googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Typical Evo Rant

Friday, May 23, 2014

Typical Evo Rant

I've mentioned before that I sometimes post on Yahoo! Answers. Many of the questions asked there are on topics that I've already written about on my blog so I usually just copy what I've already written here and paste it there. I then paste a link to my blog so that people might visit if they want to read more. Anyway, one Yahoo! poster (who posts only under the name “Richard” with no avatar) asked the following question:

Why do creationists say there's no evidence for evolution? Is it possible they don't know what they're talking about?

He then cited 4 books he's read about evolution (Wow! Four books!) and concluded his question with this remark:

Countless dozens of evidences for evolution in each book with virtually no overlap. But still creationists say there's no evidence for evolution. Why do they say this even though they're completely wrong?

On my blog, I've written many times about the nature of evidence. I've explained many times that evidence is neutral and isn't “for” any theory but, instead, theories seek to explain the evidence. I had many posts that I could have used to respond to his question but I chose my post, “Evidence for the Tooth Fairy.”

You might visit that post and read it but here's the point I was making: a “Tooth Fairy” might seem to explain all the evidence (the missing tooth, the money under the pillow, etc) but it's still not true. Likewise, the theory of evolution might seem to explain some of the evidence reasonably well but that still isn't “proof” the theory is true.

Richard did not like my answer and posted this comment:

You just compared DNA sequencing and the other powerful evidences for evolution to evidence for the tooth fairy fantasy. Do you have any idea how f*cking stupid that is? Grow up you bloody moron.

Hmmm. Not a very thoughtful rebuttal, wouldn't you agree? As always, I remained calm and tried to respond with substance. I said to Richard:

Do you not understand the concept of analogy? I gave you an obvious example of how "evidence" can support an obviously false theory (like the tooth fairy) in order to demonstrate how theories can seem to explain the evidence yet still be wrong.

It was here that Richard completely blew a gasket. His responded with two more comments:

You compared the tooth fairy fantasy to the strongest fact of science. Take your complaints and your supernatural magic to the world's biologists. You disgust me. Drop dead.

"God made the world as described in Genesis." BULLSH!T. Where's your f*cking evidence? What kind of magic wand did your fairy use? You reject science supported by tons of evidence and instead invoke your Magic Man which has zero evidence. Obviously you're a f*cking idiot. Grow up or shut up tard boy

I got a little chuckle from Richard's rant. I was going to respond again but found that he had blocked me so I couldn't. Discussion and reason are the enemies of liberalism. Unfortunately for him, he can't block me from posting his rant on my blog. I was going to say something like, “You're obviously a very enlightened thinker. Do you persuade a lot of people with arguments like this? 'Grow up or shut up tard boy.' Brilliant!” The funniest thing is that I suspect Richard is probably 12-13 years old judging by how impressive he thinks having read 4 books is, yet he tells me to grow up.

So why am I posting this here? One reason is because I really did get a chuckle from it and thought maybe some of my readers would also. But beyond that, I wanted to show readers the kind of response I often get from militant evolutionists. Certainly, I wouldn't say this is representative of all evolutionists, but Richard has resorted to many of the same arguments I've heard and wrote about many times before. You could say that his is a typical rant.

Besides the scarcely censored profanity (Richard himself had typed it that way, obviously to hide his foul language from Yahoo! Answers) let me spend a few moments pointing out a few of his logical failings.

First, we see the oft use argumentum verbosium or “argument by verbosity,” sometimes called “elephant hurling.” This is where a person throws out lists of terms or lays claim to “mountains of evidence” without ever really making a specific argument. Richard has said there are “countless dozens” [that's an odd term, don't you think?] of evidences for evolution yet in all his rant, he fails to cite a single one. He did say, “DNA sequencing” but that is a simply a method of determining the order of nucleotides in a DNA molecule (per Wiki). It's not “evidence” for evolution. That would be like saying, “digging” is evidence for evolution because that's how paleontologists find fossils.

Did you notice too how he said, evolution is “the strongest fact of science.” I'm not sure if I should include that in with his fallacy of elephant hurling or count it as a separate fallacy. I'm not sure how to label it, though. Some have identified “overstatement” as it's own logical fallacy. If so, this would certainly qualify as such.  "The strongest fact of science?"  Tsk tsk.

