Saturday, August 7, 2010

Five Lies Evolutionists Tell

It might be considered bad taste to call someone a liar but if the shoe fits one must wear it. Jesus certainly wasn't reserved in His harsh criticism of the Pharisees. In the evolution v. creation debate, there are some arguments used against creationists that are flat out lies. We need to recognize them as such.

Lie #1: “Evolution is a FACT.”

Evolutionists are notoriously equivocal over the term “evolution.” To them, any change in an animal population is called “evolution.” The belief that all the various species are descended from a common ancestor is also called “evolution.” The deception arises when evolutionists use the two terms interchangeably. Imagine this hypothetical conversation:

CREATIONIST: “I don't believe in evolution.”

EVOLUTIONIST: “Then you're an idiot. We see evolution occurring every day.”

CREATIONIST: “Oh really? We see thing like dinosaurs changing into birds?”

EVOLUTIONIST: “No, you idiot, that kind of change takes millions of years. We obviously don't see that.”

CREATIONIST: “Then we really don't see evolution occurring.”

EVOLUTIONIST: “Of course we do. You're an idiot.”

Conversations like this highlight the abuse of the term by evolutionists. They make the tenuous argument that evolution is “change”, we see change, therefore all animals have a common ancestor. Since they call both things “evolution” (change and common descent), they hold one up as evidence for the other. If a creationist claims to not believe in “evolution” (common descent), he's accused of not believing the other (that things change).

In ordinary conversation, most people understand evolution to mean one kind of animal evolving to become another, such as apes evolving into humans. Militant evolutionists are hyper-technical to identify evolution as “change.” Certainly it's a fact that animal populations change; it's not a fact that one kind of animal can change into another or that all species have a common ancestor. A person who says, “Evolution is a FACT” is merely stating his conviction that “evolution” is true; that doesn't make it true regardless of his use of all capital letters! This very deceptive practice occurs daily. I'm not sure if it is the most often used lie, but it certainly ranks in the top five.

Lie #2: “Evolution and the Bible are compatible.”

Evolution cannot be reconciled with the Bible without one or the other being compromised (usually it's the Bible). The Bible clearly says that God created the heaven, earth, and everything in them in “six days” (Exodus 20:11). Evolutionists claim that the universe and earth were created over billions of years. The only way these can be reconciled is to assume the Bible doesn't mean what it clearly says (that is, six days means billions of years). But if the Bible doesn't mean what it clearly says, then the Bible could be reconciled with any belief, no matter how bizarre.

Remember also that the events of creation are ordered differently than the events according to evolution. Consider the following:

BIBLE : Earth before the sun (Genesis 1:1, Genesis 1:14-15)

EVOLUTION: Sun before the earth

BIBLE: Plants before marine life (Genesis 1:20, Genesis 1:24)

EVOLUTION: Marine life before plants

BIBLE: Birds before land animals (Genesis 1:20, Genesis 1:24-25)

EVOLUTION: Land animals before birds

BIBLE: Man created at the beginning of creation (Mark 10:6)

EVOLUTION: Man appears near the end of creation

There are many other examples along these lines but one other is of considerable theological significance:

BIBLE: Sin before death (Romans 5:12)

EVOLUTION: Death before sin

We can see there is truly no way to reconcile the Bible with the theory of evolution except to completely disregard the plain meaning of the words of the Bible.

Lie #3: “There is no evidence for Creation.”

People who say there is no evidence for creation are either lying or speaking from gross ignorance. “Evidence” is neutral; it's not necessarily “for” any theory. Rather, theories are used to explain the evidence. Yet evolutionists try to argue that all the evidence is “for” evolution and there is no evidence “for” creation. Creationists and evolutionists live in the same world. We have the same fossils, rocks, oceans, and animals to study. Evolutionists do not have any more evidence than creationists; we just use different theories to explain the same evidence.

As we watch the sun move across the sky, one might say that is “evidence” for the sun revolving around the earth. Indeed, people had believed in a geocentric model of the universe for centuries but, of course, no one believes this anymore. Over time, we gathered more information and now we have a better theory – the heliocentric model. Even though the model has changed, some “evidence” hasn't changed: the sun still appears to move across the sky. The difference is now we have a better explanation about why it appears to do so. The sun itself never told us which theory is correct. Similarly, when we find a fossil, the fossil doesn't “tell” us anything. The fossil isn't evidence “for” evolution any more than it's evidence “for” creation. It's just a dumb rock (dumb as in not speaking). We just have different theories about how the fossil came to be.

