Skip to comments.Common Creationist Arguments
Posted on 03/08/2002 7:55:48 AM PST by JediGirl
"I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Saviour, for whose Kingdom it stands, one Saviour, crucified, risen, and coming again, with life and liberty for all who believe."- Dan Quayle, participating in a modified Pledge of Allegiance at the "Reclaiming America" conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 1994. Quoted from Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy, by Frederick Clarkson. According to Dan Quayle and the other hate mongers at this conference, only those who believe deserve the right to life and liberty. I guess that means the rest of us can die in chains, just as we did in the Dark Ages.
Religious bigotry is at the heart of fundamentalism, and Christian fundamentalism is in turn the heart of the so-called "creation science" movement. In its various forms, creationist bigotry usually incorporates one or more of 3 basic premises:
Every one of these premises is both indefensible and incredibly offensive, yet all of those assumptions are very common among creaionists, for whom it doesn't even seem to matter that their "scientific theory" would be the only theory in the history of science that requires faith in a particular religion.
Educate Them About Other Religions. Some famous atheists have half-jokingly quipped in the past that "the solution to Christianity is education". While that may be a bit harsh, it is certainly fair to say that creationist misconceptions about the universality of their particular creation myth are best dispelled with information. Concrete information about the true beliefs of humanism (as opposed to the Christian fundamentalist strawman stereotype of selfish hedonists) and the specifics of other religions' creation myths (as opposed to the creationist assumption that they either follow Judaism or they're Satan worshippers) is the best way to break through a creationist's intellectual defense shield of xenophobia and religious egocentrism.
"If creation theory has no independent basis, then why do all the world's religions have similar stories of the Creation and the Flood? Why do scientists insist on assuming that all of the world's religions are wrong? Evolution theory is nothing more than an organized assault upon religion."
This person confuses "religion" for "Christianity", by blindly assuming that every religion in the world is incompatible with evolution theory. In reality, many of the world's religions are quite compatible with evolution theory (some even provide support for it). Creationists who propose this argument are simply demonstrating ignorance of other religions. This is not surprising; throughout most of their history, Christians were not only reluctant to study other religions, but they actually tried to obliterate them by force, through torture, massacres, and destruction of cultural artifacts such as libraries and temples. Today, Christianity has generally improved upon its heinous past, and many Christians' value systems are quite similar to those of humanists. Such Christians no longer murder and torture "heretics", and some of them have even chosen to open their minds not only to science, but also to the richness and diversity of world history, as opposed to a narrow minded focus on European Christian history.
Progressive Christians tend to focus on Jesus' common-sense message of reciprocity, meaning that you should love your neighbour and treat others as you would have them treat you. This is known as the "Golden Rule", and while Christian egocentrics tend to act as though it is their exclusive intellectual property, versions of it are actually found in the ancient writings of virtually all the world's cultures. Of course, in order to live by this rule, they must downplay or refute the parts of the Bible which encourage intolerance and misogynism, sometimes by simply ignoring them and sometimes by arguing that the Golden Rule overrides them. The term "humanist Christian" is often thought of as an oxymoron, but that isn't necessarily the case; humanism and atheism are not synonymous. Humanism is about placing the good of humankind and the good of your fellow human above all else, and a humanist Christian could easily make the argument that the basic principles of humanism are highly compatible with the principles that Jesus tried to outline in the New Testament. However, unlike Jesus or God, humanism makes no value judgement on the basis of religion; it is equally accepting of Buddhists, Taoists, Christians, Hindus, Wiccans, Muslims, and others, including atheists. It is the only system of values which is so broadly inclusive, and therefore, it is the only system of values upon which governments should be based.
However, this means it is also anathema to certain Christians (read: right-wing fundamentalist fanatics), who have chosen instead to close their minds, cling to the past, and fight a seemingly never-ending propaganda war against science and humanism (some, like Pat Robertson, still defend the morality of Old Testament atrocities such as the slaughter of Palestinian women and children).
I remember once watching one of those "political talk shows" and seeing a Christian fundamentalist explaining that school prayer was necessary in order to introduce "spirituality" to children (for some reason, she felt it was necessary for the state to perform this function, rather than the parents). When queried about the obvious religious bigotry inherent in this approach, and its implications for religious freedom of non-Christians, she confidently replied that since all of the world's religions from Judaism to Islam to Christianity are very similar, sharing the same God, it wouldn't be a serious problem. And if they insisted on being difficult, they could always simply "opt out" (and in so doing, stand apart from the rest of the class, which is a great way to make a child feel welcome).
I remember being disgusted at her attitude and amazed at the fact that no one else on the panel seemed to take offense at her arrogance and bigotry. This kind of obtuse navel-gazing ignorance is a classic European cultural mindset which has unfortunately been adopted by many Americans (for example, they know the "yin/yang" symbol, but they have no idea that it is actually derived from the Taoist religion; they think it's just a "Chinese philosophy thing", or that it has something to do with kung fu).
