Best way to fight creationist pseudoscience?

What’s the best way to fight creation “science”? Does it suffice to just try to educate people, or should one take the stand that you can’t reason a person out of a position he didn’t reason himself into? If the latter, then what’s the best way to make people see reason?

In particular, I’m wondering if evolutionists are handicapped by a highbrow approach. It appears to me that evolutionists, being intellectuals, don’t want simply to write books that argue their case- they want to write books that end up in the New York Times Book Review, being described as a brilliant meditation on the meaning of evolution. Meanwhile, the creationists write The Handy Dandy Evolution Refuter, not to mention “Big Daddy.”

Along the same lines, is “Inherit the Wind” realistic? Would the creationist Brady really have been made a laughingstock by Drummond’s arguments, or would his creationist audience have stuck by him in real life? How much can creationism be defeated by satire and the deflating power of a horselaugh?


“Laughter is the most powerful force for good in the Universe. It is the only thing that can destroy a fossilized institution with a single blast.”

  • Mark Twain

Laughter will not work against those without a sense of humor.

I’ve found the simplest way to destroy most Creationist “evidence” is to casually mention Quantum Physics. That destroys the whole “Big Bang violates the laws of motion/thermodynamics” argument right there.

How the hell do you "casually’ mention quatum physics?

“Excuse me, have you seen Shroedinger’s cat?”

“Maybe. Maybe not.”

The problem with the arguments I have seen against Creationists have to do with the fact that some evolutionists are not content merely to defend the science; they feel compelled to attack the faith. This is unnecessary and flies in the face of the experience of the person you’re trying to convince. He falls prey to the Creationists easily because they treat the faith with respect and the “science” as augmenting the faith.

In other words, stop trying to bring about a two-fold conversion: from pseudo-science to science and from faith to atheism. It is entirely possible to believe in God, given the evidence, and in science, for the same reason.

I recommend you study Dr. Hugh Ross’s Reasons to Believe site. Dr. Ross has impeccable credentials as a scientist and is active in his Christian faith. You might not agree with how Ross interprets data toward his faith, but you will find that he agrees with you in his interpretation of the data toward an ancient universe. He says:

Stop wasting your time referring Christians to atheist sites that discount the faith of your debate opponent a priori. Refer them instead to Dr. Ross’s site. I wager you’ll get a lot more converts to science that way.

It’s simple, ‘Lucidator ol’ boy… you find some Creationist - just head over to your local Junior College, there’s tons of them there - and listen to him rant and rave about how “The second law says that things tend to go to disorder rather than order” and such, and then you finally chime in and say, “Well, that only happens in a closed, predictable system, but Quantum Physics would rule out the possibility of the Universe, as a system, being predictable.” Then you watch them stammer for a few moments, then watch them explode. It’s quite a breathtaking sight, really.

Just be sure to bring goggles.

Tell that to an artillery sargeant. Quantum physics does not rule out the universe from being predictable. If it did, we couldn’t derive Hubble’s constant from Cepheid variables in galaxies. It merely rules out predicting how the subatomic particles of the universe, as particles in isolation, will behave. It’s a matter of scale. The quantum behavior of particles occurs within the context of electromagnetism and gravity. An isolated particle might go here, and an isolated particle might go there, but the molecules will go where EMG tell them to go.

From Entanglement, Thermodynamics and Doppler shift as Vector Energy:

Again, you aren’t going to win over these people by assuming they’re stupid rather than simply ignorant.

The best way to fight creationist pseudoscience?
A shotgun.

Anywhere this is illegal, use one of the other techniques mentioned.
(For those humor-impaired, I was nto serious with that first part)

And you wonder why a mere 0.7% of Americans consider themselves to be agnostic/atheist… Good luck with your “arguments”, people.

Yes. The more thoroughly people are educated about the facts of evolution, the harder it is for them to believe the biblical version is literal truth.

Creation ‘scientists’ have to invent rediculous theories in order to refute evolution. They have decided that the Earth cannot be more than 10,000 years old. Unfortunately for them, all the scientific evidence points to a much greater age. As more evidence is collected, so their position must further weaken. But only people who are properly educated can be expected to understand this.

Scientists are doing a good job of expanding our knowledge of the universe. When an important discovery is made regarding evolution, the news media is usually quick to spread the word (if for no other reason than because they know it irks the creationists).

evolutionists should not have to ‘argue their case’. The facts speak for themselves. The problem is that many people have not been well educated on evolution (or science in general), and therefore fall prey to the half-baked apologetic theories that creation ‘scientists’ peddle.