I'm also curious as to how evolutionists decide on what evidence to consider. What about the Bible? Here is a book which claims to have a record of the creation as revealed by the Creator. This evidence even speaks to us, unlike the dumb rocks. Aren't we allowed to consider the Bible's account as evidence? Alas, no. Evolutionists won't consider the Bible as “scientific” evidence. What they have done is summarily reject the most powerful evidence that speaks for creation and claim instead that the dumb rocks endorse their theory.

On could argue honestly (not correctly but honestly) that evolution explains the evidence better than does creation. I don't necessarily even object to someone saying that “X” is evidence for a theory because some evidence indeed seems better explained by one theory over the other. Even so, it's a lie to say there is no evidence for creation.

Lie #4: “Evolution has been tested and proven even more than gravity.”

This lie is often employed in response to the weak argument that “evolution is just a theory.” When hearing this, evolutionists will sometimes respond, “Well, gravity is just a theory too and evolution has been much more tested and is better established.”

This is a more subtle use of equivocation. The phenomenon of gravity is well understood. We can easily observe it effects, measure its force, and even predict the movement of planets based on what we know about gravity. That gravity exists is without doubt. What causes gravity, however, is still the subject of much speculation. That is the theoretical part about gravity.

The phenomenon of natural selection is also observed. It is certainly not as predictable as gravity but we don't doubt that it exists. As natural selection occurs, animal populations change, and some call this “evolution.” The theory is that, over time, these small changes lead to big changes, which leads to more biodiversity, which culminates is “bigger evolution” (pardon the crude term). See lie #5.

The equivocal implication in this lie is that the theory of evolution (common descent) is more tested and proved than the phenomenon of gravity. This is absurd. It's a joke to believe that we can trace the lineage of modern animals back to a common ancestor with more certainty than we can trace the movement of planets.

Lie #5: “Microevolution over time leads to Macroevolution”

Here is a very interesting quote from Wikipedia regarding the most famous example of “evolution” - the peppered moth:

Critics have argued that the "peppered moth story" showed only microevolution, rather than speciation or other changes at the larger macroevolutionary scale. Biologists agree that this example shows natural selection causing evolution within a species, demonstrating rapid and obvious adaptiveness with such change, and accept that it is not proof of the theory of evolution as a whole. However, though creationists accept "microevolution" of varieties within a "kind", they claim that "macroevolution" does not happen. To biologists there is no dividing line between the two, and in the modern evolutionary synthesis the same mechanisms are seen operating at various scales to cause both evolution within species and speciation at a macroevolution level or wider changes, the only difference being of time and scale.” [emphasis added]

There's no “implication” here. Wiki states outright that microevolution plus time equals macroevolution. No consideration is given to the type of change required. If I continuously removed one colored moth from the population, how long would it take until new colors began appearing? The answer is obvious: you cannot add new colors to a population by continuously removing colors. It doesn't matter how long you do it. Likewise, I can't turn a molehill into a mountain by continuously removing dirt. It doesn't matter how long I dig. I can't grow a company by continuously losing money. It doesn't matter how long I work at it.

“Change” plus time isn't a magic formula; it must be a certain kind of change. It must be a change that adds new traits to the population. The peppered moth example occurred more than a century ago. In the last 100 years, what macroevolution has occurred? Some will argue that 100 years isn't long enough. OK, but let me ask you this: what microevolution has occurred? Over time, the population returned to normal. The microevolution over time led to a net change of ZERO!

Time is not the hero of evolution.


Further reading: Answering the Critics about the Five Lies of Evolution

9 comments:

Thomas Reinard said...

Part 1: We have seen speciation in organisms with a short life span many many times. You need thousands of generations to see major changes in a genetic code. You aren't going to see that in an organism like birds that take several years to reach maturity but it is easy to see in something like E. coli.

Part 2: Sounds like a good reason to reject the Bible, not vice versa.

Part 3: If the Bible is the only piece of evidence for creationism then you are in serious trouble. Imagine if the only evidence for evolution was something written in a two thousand year old book. People would laugh at it for good reason.

Part 4: You contradict yourself. You say we observe evolution but don't observe evolution. Make up your mind. And yes, we can predict lineages through morphology and back that up with genetic testing.

Part... um, also 4: Firstly, color is a quality, not an amount so I don't know how you would be able to "remove color" from a population of moths. Secondly, you need to propose a method that prevents small changes from accumulating over time. Is there a Jesus gene preventing macroevolution? Thirdly, in the last hundred years we have numerous instance of speciation. Look at any number of ring species or even Richard Lenski's E. coli experiments.