I suggest that Christian egocentrists go to the library and borrow a book on the world's other religions before presuming to speak for them. There are billions of Hindus and Buddhists in the world, and none of them would want their children to feel like outcasts for not participating in school prayer to the Christian God. Hindus are even polytheistic, even though Christian egocentrists tend to believe that monotheism is somehow "more advanced" than polytheism (in reality, both monotheistic and polytheistic religions are traceable back to the dawn of recorded history). There are at least five different types of creation myth:
"Let us break through some of the inhibitions that have existed to talk together across the flimsy lines of separation of faith, to talk together, to study together, to pray together, and ultimately to sing together His Holy name."- Senator Joseph Lieberman, speaking at Fellowship Chapel in Detroit while running for Vice President, Aug. 27, 2000 (like many Judeo-Christian bigots, he assumes all faiths share the same God). Quoted from AA News #808.
If you examine the world's various creation myths, you may notice a very interesting fact: many of them are more easily reconciled with biology and cosmology than you might expect. In fact, the "Creation through Emergence" story is startlingly similar to evolution theory, and "Creation from a Cosmic Egg" is strongly reminiscent of Big Bang theory. Moreover, a very common thread in various mythologies is the pre-existent chaos, in which a universe already exists before the "Creation" but it is formless and dark, and the gods merely take this pre-existing matter and transform it into the modern world. This is a sharp contrast to the creationist assumption that creation myths are all predicated upon a supreme being who creates the universe with a mere thought.
Does evolution theory represent an "assault upon religion?" Not necessarily. It does, however, represent the scientific conclusion that Biblical fundamentalism has no foundation whatsoever in logic and observation. Creationists interpret this as an attack against "religion" because they think they stand for all of the world's religions, despite their ideological differences and their long history of trying to wipe out those other religions.
"The only way to arrive at evolution theory is from a close-minded secular, humanistic mindset."
And why is humanism bad, particularly when we speak of science? Humanism, as it applies to science, is the notion that it is possible to understand the universe through the reasoning faculties of the human mind. It is part of the philosophical foundation of science! How can a legitimate scientific theory not be based on a humanistic mindset? The fact that a theory is "humanistic" is hardly a condemnation, but creationists are so accustomed to speaking of "humanism" in a perjorative sense that they instinctively assume everyone else sees the term in the same negative way.
The scientific method leaves no room for creationist nonsense. Scientists are supposed to confine their analyses strictly to the bounds of observation and reason. Scientists are supposed to assume that every phenomenon in the universe has a natural mechanism. Scientists are supposed to discount supernatural explanations for observed phenomena. That is the scientific method, in which all phenomena in the universe are grouped into those we understand and those we have yet to understand. There is no third option of supernatural explanations, nor should there be. If supernatural explanations were acceptable scientific explanations for all unknowns, then mankind would never have developed any science at all.
Scientists are often accused of being "close-minded" for doing this. The term "close-minded" has a perjorative implication, but it is a relative term. When we say that others are "close-minded", we usually mean that they are close-minded to whatever we're trying to push on them. Scientists are close-minded to the supernatural, but they are open-minded to observations and rational theories. Mystics, on the other hand, are open minded to mysticism, pseudoscience, and the supernatural, but they are close-minded to the scientific method. This contrast of competing philosophies is nothing new, but an increasingly large number of mystics want to upset the balance. They want to force scientists to consider supernatural theories alongside natural mechanisms; in effect, they want to destroy science by removing the scientific method and replacing it with the methods of mysticism.
"Evolutionists are just atheists who want to believe that there's no God so that they won't have to obey His laws, even though they know the truth, deep down. In fact, the decay of family values, the explosion of pornography, and the general decline in societal mores can be directly attributed to humanist teachings such as evolution theory and moral relativism, which basically encourages people to follow their own selfish interests instead of obeying traditional values and morals."
This is by far the most offensive, arrogant, insulting, and hateful creationist argument in existence: religious bigotry at its worst. If you are a religious person and you don't see what's wrong with this statement, then try asking yourself how you would feel if someone accused all Jews or all Hindus of being immoral and selfish. Try asking yourself how you would feel if someone assumed that all Buddhists were secretly Christians but were feverishly trying to deny the truth to themselves. Do you see the problem? This argument could simply be dismissed as fallacious, on the grounds that morality has nothing to do with the scientific validity of evolution theory. However, that would probably do little to silence the critics, whose attacks on evolution theory often start with this bizarre "moral argument".
"We're going to bring back God and the Bible and drive the gods of secular humanism right out of the public schools of America."- Pat Buchanan, at an anti-gay rally in Des Moines, Iowa, February 11, 1996 (it apparently doesn't occur to him that secular humanism is a philosophy rather than a religion, and as such, has no "gods", nor does it occur to him that in order to drive secular humanism out of public schools, they will have to abolish all science classses).
