Rebuttal #1 for Evolution
- Budikka, 2/27/2000
The Creation Fallacy - Part 2
Note: to save space, the following key is used:
MO = My Opponent
ToE = The Theory of Evolution
TBC = The Big Creation
Muhammad Ali was a formidable boxer, but you know something? He never
beat an opponent by dancing around the ring, shadow boxing and ranting.
MO could use a page out of Ali's book. He says, "a theory that explains
everything explains nothing." I invite him to tell this to physicists
searching for a Grand Unified Theory! He fails to see that it is TBC which
claims to explain everything, not ToE.
The test of good science is not whether it answers everything, but whether
it answers more now than it did 10, 50, 100 years ago. By this measure,
TBC fails. It offers nothing new, whereas ToE has bloomed, seeing many
predictions come true and finding evolutionary links in genetics and paleoanthropology
unknown in Darwin's time.
I thank MO for proving my charges of creationist smoke and mirrors. He
has the nerve to issue two challenges to me yet he has properly answered
none of mine. I will deal with his, but first, I challenge MO to produce
documented evidence that valid scientific papers submitted by creationists
are deliberately kept out of scientific literature, or admit this claim
is a shameful invention. I would be willing to bet that far more non-creationists
are refused publication in peer-reviewed journals than ever are creationists.
How would MO explain this?
I ask MO to prove his claim that 39 out of 40 births have deleterious
mutations. If this were truly the case, there would be no species left
but bacteria. Humanity could not have survived even if created in 4,000BC.
MO references material concerning Haldane's so-called dilemma in talk.origins
(after chiding me for referencing them), yet fails to refer you to rebuttal
I challenge MO to explain how a perfect creator can make human 95% of
DNA junk. If Ford offered a car, 95% of which was worthless junk, would
you consider it the work of a superlative engineer, or an incompetent
blunderer? On the other hand, if you bought a used car, and found all
kinds of ad hoc gizmos aimed at hotrodding it, is it more likely that
this was created at the factory, or that it evolved to its present form
by means of additions here and there by previous owners? Our DNA is no
It is sad that MO has a web site attacking ToE when he quite clearly
has not grasped what it is. Evolution is nothing more than a change in
allele frequency in a population. This, coupled with environmental conditions
lead to all the manifestations that we see, from minor variation to macro-evolution.
If MO disagrees, it is incumbent upon him to supply evidence supportive
of his disagreement, not just chant tired creationist mantras.
Creationists know that ToE is a fact. That's why they have to carve it
into sections, defining each section differently in order to be able to
deny those parts that they do not like. Thus they can allow that evolution
happens (small scale variation), but they cannot allow that evolution
happens (large scale variation). Can you say, "Hypocrisy"?
For two years on the internet I have challenged creationists to answer
only two questions, but they remain unanswered. I now challenge MO:
1. What is the scientific definition of "kind" quoted in Genesis?
2. What is the biological or genetic mechanism which can permit huge
"variation" within a "kind" yet stop dead magically
at the "kind" barrier, preventing one "kind" from
evolving into another "kind"?
If he cannot answer these, he needs to admit that he has no arguument
If you see a change in allele frequency, you observe evolution. If you
get a new strain of flu, you observe evolution. If you find a steadily
changing fossil population, with transitional forms, you observe evolution.
If you sample the genes of various organisms and find a pattern of relatedness,
you observe evolution.
There can be no relatedness if every "kind" is "magicked"
out of nothing. The fossil record ought to provide far more specimens
than it does and in much better condition if they were buried in a flood
only 4,000 years ago, and the organisms ought to be completely mixed.
None of this is the case. This alone disproves the creationist case.
I challenge MO to explain how it is that there is not a single flowering
plant in the fossil record below the Cretaceous period.
I challenge MO to explain how it is that not one single hominid managed
to get mixed in with the dinosaurs.
I challenge MO to show me where his creationist scenario accounts for
five separate, major extinctions which the fossil record shows in aquatic
life, and nine separate land plant extinctions which do not match up with
the other five. (See "The Evolutionary Biology of Plants" by
Karl J. Niklas, University of Chicago Press, 1997).