If you allow this comment past moderation I would appreciate if you answered these.

RKBentley said...

Thomas, 

Thank you for visiting my blog. To address your last comment first, I don't delete comments that disagree with me. As long they don't use profanities or link to questionable sites I welcome feedback from people who disagree. I must say that I especially appreciate your feedback because you've subtly demonstrated (perhaps unintentionally) how evolutionists use the very arguments I discussed in my post.

> You have conflated/equivocated the two different meaning of “evolution.” You call both the minor changes we see and the major changes we don't see, “evolution.” Then you ask me how I say we both see evolution and don't see evolution. That's funny.

> You invoke the “microevolution + time = macroevolution” argument.

> You suggest there's no evidence for creation when you say, “If the Bible is the only piece of evidence for creationism then you are in serious trouble.” Didn't you read my point? We live in the same world and have the same evidence (rocks, fossils, oceans, etc). Our theories are how we explain the evidence.

Some of your other comments were a little off point but I'll address them.

You said, //Part 2: Sounds like a good reason to reject the Bible, not vice versa.//

Indeed, we must reject one or the other but that's not the point. The lie is when evolutionists say that evolution and the Bible are compatible. They are not. Concerning our origins, they are mutually exclusive and it's a lie to say they agree.

//Imagine if the only evidence for evolution was something written in a two thousand year old book.//

I suggest you reread my point. Nowhere did I say the the Bible is the only evidence for creation. I said that the Bible is the most convincing proof but we have just as much evidence as you have for your theory. We have the same rocks, fossils, oceans, etc.

//Part 4: You contradict yourself. You say we observe evolution but don't observe evolution. Make up your mind. And yes, we can predict lineages through morphology and back that up with genetic testing.//

It's funny how you use the word “predict” concerning past events. I was talking about predicting future events like the positions of planets. Natural selection (which is not the same as evolution, BTW) occurs but you cannot predict its effect on future populations with the same certainty as you can predict a solar eclipse.

//Part... um, also 4: Firstly, color is a quality, not an amount so I don't know how you would be able to "remove color" from a population of moths.//

One of the many, shifting definitions of evolution is a change in the frequency of alleles in a population. I was referring to the frequency of one color of moth. If birds are continuously eating one color of moth, that color is being removed from the population.

//Secondly, you need to propose a method that prevents small changes from accumulating over time. Is there a Jesus gene preventing macroevolution?//

The opposite is true. You need to explain how continuously removing one color of moth can add colors to a population. It can't happen no matter how long it continues. Time alone isn't the solution. There must be some other mechanism.

//Thirdly, in the last hundred years we have numerous instance of speciation. Look at any number of ring species or even Richard Lenski's E. coli experiments.//

I never said speciation cannot happen. It does happen. This is a little off the topic of this post but I've blogged about this before: evolution requires the addition of novel traits to a population. To make a dinosaur a bird, for example, you must add feathers. Natural selection, such as birds eating one color moth, removes traits from a population. You cannot add traits by continuously removing traits. Again, it doesn't matter how long you work at it.

Thanks again for visiting. God bless!!

RKBentley

Steven J. said...

RKBentley said:

Lie #1: “Evolution is a FACT.” Evolutionists are notoriously equivocal over the term “evolution.” To them, any change in an animal population is called “evolution.” The belief that all the various species are descended from a common ancestor is also called “evolution.”

That's not equivocation. Evolution is defined by biologistgs as "descent with modification" or "change in the frequency of inherited traits in a population over time." Neither definition species the amount of modification or how much traits have to change.

Part of the problem creationists have in arguing against evolution (or is this a tactic?) is that they don't use scientific terms in their proper sense. "Real" evolution is not just more change in a population than some particular creationist can accept (and different creationists have different ideas -- Todd Woods, for example, has suggested that dogs and bears are members of a single "kind;" if you think they are different "kinds," you and Todd are disagreeing on what "real" evolution is). You'd do better to just stop saying "evolution isn't real."

And "microevolution" means evolution in a "species" as biologists use the term. When D. melanogaster gave rise to D. paulistorum in the lab, that is "macroevolution" by definition. If you think that horses and zebras share a common ancestor -- or even that it's possible and compatible with the Bible if they do -- then you accept "macroevolution." G.G. Simpson once proposed the term "megaevolution" for the production of new genera and families; you might consider declaring that not only is (some) evolution a fact, but you accept "macroevolution" but not "megaevolution."