The reason creation ‘science’ exists is that certain believers see evolution as an attack on their faith. Therefore it is important for real scientists to present evidence of evolution in a neutral manner, without moralistic or religious overtones. You are not going to persuade a believer with arguments against their faith, but cold hard facts are difficult to ignore.

Libertarian: And you wonder why a mere 0.7% of Americans consider themselves to be agnostic/atheist… Good luck with your “arguments”, people.

snort Because one poster, whose religious views are not specified, makes a joke about fighting pseudoscience with a shotgun, you assume that this not only diminishes the intellectual credibility of non-theistic worldviews, but accounts for their comparative unpopularity? (And I’m surprised to see a figure as low as 0.7% for the percentage of Americans who describe themselves as agnostic/atheist, as the estimates I’ve seen range from 3% to 10%. Do you have a cite for your lower value?) Lib, you may want to re-read Piell’s note for the humor-impaired. :wink:


The 0.7% figure is from the National Survey of Religious Identification, conducted by the Graduate School of the City University of New York in 1990. Commonly referred to as the Kosmin study (for Dr. Barry A. Kosmin, the study director), it polled more than 113,000 people, and is far and away the most comprehensive study of its kind.

You can find references to it on Google easily enough.

As to the thread topic, Harry is right. Assaulting peoples’ faith is hardly productive toward whatever purpose. It makes more sense to cite people like Dr. Ross, who have no problem reconciling their faith with science. The Creationists (against whom Dr. Ross debates regularly) might be crazy, but at least they’re smart enough to understand that you aren’t going to win over converts to science by insulting their most intimate personal beliefs and telling them wrongly that they cannot hold them while accepting the mundane truths of science.

I would agree that education is key:

Note that those accepting evolution include both theists (“God guided the process”) and atheists (or strong Deists, at any rate) (“God had no part in the process”).

There’s a reason Jack Chick don’t like them pointy-headed pinko intellectual college professors.

These numbers (evidently from the same Kosmin survey Libertarian was citing) cite 0.7% “agnostic” (atheist doesn’t actually appear as a category, at least not in this report) and an additional 7.5% “nonreligious”. “Nonreligious” could cover a lot of territory, including people who believe in God or a Higher Power but just don’t belong to any organized religion, but presumably also includes some people who are in fact atheists but have been scared off from self-identifying as such by the demonization of the term in this country, and conversely people who are just not very militant about their lack of belief in God for whatever reason (i.e., they don’t live in the Bible Belt, and it just doesn’t come up that much).

For the first time in my life, I actually agree with a Libertarian.

You evolutionists complain about fundy christians not shutting up, why don’t you try to do the same. There’s not rock hard evidence on either side to prove anything. Let peole beleive what they want to. They’re not hurting anything.

Oh, and why do you constantly attack the beleif of God and faith instead of simply defending your beleifs? Have a frickin heart attack over someone beleiving in God.

Same goes for the fundies, though they have reason for trying to teach people. That’s what the bible says.

Just quit attacking each other.

You mean quit insisting that actual science be taught in the public school science classes that we pay for?

Heh. That’s exactly what there is to disprove Young Earth “Scientific” Creationism.


I consider myself very non-religious (even anti-religous) though I believe that Jesus is God. I also believe that cosmology and evolution are testaments to God’s design prowess. Why must an atheist insist on not allowing me that? What scientific point is he making when he tells me that I’m stupid?

You’re a very manipulative person. HAH, don’t you wish. Why’d you have to go putting words in my mouth?

I never said that evolution shouldn’t be taught in schools. What I am insisting, Buckner, is that we actually teach the next generation our principles and beiefs and teach them how to defend these beleifs instead of constantly attacking and criticizing each other.

Imagine how crappy this world would be if everyone thought the same way. So why you trying to make that happen?

I’m not taking any side here. The same thing goes for the Fundamentalist Bible Thumpers.

Actually, there’s pretty rock-hard evidence supporting one side, and equally rock-hard evidence refuting the other side.

Except when they undermine science education, put disclaimers in textbooks, disseminate blatantly false information…

I don’t recall anyone attacking anyone for believing in God. The OP specifically refers to “creation science”–the work of people like Kent Hovind, Duane Gish, et. al. who use everything from unspeakably bad scientific technique to outright falsehoods to try to lend scientific legitimacy to their faith.

If you want to believe that God created the world 6000 years ago and made it look much older, and that he created everything as-is but made it look just as if evolution had occurred, that’s fine. If you, personally, want to believe that evolution is a conspiracy and that no such evidence exists, that’s fine, too. When you try to miseducate people and attack the scientific community, that’s where I draw the line. (Not you specifically, of course–more of an editorial “you”.)

Dr. J