Creationists accuse others of ad hominem attacks, but all creationists
do is ad hominem ad neauseam. Look at MO's virulent attacks on me and
on the talk.origins web site. I quote: "Its ironic that Buddika immediately
resorts to this in the beginning of his post, since his very opening argument
is laced with misquotes"
I challenge MO to highlight every single misquote in my opening statement.
I lined up three quotes. As an afterthought, I added one from Wickramasinghe.
Unfortunately I didn't address this in that subsequent paragraph. Mea
culpa. I admit it - Wickramasinghe is not a committed creationist. Slap
Anyone of reason and restraint would have brought this to my attention
and then moved on, but MO cannot afford to do this! You know why? Because
he is desperately putting up mirrors and wafting smoke in your face to
distract you from the undeniable fact that the other 3 quotes, exactly
as I stated, are committed creationists who admit that creation is not
science. A vice president of the Creation Research Society: "There
is no scientific evidence for special creation"
I challenge him to show precisely where "Budikka twists the words
of the creationists he quotes." The issue here is not what creationists
think about ToE (duh!). The issue is that they testified under an oath
to god himself that creation is not science.
Unlike TBC, ToE has only one basic theory. It is logically organised
and scientifically valid, based not on a mythical book, but on direct
observation of the real world. Scientists are actively trying to prove
or disprove aspects of it. TBC offers no parallel. I challenge MO, if
he disagrees, to outline exactly what TBC theory is.
Darwin predicted that there should be a fossil record showing simple
organisms changing over time, related by common threads. This is precisely
what has been found. Darwin suggested that a primitive chemical soup was
the birthplace of life. Lab experiments have confirmed this possibility.
Cosmology predicted that evidence of the Big Bang should show in the
form of quite uniform background radiation across all of space. Lo and
behold, there it is, confirmed by the COBE satellite.
ToE predicted intermediate species between humans and ape-like ancestors.
In 1859, there was precisely one hominid fossil. Now there are scores
of them of all shapes and sizes. Creationists could argue, back in the
1860's, that there were no transitional forms. They cannot honestly argue
MO chides me for attacking creationists, yet all I did was refer to a
URL that examines their credentials. Does he champion those who are dishonest
about their qualifications? Does he advocate the word of someone who literally
bought their PhD from a house in Colorado over that of someone who spent
8 or 10 years working for one in an accredited university? He can be gullible
if he wishes, but the truth is much more important to me. It is not enough
to read the message. One must also evaluate the messenger.
Talking of the message, imagine this conversation:
E: I have a book that proves evolution beyond all doubt.
C: Where is the book?
E: Well actually it isn't so much a book as a collection of essays written
by a bunch of people over a period of years.
C: Who wrote it?
E: I don't really know who the authors were.
C: Can I look at the original manuscripts to see if we can verify their
E: Sorry, I don't have any of the original manuscripts.
C: You only have a copy?
C: How can you trust that it reflects the original?
E: Oh, I just know it does!
C: How are the authors qualified to assert these things?
E: I have no idea, but they swear they are telling the truth!
C: So we go on nothing but the say-so of anonymous people and don't even
have the original work?
E: Do you have a problem with that?
Now imagine that the book under discussion is the Bible and the one holding
it is a creationist and read that conversation again.
MO chides me for attacking the Bible, yet if I suddenly insisted that
all ToE text books were above criticism, because they were divine, would
he accept that? Of course not. If MO thinks the Bible is sacred, it is
up to him to prove it. If he thinks there is a god, it is up to him to
prove it. I am not obliged to accept it without proof.
I engaged all MO's material, but now he claims the bulk of it (the 50K
of Bible evidences directly accessible on his site) is actually a different
site and cannot be a part of TBC-ToE debate! No matter. I have demonstrated
what a flawed work the Bible is and MO has failed to rebut my arguments,
so I shall take this as a concession and move on.