Steven J. said...

RKBentley said:

Lie #2: “Evolution and the Bible are compatible.” Evolution cannot be reconciled with the Bible without one or the other being compromised (usually it's the Bible). The Bible clearly says that God created the heaven, earth, and everything in them in “six days” (Exodus 20:11). Evolutionists claim that the universe and earth were created over billions of years. The only way these can be reconciled is to assume the Bible doesn't mean what it clearly says (that is, six days means billions of years).

You assume that the Bible doesn't mean what it says when it refers to the "windows of heaven" (which are opened to let the "waters above the firmament" fall as rain) or describes the clouds as the dust stirred up by God walking on the sky. You assume the Bible doesn't mean what it says when it refers to the "corners" of the Earth, or God changing His mind, before the Flood, about the correctness of His decision to create man. You pretty much declare, in your comments about geocentrism, that you don't think the Bible means what it literally says about the Earth standing immobile and the sun moving across the sky (and then hastening back to its starting point to begin a new day). Yet the Bible says all these things as clearly as it says "six days."

The theistic evolutionist isn't proposing a larger change in your reading of the Bible than, e.g. spherical-Earth proponents offered back in the fourth century, or than heliocentrists offered in the 17th century. As you yourself have noted, the idea that the six days may not have been literal, consecutive 24-hour periods goes back to at least the fourth century, when Augustine proposed that they were a narrative scheme rather than a literal chronology (he favored, as you noted, an instantaneous and fairly recent creation, having no geological evidence of an old Earth).

Steven J. said...

RKBentley said:

Lie #3: “There is no evidence for Creation.” People who say there is no evidence for creation are either lying or speaking from gross ignorance. “Evidence” is neutral; it's not necessarily “for” any theory.

If you believe that, then why aren't you still a geocentrist? If evidence is truly neutral, if evidence doesn't show that some hypotheses are false and others are, at least, compatible with the data, why bother to do science (whether "creation science" or "secular science") at all?

Creationists and evolutionists live in the same world. We have the same fossils, rocks, oceans, and animals to study. Evolutionists do not have any more evidence than creationists; we just use different theories to explain the same evidence.

But there is no creationist theory that explains why, e.g. there are primitive whales, like Ambulocetus, that have hind limbs with the distinctive double-pulley anklebones of artiodactyls (even-toed hoofed mammals). There is not even a young-earth creationist theory (the old-earth creationist explanation, of course, is that they lived at different times) to explain why, given the large range of size, shapes, and apparent habits of plesiosaurs and whales, we don't find them in the same strata. There is no creationist theory that explains why humans and other old-world anthropoid primates share identically-disabled GULO pseudogenes. Yes, for any of these (and myriad other pieces of data) you can say "well, God just decided to make it that way," but the ineffable design whims of God do not make testable predictions. Common descent does.

Creationism doesn't explain the data; it mostly ignores it and explains a few pieces away (e.g. feathered theropods aren't evidence for common ancestry of birds and tyrannosaurs because God could make feathered dinosaurs if He wanted to). God could make feathered bats if He wanted to, or birds with mammary glands and three bones in the middle ear, but for some reason He decided to make only the sorts of animals that are compatible with the evolutionary tree.

Steven J. said...

RKBentley said:

I'm also curious as to how evolutionists decide on what evidence to consider. What about the Bible? Here is a book which claims to have a record of the creation as revealed by the Creator. This evidence even speaks to us, unlike the dumb rocks. Aren't we allowed to consider the Bible's account as evidence? Alas, no. Evolutionists won't consider the Bible as “scientific” evidence.

Evolutionists won't consider the Bible as a peer-reviewed scientific paper (and even if they did, they don't consider peer-reviewed scientific papers as inerrant: I don't care how distinguished a journal you convince to publish your paper, if a dozen later experiments contradict it, people are going to conclude that something was wrong with your methodology or your reporting).

In considering "evidence," scientists ask what known processes could have produced it. In the case of creation stories, primitive theorizing, allegory, etc. will account for the claims of ancient books quite handily, in ways compatible with the findings of geologists, comparative anatomists, geneticists, etc. In the case of the nested hierarchy of comparative anatomy and comparative genomics, reproduction, inheritance, mutation, speciation, natural selection, genetic drift, etc. -- all known and observed processes -- will account for the distribution of traits and the complexity and diversity of life.

Even so, it's a lie to say there is no evidence for creation.

