In my last post I touched on three lines of evidence for evolution. It’s barely an introduction, but I hope it will give some creationists a starting point. In this post I’m going to respond to a few creationist objections and explain why creationism isn’t a science.
What about all the scientists who deny evolution?
First of all, are they biologists? This is important. You wouldn’t go to a physicist with questions about zoology, and you wouldn’t go to a zoologist with questions about physics. Yet creationists continuously quote scientists working in fields completely unrelated to evolution. The Discovery Institute has a list of over 900 scientists who don’t accept evolution. Notice that about half of these scientists are in fields that have nothing to do with evolution. And they still couldn’t even get 1000 signatures! (Project Steve, on the other hand, has over 1300.)
So let’s change the question to this: “What about all the biologists who deny evolution?” Well, what about all the biologists who accept evolution? There are thousands of them! The percentage of biologists rejecting evolution is so small it’s insignificant. In fact, there is a larger percentage of historians that deny the holocaust than there are of biologists who deny evolution. That should tell you something.
I’ve heard it said that biologists are “indoctrinated” with evolution in college. But if that’s true, wouldn’t you think more than just a fraction of a percent would eventually realize the truth? If there is no good evidence for evolution, how is it that over 99% of evolutionary biologists can study the evidence for decades and continue to believe it’s true?
I’ve also heard it said that biologists would lose their jobs and/or funding if they spoke out against evolution. But now we’re getting into conspiracy territory. To accept this argument, you have to believe that evolution is the biggest hoax in history and that it is being perpetuated by evil “powers that be” who control all the universities. Where is the evidence for this?
Besides, if evolution were a lie, there would also be many atheists who deny evolution. Instead, the overwhelming majority of creationists seem to have religious motivations.
There’s a Difference Between Observational and Historical Science
No there isn’t. According to Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, “observational science” is observed in the present and “historical science” is inferred about the past. In reality, there is no distinction. Science is science, and scientists can make inferences about the past based on what they observe in the present.
Creationists invented this distinction so they could dismiss any scientific claims about events in the past. They say the best evidence for what happened in the past is eyewitness accounts. And since god was there when he created the universe, he is a reliable eyewitness of creation. To sum up: They know god created the universe because god said he did, and they know god said this because someone wrote it down in a book over two thousand years ago. And they call that science.
Ken Ham likes to quip, “Were you there?” But if we can’t know anything about the past without having reliable eyewitnesses who were there, imagine all the murderers we would have to release from prison! Fortunately it doesn’t work that way. By looking at the evidence, we can learn all sorts of things about the past without a single eyewitness. Pluto is a great example.
Pluto was discovered just over 80 years ago, yet cosmologists say Pluto has been orbiting the sun every 248 years. How can they know this if they’ve only been observing it for 80 years? It’s simple. They use its speed and distance from the sun to calculate the length of its orbit. They use observations in the present to make inferences about the past. In the same way, scientists can observe the fossil record, genetic evidence, biogeography, and other lines of evidence to make inferences about how the many creatures of the world came to be. We don’t have to recreate three billion years of evolution in the laboratory to know it happened.
Evolutionists Reject the Possibility of the Supernatural
It’s not that they reject the supernatural, it’s that there’s no way to verify its existence. Answers in Genesis says secular scientists are biased because they rely on naturalism and materialism. But that’s because they have no choice! Science can only study things that are a part of nature, things that are measurable and/or tangible. If God is supernatural and immaterial, how are we to tell the difference between him and the imaginary?
This ties in with claims of irreducible complexity. Creationists like to point at things like the bacterial flagellum and say, “If only one part were taken away it wouldn’t work, so it couldn’t have evolved. Therefore, god created it.” First, the bacterial flagellum and other examples of supposed irreducible complexity have been explained. But even if they hadn’t been explained, it still wouldn’t prove they were created. It would be a mystery.
If scientists said “god must have done it” every time they encountered a mystery, scientific progress would come to a standstill. The god of the gaps argument gets us nowhere. It is nothing more than a placeholder for the phrase, “I don’t know.”
This has been explained to creationists repeatedly, yet they keep insisting that either life evolved or god created everything. It’s a false dichotomy. Even if scientists definitively disproved evolution, we still wouldn’t be obliged to accept the creationist explanation. Sure, most people would invoke god, but why just one god? Why not multiple gods as believed by many ancient cultures? Why not spontaneous generation? Why not inter-dimensional aliens? The sentence, “It must have been god,” is one of the most unscientific sentences one can utter. Supernatural explanations are not explanations.