Richard also conflates “science” with all of evolution, a tactic I just recently had addressed. He used the term “science” instead of “evolution” when he said, You reject science supported by tons of evidence.” I don't reject science at all. Yet, as I've already said, if I reject “evolution,” I'm accused of rejecting all of science as though science and evolution are the same thing.

Do I even need to point out the obvious use of ad homenim? This is where a person attacks his opponent rather than addressing his argument. I made a valid point, namely that evidence can seem to support even a false theory. Richard never addressed my point but, instead, merely called me names. Likewise, should I mention the frequent use of loaded words? Richard didn't make a case against creation; he merely described it using unflattering terms like “magic” and calling God a “fairy” and “Magic Man.”

I could go on but I've gone on too long already. Let's wrap this up with some life lessons. It's because of people like Richard and Human Ape that I have to moderate my comments. Without it, my comments would be filled with rants and profanities worse than theirs. The simple presence of moderation causes most visitors to reflect on what they will say before they write it. But it's also because of people like Richard and Human Ape that I blog. I want people to hear the truth. People as bitter as they are usually hardened against the truth but I still want them to hear it. Remember the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3-7). The Sower didn't just sow in the good earth, he sowed in the hard earth as well.

I also want to encourage other Christians. You will encounter people like this. Don't let them bully you. Don't let them shame you. Be reminded of Jesus' instructions to His apostles: Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16).


Steven J. said...

The idea that evidence isn't "for" one theory or another implies that all of modern science is based on a false assumption, since science (all of it, not merely evolutionary biology) is based on the assumption that evidence can confirm or falsify theories. Is this in fact your position? Was phlogiston theory, for example, abandoned because it became unfashionable, like buckles on hats, or because it ran into evidence it couldn't explain as well as the rival oxidation theory?

An argument that implies that science yields nothing but arbitrary faith-based doctrines is likely to annoy anyone who has noticed that science works, whether or not he can articulate his objections in detail.

Why is the tooth fairy hypothesis "obviously" false? I agree that it is, but how, on your own principles, does it become "obvious?" Granted, the Bible nowhere mentions tooth fairies, but I don't recall any passage that explicitly denies them, either, so dismissing them as unbiblical strikes me as problematic.

I think the problem with your analogy is that you don't pursue it far enough. What testable predictions are entailed by the tooth fairy hypothesis? For example, if the kid hid a movie camera in his room, the tooth fairy hypothesis implies that he would not see his parents sneaking in to put the money under his pillow. It is not enough that an explanation explain a few facts; ideally, it should imply other testable predictions and explain them as well.

There are fossil skulls (e.g. the Dmanisi skulls, or KNM-ER1470) that defy classification as either "fully-formed humans" or "fully-formed apes" (indeed, creationists disagree among themselves as to which pigeonhole to shove them into). Their existence is implied by evolutionary theory; at least creationism does not imply their existence and arguably (but invoking a clear-cut, absolute distinction between human and nonhuman primates) implies that they should not exist.

The tooth fairy hypothesis, furthermore, doesn't explain why we can't see fairies, but can see parents. It lacks arguably the key ingredient of a good explanation: a demonstration that the explanatory factor actually exists. Reproduction, inheritance, mutation, selection, genetic drift, etc. demonstrably exist, which gives them a definite edge as explanations for why, e.g. humans, chimps, gorillas, orangutans, gibbons, and macaques share identically-disabled GULO pseudogenes.

Oh, and insults are not ad hominems. There is a distinction between asserting or implying that your argument is invalid because you are a bad person, and inferring (even incorrectly and/or irrelevantly) that you are a bad person because you advance an invalid argument.

RKBentley said...

Steven J,

I don't necessarily object to the term, “evidence for.” What bothers me is when evolutionists believe they have a monopoly on the evidence such that it is only available for their theory. Because of this, I'm constantly treated to little gems like, “there is no evidence for creation.”

Do you agree that theories are attempts to explain the evidence? Fossils exists. My theory states that most were laid down catastrophically in the Flood and its aftermath. Your theory states they were laid down in successive, local events over a vast amount of time. As new evidence comes to light, a good theory must adequately explain the new evidence as well. Some theories seem to explain the known evidence better than other theories but the evidence is still available “FOR” other theories.