Then what is some of this evidence? "Science can't explain this yet" is not really evidence; if true, it shows that the cause of something is unknown, but not that the cause is supernatural or deliberately directed.

Steven J. said...

RKBentley said:

Lie #4: “Evolution has been tested and proven even more than gravity.” ... The phenomenon of natural selection is also observed. It is certainly not as predictable as gravity but we don't doubt that it exists. As natural selection occurs, animal populations change, and some call this “evolution.” The theory is that, over time, these small changes lead to big changes, which leads to more biodiversity, which culminates is “bigger evolution” (pardon the crude term).

Just as gravity (the idea that a single force accounts for the trajectories of falling apples, cannonballs, planets and stars) makes testable predictions about the movements of bodies, common descent makes testable predictions about the distribution of traits and (in living species) genetic variants.

That the discoverers of Tiktaalik found a basal tetrapod (a lobe-finned fish with a neck and shoulders) was no more likely, on creationist assumptions, than finding a fossil ichthyosaur or whale in those rocks, but was vastly more likely under evolutionary theory.

I've mentioned the GULO pseudogene; that we (and apes and old world monkeys) have a broken version of a gene that helps make vitamin C is somewhat odd assuming special creation (if God didn't want us to make our own vitamin C, why not just leave the gene out of our makeup?), but what's really odd is that the primate version of the pseudogene is disabled the same way in all primates, but in a completely different way in guinea pigs (if a Creator wanted to leave a gene in both groups, but disable it in both, why not disable it in the same way in both groups?).
Likewise, the fact that the sequence of amino acids in the pseudogene is more similar between humans and chimps than between humans and rhesus monkeys is explicable in terms of common descent (more time since our last common ancestor with old world monkeys for random, neutral mutations to accumulate), but must be passed off to arbitrary whims of the Designer by creationists.

I could go on, citing, e.g. fossil skulls that straddle any dividing line you might wish to draw between humans and nonhuman apes, or many other lines of evidence, but I hope you get the point.

Steven J. said...

RKBentley said:

Lie #5: “Microevolution over time leads to Macroevolution” ... Wiki states outright that microevolution plus time equals macroevolution. No consideration is given to the type of change required. If I continuously removed one colored moth from the population, how long would it take until new colors began appearing? The answer is obvious: you cannot add new colors to a population by continuously removing colors.

Why, I suppose it would take until a mutation produced an allele which coded for a new color (or two mutations spread through the population, perhaps by random drift or perhaps because they each had some additional effect that was beneficial, until they were inherited by the same individual and their combined effect produced a new color: many traits are the result of the interaction of multiple genes).

Known sorts of mutations include single-nucleotide substitutions, insertions or deletions of single nucleotides or stretches of multiple nucleotides, duplication of stretches of nucleotides, transposition or inversion of sequences of nucleotides. You can change any genome into any other genome by simply adding one mutation to another (along myriad different mutational pathways). Many, many of these pathways will lead, at some point, through a genome that is not viable in any plausible environment; a significant minority of mutations (most mutations are neutral, some are harmful, a very small fraction are beneficial) are harmful right off the bat.

But that's what natural selection is for (or what it does, anyway; a non-theistic evolutionist won't assume it's actually "for" anything). New moths, with new mutations, are being added to the population constantly, and removed from the population constantly. "Natural selection" is what we call the principle that mutations that hurt the organism are more likely to be removed from the population than mutations that are neutral or beneficial, so over time, changes that help the organism accumulate and modify the population, step by step, away from the ancestral state.

Steven J. said...

RKBentley said:

The peppered moth example occurred more than a century ago. In the last 100 years, what macroevolution has occurred? Some will argue that 100 years isn't long enough. OK, but let me ask you this: what microevolution has occurred? Over time, the population returned to normal. The microevolution over time led to a net change of ZERO! Time is not the hero of evolution.

The mosquitoes in the London subway tunnels look and behave differently from mosquitoes above ground (e.g. they mate all year round, since the environment in the tunnels is much more constant than the environment above ground). There is some dispute over whether the difference amounts to speciation (again, "macroevolution" by definition). There are several other cases of speciation, in plants and insects, observed or strongly inferred to have occurred in the last century. One would not, as you note, expect changes as striking as that from Hyracotherium to Equus (creationists differ on whether that degree of change can be accomodated under "change within created kinds") in a century or so. But there are plenty of observations of, e.g. plants near abandoned mines evolving to be more resistant to the poisons found in mine tailings (to say nothing of antibiotic resistance in way too many bacteria).