MO accuses me of "hand-waving" to distract you, yet it is he
who utterly avoids dealing with damning indictments of Biblical reliability
by waving his hands in the direction of other scriptures! If and when
MO uses stories from other faiths, let him be assured I shall attack those,
More smoke and mirrors: MO accuses me of leaving a word out in my mention
of The Jesus Seminar. I left nothing out. The word "liberal"
which he adds is not an omission of mine, but a sad indictment of his
appalling bias. His vitriol makes me wonder what happened to the Biblical
injunctions to love they neighbor and turn the other cheek. Obviously
that seed fell on stoney ground.
Unlike the creationists, I give URLs so you can conveniently judge for
yourself. MO does not trust you to do this. He wants to make your mind
up for you, which is why his site offers no opposing URLs (unlike the
talk-origins site which offers many). Who, I ask, is the more open-minded
here? Clearly MO is interested only in material which supports his preconceived
notions. "The Jesus Seminar and Its Critics" by Robert J. Miller
(Polebridge Press, 1999) which will adequately refute MO's bizarre and
If a scientific search for the truth led us to god, what could be a greater
testimony to his glory? TBC would deny that opportunity by walling us
in with their obsolete dogma. I guess they never read the Bible text that
urges scientific endeavor: "Seek and ye shall find, knock and it
shall be opened unto you." Remember what happened to Gallileo? It
was not science which arrested his search for the truth, but the church.
Creationists chant tired arguments like Nebraska and Piltdown. These
were scientific errors, discovered by science, admitted by science, and
corrected by science. If scientists were an elite club, shoring up a faith
as creationists claim, such errors would never be exposed, rest assured.
Let's face it - if creationists had truly found real flaws in ToE, would
they be relentlessly harping on the same ancient nonsense from which science
has long ago moved on?
Creationists forget that their dogma had its day and ended up in the
doghouse because it was all bark and no bite. There was a time when they
did rule, when their beliefs were what was taught in school. If it were
the truth, what happened to it? Why did their god let it be thrown out
in favor of science?
If MO came up with a list of 300 talk-origins lies, as I did a list of
300 TBC lies, then I could understand his vitriol, but he has not. In
his response, he consistently fails to engage the points I make in favor
of character assassination, sleight of hand, smoke and mirrors. I challenge
him (or any creationist) to answer the 300 lies here.
I further challenge him to document the lies he pretends are in the talk-origins
archive. If he cannot do so, then you can judge his behavior for yourselves.
MO made two specific challenges. Let's look at the one I didn't cover
"...Invertebrate fossils constitute 95% of the entire fossil record...These
complex life forms appear in the fossil record, WITHOUT A SINGLE TRACE
This is as far from the truth as it gets. The so-called explosion of
life in the Cambrian was 500-600 million years ago. The Precambrian occupies
90% of Earth's history, and traces of life (including fossils) are found
in it back to 3.8 billion years ago. Thus there is no sudden appearance
and no lack of ancestors.
Since he quite obviously cannot answer the detailed FAQs at the talk
origins web site, which list a multitude of examples of transitional forms
in the vertebrate record, MO dismisses this evidence with a vitriolic
attack, then basically turns around and says, "Okay, so you can prove
vertebrate evolution, but I'll bet you can't prove it for invertebrates!"
(see what I mean about asking for every step?)
I invite MO to post his question about supposed missing invertebrate
transitionals in the talk.origins news group, where the regulars will
be happy to supply him with the answers he seeks.
Next I list these books:
"Understanding Evolution" by E. Peter Volpe (Wm. C. Brown,
1984) which, in Chapter 17, details snail evolution, supporting both Darwinian
descent with modification and Eldredge and Gould's punctuated equilibrium
within the same fossil bed!
"Evolution and escalation" by G. J. Vermeij (Princeton University
Press, 1987) which not only addresses invertebrate transitions, but the
even bigger gaps in MO's knowledge base.