I read a good example once how the sun seeming to move across the sky could be considered evidence “for” geocentrism. So, as in the Tooth Fairy, we can see how evidence can seem to support false theories. The sun still seems to move across the sky, only now we have a better explanation for it.

It all goes back to something I've mentioned on my blog before: some people believe their theory explains the evidence so well that when they see the evidence, they can only see their theory. It's a sort of circular reasoning. You may recall my analogy of the black rock with purple stripes. How did the stripes get there? I believe aliens painted the stripes on the rock! What is my evidence? There's the rock and there are the stripes so obviously my theory is true! Evolutionists do the same thing. Read my posts on homology; evolutionists explain the similarities in the forelimbs of mammals is because they share a common ancestor, then they turn around and say their theory is true because of the similarity in forelimbs.

Finally, we know the Tooth Fairy hypothesis is false because parents have additional information that's not available to the children. If the child had this additional information, he could see why the evidence was as it seemed. In the meantime, no matter how convinced a child might be that there is a tooth fairy, his limited information doesn't change what is true. The parents who took the tooth and put the money there know the truth. It's rather a deceptive practice but it endures. God, like the parents, knows the truth. Unlike the parents, though, He has told us what He has done yet evolutionists refuse to believe it. They are like children refusing to believe the truth about the tooth fairy once their parents have told them.

I know I said, “finally” already but let me add something else. Ad hominem occurs when you direct your argument against the man rather than what he is saying. The term literally means, “to the man.” Richard did not address my points but, instead, insulted me. That was his entire “rebuttal.” It's as though nothing I said could be true because I'm so stupid. If he had addressed my points but still insulted me, it may not be ad hominem. That's not what he did.

Thanks for your comments. God bless!!


Steven J. said...

A global flood, though, doesn't explain (as Adam Sedgwick, creationist geologist, noted in the early 19th century) why we don't find human artifacts or fossils of domestic animals alongside or beneath dinosaur fossils. If the Flood hypothesis assumes that all fossil "kinds" (families?) lived at more or less the same time, rather than millions of years apart, it doesn't explain why we don't find cetaceans (whales and dolphins) ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs (all large groups with different species adapted to different sorts of life in the sea) in the same layers. Like geocentric astronomy, the more evidence one gathers, the less of it the flood hypothesis adequately explains.

Homologies were identified and named before evolution was invoked as an explanation for them: Richard Owen coined the term to describe "the same organ in different animals in all variations of form and function," with no reference to the origin of this similarity.

Homologies are explained as derived through common ancestry, but they are recognized by meticulous similarities in structure not required by similarity in function (e.g. the arrangement of humerus, radius, ulna, carpals, and phalanges in whale flippers, human arms and hands, bat wings, etc.) The question of why a swallow's wing more closely resembles, in structure, an ostrich wing or a penguin flipper than it does the wing of a brown bat (whose lifestyle is more similar to the swallow's) is a case where "common descent" explains the distribution of homologies and analogies (dissimilar structures serving similar functions) than does common design.

RKBentley said...

Your comments have gotten a little off the subject of this post. It's not that they're not interesting; they just are off subject and I don't have time to pursue them. I may save them for use in future posts. Keep checking back.

Thanks! God bless!!


Carvin said...

At best, you are arguing semantics when the substance is still not being addressed. This guy doesn't know how to state his point, but the substance of his argument is not invalidated by it.

Steven is saying it better than myself. The theory was created on evidence and data. There aren't things that contradict the theory in a statistically meaningful way.

I also find it amazing that you ascribe the intervention of a supernatural power to evolution when the obvious parallel is immediately destructive to your argument. YE Creationism says that God made the earth a certain way; it ignores evidence to the contrary (not 'against' Creationism, it is in contradiction; the evidence exists that the earth is not mere thousands of years old, but is not considered; this is just a basic example) without any valid reason. This is all based on someone else's word, someone's story, who keeps making up new reasons and excuses for why this is still true. This is what the tooth fairy is. Child believes their parents that one exists. They believe the explanations. When the parents slip up, they change the story 'oh, the tooth fairy was out of town' or 'she got all the teeth she needed already, but will be back soon'.

