challenge evolution, since there has
been a boom in discoveries lately. There is not one type of Neanderthal, as
creationists like to pretend, but many, including Homo antecessor, Homo
ergaster, Homo heidelbergensis, as well as the original, Homo
neanderthalensis. In other words, just as evolution predicts, there are many
transitional forms. Relatively recently, a young Neanderthal specimen has
been found that exhibits intermediate characteristics between the standard
Neanderthal and modern humans. The precise implications of this are
currently unclear.

Since there is no elaboration, I have no idea what the reference to
Ramapithecus means. Ramapithecus never was described as human. It was
thought to be on the path to humanity, but in light of new finds, my
understanding is that it is no longer certain that it was. There is
apparently some evidence, however, that it used tools.

We are referred to David Menton, another creationist who misrepresents
evolution when he says that evolutionists begin with the assumption that
humans evolved from apes. Treating assumption as fact is the creationist
method, not that of science. Science begins by looking at what actually is
there, and then trying to explain it. The modern era of natural science was
begun largely by Christian pastors pottering around the countryside on their
days off, not by atheist scientists with an axe to grind. The antiquity of
the Earth was established from the immensity of the geological record long
before Darwin published his theory. The sequence of the geological record
was established in part by the distinctive fossils contained in differing
rock strata. These fossils exhibit specific order, quite contrary to what we
would expect to find had they been created by a global flood.

The reason paleo-anthropologists make a distinction between modern apes and
human ancestors is to make it clear (especially to creationists who do not
seem to be able to grasp this simple fact) that no modern living organism
evolved from any other modern living organism. Modern organisms have common
ancestors in the past which were different. We all understand what we mean
by apes, but when we talk of ape ancestors, these were different species, not
"just like modern apes." Creationists need to get this straight.

It is unarguable that there are hominid forms in the fossil record that are
neither human nor ape, but something in between. Their bodies are
intermediate, their brain size is intermediate showing a progressive
enlargement from past to present. Here is a reference to a recent
transitional hominid find:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/et?ac=000647321007942&rtmo=fav03sMs&atmo=999999d9&p
g=/et/99/4/29/ecfnean29.html


Regardless of whether you think life is 3 billion years old or 6,000 years
old, these creatures undeniably existed. The Earth was covered with them,
and according to creationists, every one of them must have been contemporary
with our immediate human ancestors. You could not possibly have encountered
one of these creatures without remarking how human-like it was. My question
to creationists is: Why is there no mention of these intelligent apes in the
Bible or in any other historical literature? The so-called Holy Land has
thrown up many examples of these creatures, yet the Bible is utterly silent
about them. This is strongly suggestive that they predated the Bible, had
died out by Biblical times, and the Bible writers once again, were ignorant
of the facts.

Creationism's leading light-weight is Kent Hovind. Just like Henry Morris
and Duane Gish, Hovind cannot support his claims in an internet debate with
me, and therefore refuses to debate. I have examined his work closely and a
16-part document detailing over 300 creation lies is posted here:
http://www.geocities.com/SouthBeach/Pier/1766/religion/creationism/index.html

Frequently, sites supporting evolution in the debate with creationism will
offer references to creationist material, but I notice that the present site
offers none. This is typical of creationist sites. What is it that
creationists are afraid of? The truth? Many evolutionists who are more
scientifically competent than I am have posted devastating rebuttals of
creationist dogma. Here are some representative samples:
National Academy of Science:
http://bob.nap.edu/readingroom/books/creationism/
Lenny Flank:
http://users.deltanet.com/~fsteiger/lflank.htm
Dr. M. R. Leipzig:
http://www.holysmoke.org/skeptic-tank/factfaq.htm
Andrew MacRae:
http://www.geo.ucalgary.ca/~macrae/talk_origins.html
Dave Matson:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/matson-vs-hovind.html
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/dave_matson/young-earth/specific_argume
nts/

Jim Meritt:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-meritt.html
Frank Steiger:
http://members.home.net/fsteiger/creation.htm

Here is a refutation of Michael Behe's arguments:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/behe.html

Here is a refutation of Michael Denton's arguments:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/denton.html

Conclusion:
Creationism does not leave room for modern science, but modern science does
indeed leave room for a god creator, as instigator of the so-called Big Bang.
Which, then, of these two options, is the best choice for you?

Space permitting, in part 2, I shall further explore the present web site and
attack the global flood scenario.

Budikka

Williams Post #1:  Opening Argument for Creation

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