"Evolution" by Mark Ridley (Blackwell Science, 1996)
"The Fossil Book : A Record of Prehistoric Life" by Rich, Rich,
Fenton, & Fenton (Dover Publications, 1997)
"Wonderful Life" by Stephen Gould (WW Norton, 1989)
"History of Life" by Richard Cowen (Blackwell Scientific Publications,
"Vital Dust" by Nobel Laureate Christian de Duve (Basic Books,
1995) outlines pathways from what creationists love to call "inanimate
matter" to cellular life.
"Eight Little Piggies" by Stephen Gould (WW Norton, 1993).
An article called "Wheels and Wedges" recounts direct evidence
of snail evolution in response to more predatory crabs in the fossil record,
which Darwin himself drew our attention to.
Finally there is a university
course called "The Evolution of invertebrate phyla"! What
does MO suppose they fill this course with if there is no evidence?
Note that if there is even one transitional form in the fossil record,
regardless of where it appears, this disproves the creationist claim that
there are no transitional forms, but I can do better than this: I can
show documented speciation in modern invertebrates:
"In 1964, Dr. D.J. Reish removed 5 or 6 polychaetes (Nereis acuminata)
from Los Angeles/Long Beach harbor, and grew his sample to a size of thousands.
In 1986, four pairs from this group were brought to Woods Hole Oceanographic
Institution; the population at Woods Hole thus had gone through two bottlenecks,
which are supposed to help drive ToE through genetic drift. In 1977-1978,
two new cultures of N. acuminata were gathered from nearby Long Beach
and Newport Beach, and grown under the same conditions as the Woods Hole
sample. The three populations were later crossed, and it was found that
the only crosses that would not produce viable offspring were the crosses
involving Woods Hole and the two new cultures. This signifies nothing
less than speciation, and all in the laboratory - all observed directly."
I challenge MO to demonstrate how it is possible, in a perfect genetic
code designed by a supreme being, for there to be any room for mutation
Now let's look at some more of his shadow boxing:
"Life boils down to two possibilities"
Not true. It boils down to what the evidence demonstrates. You can add
magic if you want, but it isn't science. Once you include magic, anything
is possible: perhaps a god other than the one of the Bible created us.
Perhaps we were created by a magic gnome. How is MO going to argue against
these? Perhaps we were created, but by alien space travelers. Precisely
the same creationist "evidence" supports all these alternatives.
"The Greatest Evidence for Creation is that the universe is suited
Wrong. MO seeks to draw overwhelming conclusions from a sample of one!
We have no wide experience of solar systems, nor of other universes. Given
this lack of evidence, we could be commonplace or a freakish exception.
All creationist claims that the universe was designed for us are purely
wishful thinking and nothing else.
Have you noticed how all the information creationists incompetently use
to buttress their case has been discovered not by creationists, but by
scientists? This science would be completely banned if the creationists
ever came into positions of power.
"It looks designed, therefore it was designed"
How can creationists make such a lousy, tautologus argument? And they
have the nerve to claim ToE has paradoxes?!
They claim, for example, that if we see a pillar holding up a roof, this
proves intelligent design. The fact is that the only reason we know a
pillar was designed to hold up a roof is because we have experience with
such pillars. We have no like experience with universes.
There are pillars that appear to hold up roofs which most certainly have
not been designed, such as joined stalactites and stalagmites in caves,
pillared arches in wind-swept rock formations, and sea-carved arches on
coast lines. No one in their right mind would argue that these were designed
by an intelligence, because we know they formed naturally. Yet this is
precisely what the creationists are arguing! They have a sample of one,
and no means by which to determine how a naturally occurring universe
would look as compared with an intelligently designed universe, yet they
arrogantly and confidently claim this universe has to be designed - why?
Because it makes logical sense? No! Because they have proof? No!
The reason is because they want it to be that way, and there is no other
reason they can offer. The fact is that we could never have evolved to
our present level and begun to wonder about the universe if this had been
a universe which would not support us. This does not prove that a creator
designed this universe. All it proves is that we could never have evolved
to our present level and begun to wonder about the universe if this had
been a universe which would not support us! I'll take down design in my
"The Fossil Record shows sudden appearance of fully formed organisms,
followed by stasis."