On the other hand, a child can (and I know a story of one that has), determine that the story is false through the scientific method. The child so mentioned wondered if his parents were really the ones giving the money (hypothesis). He lost a tooth one day and, without telling his parents, put it under his pillow. It was there for four nights and no money. He then mentioned it to his parents, and the next day money. (conduct an experiment with variable, collect data). Given the results, he concluded that his parents were the tooth fairy. Those supporting the tooth fairy hypothesis, as it were, might still make those excuses, sure, but to do so would be to ignore science. After such an experiment, thinking that there was still a tooth fairy because you didn't immediately see your parents deliver the money is an attempt to fit evidence into a hypothesis, not an attempt to make a hypothesis due to evidence.

RKBentley said...

You said, “At best, you are arguing semantics when the substance is still not being addressed. This guy doesn't know how to state his point, but the substance of his argument is not invalidated by it.”

Perhaps I am arguing semantics but we have to all agree on certain things if there is to be a discussion. People like Richard, and you to a lesser degree, refuse to acknowledge a common meaning for certain key terms. Theories seek to explain the evidence. The evidence itself doesn't speak. Theories might change to accommodate new evidence but the evidence doesn't change. Evolutionists might be foolish but they're not all stupid. I would expect the theory of evolution to explain the evidence reasonably well – otherwise, it could not endure as a theory.

Evolutionists believe rock strata was laid down gradually in successive layers over millions of years. Different fossils are found in different rock layers according to the time the creatures lived. Since evolutionists explain the rock layers this way, are you saying that the rock layers and fossils are NOT AVAILABLE FOR ANY OTHER THEORY?

That is exactly what evolutionists attempt to do, though they don't word it like that. Instead, they say, “There is no evidence for creation.” They want to pretend the “evidence” is the exclusive property of evolutionary theory and is not allowed to be explained any other way.

You said, “Steven is saying it better than myself. The theory was created on evidence and data. There aren't things that contradict the theory in a statistically meaningful way.”

Of course there aren't glaring holes in the theory. Like I've said, if it didn't seem to explain the evidence reasonably well, it could not continue as a theory. That still doesn't mean it must be true and it certainly doesn't mean competing theories explaining the evidence aren't allowed.

You said, “I also find it amazing that you ascribe the intervention of a supernatural power to evolution when the obvious parallel is immediately destructive to your argument. YE Creationism says that God made the earth a certain way; it ignores evidence to the contrary”

I don't know any creationist who ignores evidence. Could you please cite some examples of evidence that is ignored?

Perhaps you mean to say that we don't discard our theory immediately when we find evidence that's difficult for our theory to explain. In that case, I would agree. When we know something is true, we don't immediately abandon it simply because there is something about it we don't understand. Are you any different? Evolutionists, for example, love to throw the distant starlight problem at me yet I don't see them chucking their theory over the horizon problem. Instead, we seek a way to discover how the new evidence could be explained in the light of what we already believe to be true. I thought that is what science does.

God bless!!


Carvin said...

I'm more concerned with the use of theory. It's not an educated guess, it's a system of data interpretation that is consistent- even to the point of being able to predict. There is no creation theory, it's a hypothesis. Saying 'the evidence says' is just shorthand for 'we can deduce from the evidence'. If my fingerprint is found at a crime scene, the evidence says I was there at some point. Understanding the limit of what evidence can say, or rather what can be deduced, is of course important. The evidence doesn't, for instance, say that I committed a crime, just that I was at the crime scene at some point.

To that point, the rock strata, and the fossils record within, tells us (or we can deduce, if you must) a timeline of things that happened and what lived. This is only relative to each other, of course, so that can not say the age of each thing. Dating methods can do that, though.

But, by all means, the YE creation hypothesis is welcome to use things like isotope dating and fossil records for their hypothesis. I don't think that would work out well, but go for it.

As for ignoring evidence... well, there are the countless dating methods, historical records of humans that go back more than 6000 years, migration problems for post flood animals, problems with making genetically viable populations post-flood... need I go on?

Anyway, I'm not well versed on cosmological physics, but I read up on the horizon problem. I understand only a little of it. That said, if it turns out that it does contradict the theory, I'm all for tossing it. It's a little different to say 'Oh, but it doesn't explain this, we need more examination on the problem.' and 'The model completely contradicts a seemingly endless supply of evidence.' Of course, the horizon problem has nothing to do with evolution, so I'm not sure why an 'evolutionist' would care.