Evolution and creationism

I’ve long since convinced myself that evolution is as much a fact as the Earth going 'round the Sun. However, I’m also of the mind that it just isn’t fair to hear just one side of the argument. In that vein, I will often search out counter arguments to evolution and supporting arguments in favor of creationism.

Typically, this quest proceeds like this:

  1. Find a creationist argument I can’t refute.
  2. Search for the rebuttal of the argument.
  3. See if the rebuttal is addressed in any meaningful way. If it is, proceed to step 2. If isn’t, I’m done.

In this quest, I found myself spiraling down some argument path to the point where I just sort of gave up and took it on faith that the creationist arguments do have a valid counter-argument. That’s when it hit me.

Creationists take it on faith that they are correct as much as I take it on faith that evolution is correct. Not that this changes my views on evolotion one iota, but at least now I have a much better understanding from where the creationism argument stems and how it can be defended.

X Mundane
X Pointless
X I decided I must share it

It’s my understanding that the theories of creationism and evolution are not mutually exclusive: one can believe in evolution and also believe that God created the “spark” that set everything in motion.

This isn’t Great Debates but I guarantee you that there aren’t any creationist arguments that WE can’t refute and faith will never enter into it. If you think creationists (in the sense of those who deny the fact of biological evolution or common descent) have any valid counter-arguments at all, it’s only because you lack the factual information to rebut it.

Just out of curiosity, can you tell us which creationist argument or arguments you think are valid? We’d be happy to blow them out of the water for you. :slight_smile:

Welcome to SDMB, by the way.

This is true, The definition of “creationism” needs to be clarified sometimes. In popular usage these days it almost always refers to those who doubt or deny evolutionary theory.

Of course, evolution itself is a term that sometimes gets misunderstood and conflated with abiogenesis or the beginning of the universe. Those are events which are not addressed at all by evolutionary theory. Evolution also gets tagged as an “atheistic” theory, which it isn’t. Evolutionary theory no more addresses the existence of God than atomic theory.

You shouldn’t take evolution on faith.

That should help arm you against creationists.
Misnomer also has a point. One very reasonable way to look at the predicament is to assume that God set evolution in motion.
In fact, one can believe whatever the hell he or she wishes. It’s almost as plausible to say that aliens who live in our hollow moon control evolution, or that we exist solely in the dream of a retarded Texan. Oh my God!

This is better-suited for Great Debates. It’ll evolve better.

Creationists do not, however, “take it on faith that they are correct.” They believe they must be correct because of their faith, and oftentimes contort facts to match that belief.

And you should by no means take it on faith that evolution is correct. The information is out there if you are truly interested in understanding all aspects of it. Even understanding the basics goes a long way toward not having to just take someone else’s word for it.

Scientist absolutely do not “take it on faith” that evolution [by natural selection] is correct. There’s surely a Nobel Prize waiting for anyone who comes up with a better theory. That’s one key thing that differentiates science from religion. The former is always looking for ways to undermine existing theories while the latter is always trying to uphold existing dogma.

Evolution is a fact. Species die out and other species which weren’t there before take their place, over millions of years. This is evolution. It is a fact.

The Theory of Evolution explains this fact, by reference to the simple mechanism of

  1. copy (have children)
  2. vary (children are not identical to parents)
  3. select (even a small statistical advantage will, over time, become dominant).
    If two groups somehow become isolated, this mechanism will vary them differently until one group can no longer breed with another (rather like two accents of the same language eventually becoming different languages since neither can understand one another).

The only Creationist explanation for the fact of evolution is that God is continually exterminating and creating new species, even now.

That would be the only creationist explanation,if it had to be based on observation of the actual evidence, but it doesn’t; creationism is (typically) a system designed to insulate people from the evidence, by offering a very quick, glossy, distracting ‘explanation’ for it - the explanations don’t even all have to be consistent (and they’re not) - they just have to move the reader away from the evidence as efficiently as possible.

Yes, Mange, I should have included the alternative, which is to deny the fact of evolution (or propose utterly absurd explanations like the Flood churning up the Earth’s rocks in just the right way to form an ascending column of fossils from trilobites through dinosaurs to humans, with a helpful Iridium line separating the last two all around the world).

Creationism is the active work of Satan, seeking to replace faith in God with submission to secular authority over religion. It is served by those who seek temporal aggrandizement, and their dupes who wish only to feel superior to someone, without having to actually do anything to merit it. Along the way, you can pick up votes for your favorite political party, too.


And as I mentioned, each individual absurd explanation is not under any obligation to agree with or even make sense in the context of all the others; for example, the one you outlined above is sharply at odds with the argument that order can never arise undirected out of chaos.

Since we’ve got new people here and I don’t want to see and old friend flamed, I’ll point out that, unless he’s recently had a radical personality change related to the preparation of kim chee, I assume Triskademus posted firmly tongue in cheek.

Kim chee, however, may be the work of Satan! :wink:

One thing I’ve noticed in arguing with young earth creationists and talking to an old friend who used to be one (he got better) is there is a feeling that, if the Bible is not literally true when it talks about creation, it may not contain any Truth because how can a human distinguish Truth from lies. If that’s the case, their religion, which is one of the most important things in their lives, is based on a lie. It’s easy for some atheists to say, “and so it is and so it should be”, but I’m a devout Christian myself and I know I’d hate to lose all that it’s given me.


Why’s that, Ceej? I agree with him completely.

Having been a YEC in the past, one of the more compelling arguments against even theistic evolution is the doctrine of Original Sin. Which my church subscribed to and included in their Articles of Faith, the list also included Literal Creation, and Biblical Inerrancy (which means a literal belief in the Flood myth as well)

If evolution is true then sin did not bring death, if evolution is true then God did not create the world perfectly, and us in his image, if evolution is true then Christ is not a direct descendant of the first human Father. These, and more, are the issues that my church and it’s members take against evolution.

Hell, these are ingrained enough into me that I, as an atheist, have to fight the habit of mind to think that Liberal Christians are wishy washy, wanting their cake and eating it too. :smack:

I’m in the choir on this. Preach it!

This is almost certainly my ignorance showing, but has this been observed? Creationists quickly (rightly) dismiss the pollution-coloured moth argument for evolution (it’s an illustration of selection, people, not a proof of evolution) by saying the moth has not evolved in the sense that no new species has emerged.

But has speciation ever been observed?

Without wanting to pile onto you Siege, I pretty much agree with Tris too - a lot of these prominent creationists must know that they are engaging in deceit.

I mean, I can understand how the average pew-filler coud be completely innocently carried along by it all, but there are people carefully formulating these arguments - examining the evidence and deliberately choosing to misrepresent it, or (more blatantly) taking quotes from prominent scientists and cunningly editing them so as to completely misrepresent, or even totally reverse, their meaning (quote mining).
I can’t think of any reasonable way that someone could unwittingly perpetrate many of the examples of outright deception and dishonesty that are being paraded in the name of creationism.

No; they wrongly dismiss it; as far as I’m aware, it isn’t claimed that a new species was arising, only that heritable characteristics could be selected, for and against. The creationist ‘dismissal’ of the peppered moth data is just goalpost-shifting.