Wrong! It shows the most primitive organisms at the start, becoming more
and more complex and diverse over time. It shows five major extinction
events and many minor ones. It shows distinctive organisms living at different
periods in our history - so distinctive that geologic eras are distinguished
by them. Certain types of fossils are routinely found together, others
are never found together. I challenge MO to explain this in a flood scenario.
"Unifying Biological Patterns indicate a sole Designer."
Wrong! They indicate descent from a common ancestor. Special creation
of individual kinds ought to show no unifying patterns whatsoever. To
claim otherwise is to claim an unimaginative, inept, and incompetent designer.
" Budikka invokes argument from authority when he states that most
scientists believe in evolution"
If MO could grasp my points it would help. What I said was that creationists
are a tiny minority out of 2 billion Christians worldwide. This was not
to make any argument from authority, but to establish that the publicity
the creationists receive is entirely out of proportion to their numbers.
If they are right, why isn't the whole Christian community backing them?
Does my opponent accuse two billion Christians of being atheists and communists?
It is MO who lines up lists of scientists, arguing from authority! I
checked his list. The historical scientists are irrelevant because they
did not have the facts to make an informed judgement. MO offers no information
about who the others are or where they obtained their credentials, but
if I add together everyone in MO's very own list whose name is followed
by "bio" or "paleo" I get less than 30%. I rest my
"The sheer complexity of every living organism cries out designą"
Wrong. Design is refuted by Robert Pennock ("Tower of Babel"
MIT Press, 1999). Pennock is not an atheist but a theist!
"Amino acids are all left-handed, nucleotides are all right-handed.
Yet when synthesized outside the body or found in nonliving matter, they
are mixed in equal proportions"
A creationist admitting that the building blocks of life are found commonly?!
He needs to read Discover Magazine Vol. 20 No. 5 - May 1999, and Scientific
American for July 1999, or visit:
I quote: "Since his first report in 1993, John R. Cronin of Arizona
State University has demonstrated a slight surplus of left-handedness
in several amino acids extracted from two different meteorites."
Left-handed building blocks of life are coming in on meteorites!
The fact that there are so few chemicals in the basic makeup of all living
things (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur), the
fact that we all share the same basic 20 (nearly all) left-handed amino
acids, and the fact that our DNA is made from precisely the same few nucleotides
is not evidence of special creation (unless the creator was very dull
witted). It is clear evidence of common descent.
"One remarkable consequence of [the violation of mirror symmetry
by the weak force] is the fact that the energy levels of molecules and
that of their mirror images are not exactly equal. The effect is extremely
small: the difference in energy levels between one particular amino acid
and its mirror image is roughly one part in 1 times 10 to the 17th power.
This may seem very tiny, but...symmetry breaking requires only a very
tiny disturbance. In general, lower-energy forms of molecules should be
favored in nature. For this amino acid, it can be calculated that with
98% probability the lower energy form will become dominant within a period
of about a hundred thousand years. And indeed, the version of this amino
acid which is found in living organisms is the lower-energy one."
"Information requires an information giver. No one has ever been
able to demonstrate how complex information can come about by natural
I invite everyone to visit:
to learn how the principles of ToE are overwhelmingly demonstrated in
a computer environment called "Tierra." Evolution, mutation
and speciation occurred entirely outside the control of either humans
or the computer. In other words, undirected processes can lead to new
"Evolutionists say that the...eye evolved...40 separate times!"
How does this demonstrate the competence of a creator if he could not
make one all-purpose eye? How does it demonstrate that we are special
when our eyes are not as sharp as those of birds of prey, cannot see in
the dark as well as those of a dog, cannot see parts of the electromagnetic
spectrum that an insect can see, and are less well designed than those
of a squid?
"Webster's lists one definition of religion as..."
So what? Did MO look up the definition of science? Of course not! All
he wants to do is preserve his blind beliefs.
"Budikka then attempts to bolster his claim that evolution is not
faith by immediately redefining evolution to include observable changes!"