Evolutionists Can’t Explain the Origin of Life
A creationist relative of mine shared an article about a chemist named Dr. James Tour who said, “evolutionists do not understand the origin of life.” Well no kidding! That’s because evolution has nothing to do with abiogenesis. Evolution explains the process by which life changed over millions of years. It says nothing about how life came into existence in the first place. Dr. Tour is either ignorant or lying.
But as for abiogenesis, so what if scientists don’t know how it happened? There are a lot of things scientists don’t know. But they do know that the building blocks of life have been detected all over the galaxy, and we know that complexity can arise from simplicity. There are many plausible explanations for how life began, but just because we don’t know how it happened doesn’t mean god exists.
What About the Evidence Against Evolution?
There isn’t any. There are many ways creationists could disprove evolution, but none of them have. There have been many mysteries, though.
The Paluxy River tracks have been cited as proof that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time. At first glance, there appear to be fossilized human and dinosaur tracks right next to each other. But it turned out the “human tracks” next to the dinosaur tracks were just more dinosaur tracks.
Creationists also love to bring up Piltdown Man. In the early 1900s it was thought to be the fossil of an ancient hominid, but it was actually the cranium of a modern human combined with the jawbone of an orangutan. What creationists fail to mention is that it was not them, but paleontologists, who discovered it was a hoax. And just because one transitional form turned out to be a hoax doesn’t mean all of them are.
Another example is polystrate tree fossils. According to geologists, rocky layers are laid down over millions of years, yet there appear to be some trees growing right through them. Creationists say this proves sedimentary layers don’t take millions of years to form. If only they would consult a real geologist. He or she would tell them that the layers around these trees are made of sand and ash which, unlike most sedimentary layers, can be laid down very rapidly.
There are hundreds of little mysteries like these, but most of them have rational explanations. The ones that haven’t been explained are interesting, but there aren’t enough of them to justify throwing out 150 years of scientific research. Yet this is exactly what creation “scientists” do. They ignore mountains scientific evidence and spend all their time trying to poke holes in evolution. Even worse, they haven’t come up with any falsifiable theories of their own. Without the theory of evolution, creation “scientists” would be out of work.
Creationists, Stop Embarrassing Yourselves
One of the most frustrating things about debating creationists is they usually don’t understand what they’re arguing against. For example, I often hear the question, “If people evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” This is like saying, “If beagles evolved from wolves, why are there still wolves?” Anyone who asks this question doesn’t understand evolution at all.
Then there are the ones who say that although microevolution is possible, macroevolution is impossible. This is like saying microeconomics is real but macroeconomics is imaginary, or that inches exist but not miles. It’s really that simple. Microevolution is just evolution over a relatively short period of time. Stretch it out over millions of years and you have macroevolution.
Here’s another: People who say natural selection requires a selector. Anyone who says this doesn’t understand natural selection. If a dog has puppies and the runt of the litter dies because it didn’t get enough milk, does that mean there was a selector who selected which puppies would live and which ones would die? No, because natural selection is a natural process.
If evolution is a lie, it means scientists are making it up as they go. But if they’re making it up, shouldn’t they occasionally disagree with each other? Why aren’t there multiple schools of thought? Perhaps one school that says it took 10 billion years and one that says it took 100 billion years. Or one school that says birds evolved from mammals and one that says birds evolved from bugs.
And yet, there are no divisions like these. Instead, hundreds of thousands of scientists from all over the world and from many different fields of study are all reaching the same conclusions about when and how evolution occurred. Why? Because their conclusions are not made up–they are based on evidence.
However, I can think of one area where there many schools of thought: religion. There are hundreds of popular religions and thousands of denominations within them. Why? Because their conclusions are not based on evidence. Perhaps it is the religious leaders who are making it up as they go.
A couple years, Ken Ham and Bill Nye had a debate on whether creation is “a viable model of origins in today’s modern, scientific era” It was very entertaining, but the most interesting part was when someone asked, “What, if anything, would ever change your mind?”
Ken Ham replied, “No one’s ever gonna convince me that the word of God is not true.”
Bill Nye replied, “Evidence,” and proceeded to list several different things that would disprove evolution.
One of these men is a scientist, and one of them isn’t. Real science reaches conclusions based on evidence, but creation science starts with a single conclusion and looks for evidence to support it. Even worse, it’s central claim–that the universe is a creation–is not even falsifiable.
And that is why I am no longer a creationist.