Does MO read what he writes? Are we to define empirical sciences so as
to exclude empiricism just to make him happy? MO is so far from understanding
ToE that it is fraudulent to pretend he can debate it.
And the two billion Christians who are not raving fundamentalists? Are
they atheists, too? I challenge my opponent to demonstrate precisely how
science is atheistic.
"...that something came from nothing, and that is a logical impossibility."
If MO understood anything at all about quantum mechanics, he would know
that it happens literally all the time.
"It also defies the laws of thermodynamics."
I challenge you to prove your argument or withdraw it.
"...evolution has not maintained a consistent age of 4.5 billion
years. Seems like ever 20 years or so another couple million or billion
get added on"
I challenge MO to document his claim or admit it is an invention. I also
challenge him to reconcile the three creationist timelines addressed previously.
Is it 6K, 10K, or 4.5 billion years that TBC claims?
"...cleaner fish feeds upon leftovers and parasites"
"and parasites" Thank you. You conveniently leave out that
crucial fact in your story. Now I challenge you again to answer my question:
Why did god create parasites that prey overwhelmingly on innocent animals,
and humans resident in countries least able to fight them off?
"Budikka then gives his just-so story: 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
MO's claim was that ToE is stumped to explain wrasse behavior. I just
explained it. Answer this: are animals without parasites more healthy
or less healthy than those with them? Do healthy animals pass on their
genes more ably or less ably than unhealthy animals?
"Budikka's story also failed to address how the cleaner fish's bravery
Here he is asking for one more step after he has flat-out denied that
creationists want every single step demonstrated. Let me demonstrate this
step. Maybe he'll feel guilty and actually answer one or two of my challenges
First of all, you cannot isolate one organism and expect the whole ToE
to hinge around it as creationists repeatedly do. Please try to follow
every single step: ToE is mutation and...adaptation. The environment keeps...changing.
Organisms...change in step with it.
It has obviously never occurred to MO that the wrasse-shark relationship
did not begin out of the blue with his own just-so story of "The
Brave Little Wrasse and the Mean, Mean Ol' Shark." To pretend that
fish have a concept of bravery is dumb.
Let me spell it out: there will be no meat particles in a shark's mouth
unless it has just eaten. If an animal has just eaten - no matter how
great a predator it is, it will not kill again until it is hungry. Only
humans and gods kill wantonly - as the Old Testament demonstrates.
"The point is, there are many, many other examples of symbiosis
The point is that you have utterly failed to explain why god created
parasites such that he had to invent symbiosis to take care of them. Explain
it now, please.
While you are at it, also explain why he created viruses, harmful bacteria,
predators that have terrorised humankind even within Biblical times, poisonous
plants, and animals that are envenomed outrageously beyond their need
to survive. I'm waiting.
"What about the Nile crocodile that allows a certain type of bird
(the Egyptian plover) to walk right in and clean its mouth?
Does my opponent understand the term: 'extrapolate'?
"Budikka also enlightens us on why there are not many shark chomping
incidents on humans - because we don't taste very good!"
That's about the size of it. See: Discover Magazine Vol. 20 No. 6 - June
1999 for documentation. Unlike MO, I do not make wild claims which I cannot
substantiate. Here is a direct quote from this article, (locatable at
probably why most humans who are bitten are seldom killed," says
Klimley. "A human has too much muscle and not enough fat for a great
MO does not need to apologize, but he does need to realize that it does
not do his case any good when he shows himself to be so arrogant and narrow-minded
that he will not listen to opposing arguments and dismisses documented
evidence out of hand.
This FAQ refutes the design argument (I will make a more substantial
attack in my next essay):
While I await my opponent's answers to my challenges, here is some further
"Creationism's Upside-Down Pyramid" by Lee Tiffin (Prometheus
"Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism" by Philip Kitcher
(MIT Press, 1982)
"The Emergence of Whales" Edited by J. G. M. Thewissen (Plenum
(MO has failed to explain why it is that whales and snakes have hips
if they were specially created).
Williams Post #2:
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