For some reason it is considered perfectly acceptable to hold bigoted views of atheists, particularly in America, where the flames of religious hatred are fanned daily by hate-mongers such as Pat Robertson and the rest of the so-called "right-wing fundamentalist movement". Religious leaders are fond of saying that atheism is every bit as much a religion as Christianity, Judaism, or Hinduism, in an obvious attempt to contradict the secular interpretation of atheism as an absence of religion. But if they truly feel that atheism is a religion, then why don't they treat atheists with the same religious tolerance that most of them preach for the "real" religions? Why is it acceptable to accuse atheists as a group of being amoral, or selfish, or hedonistic, or anti-family, or decadent?
If you listen carefully, you will find that anti-atheist hatred positively drips from the mouth of every preacher. Every minister. Every religious television show. If there is a modern Devil according to the fundamentalists, its name is secularism. Secularism is held responsible for everything from violence to divorce, rape, war, drug use, and any other imaginable social problem. It is the convenient scapegoat upon which every societal problem can be summarily blamed, without evidence or argument.
Atheists are Public Enemy #1 according to this mindset. If secularism is deemed responsible for everything the fundamentalists consider unpleasant or undesirable, then it's only natural to blame the members of this "cult": the atheists. It doesn't matter that there is no statistical variation in the crime rates between atheists and Christians. It doesn't matter that atheists are actually less likely to divorce than Christians. All that matters is that atheists think differently, and the persistent Crusade mentality of the fundamentalist deems all other systems of thought to be targets of enmity, hatred, and if possible, obliteration.
The historical fact is that these religious zealots are throwing stones from glass houses. The history of religion is anything but a noble one, and the union of church and state (which is what the creationists are pushing for, with the agenda to insinuate their religion into the schools) has invariably resulted in widespread oppression and human rights violations. In fact, the union of church and state continues to cause such problems today, as seen most dramatically in the resurgent Islamic fundamentalist governments of the Middle East, where women are being stoned to death for committing adultery or trying to find work. See the Religion and Morality page if you're interested in knowing more about this subject.
"You cannot produce one conclusive piece of evidence to prove the theory of evolution, yet you deny creationism! You are clearly being dogmatic."
This argument is sometimes accompanied by gratuitous publicity stunts, eg. there's at least one person offering a reward for anyone who can produce a piece of scientific evidence which he regards as conclusive proof of evolution. However, the basic premise falls apart on three levels.
"I have a standing offer of $250,000 to anyone who can give any empirical evidence (scientific proof) for evolution. My $250,000 offer demonstrates that the hypothesis of evolution is nothing more than a religious belief."- Kent Hovind (notice how he doesn't realize there's no such thing as "scientific proof")
After being pressed for a full explanation of how to collect the $250,000 reward, he clarified his position: "In order to collect the money you must 'Prove beyond reasonable doubt that the process of evolution (The universe came into being by itself by purely natural processes (known as evolution) so that no appeal to the supernatural is needed.) is the only possible way the observed phenomena (the universe, planets, life and mankind) could have come into existence.' If you want everyone to pay for this silly theory of evolution to be taught then the burden of proof is on you."- Kent Hovind. Notice how he thinks evolution theory deals with the origins of the universe rather than the gradual change of biological structures (gross strawman fallacy), and also notice how he thinks a valid scientific theory must be the "only possible" explanation for a phenomenon (gross misrepresentation of scientific method). In reality, a valid theory is the one which most closely fits the facts, and Occam's Razor is used as a tie-breaker if necessary. Since an infinite number of theories can be generated for any given phenomenon (hence the need for Occam's Razor), it is impossible to fulfill his requirements for any scientific theory, even the theory of gravity.
This kind of argument is a classic example of the religious egocentrism that we have sadly come to expect from creationists. It assumes that creationism logically follows if evolution theory cannot be "proven" to their satisfaction. It contains the utterly absurd assumption that if there were no such thing as evolution theory, then a researcher would independently arrive at Biblical creationism, even if he were not schooled in Judeo-Christian thought! In the end, it is a mere rhetorical ploy, barely worthy of rebuttal.
As an aside, the tactic of demanding proof and then setting oneself up as the arbiter of that proof is also used by Holocaust deniers. If you are faced with this ploy (on the part of either creationists or holocaust deniers), a good tactic is to simply ask "what would you accept as evidence?" If a subject change is attempted, simply force the subject back to that central question: "what would you accept as evidence?"
You may be surprised to discover that when pushed, your opponent will have no answer. He will either become evasive or suggest a nonsensical form of evidence such as "direct observation of the moment of abiogenesis, four billion years ago", as if a time machine could be built for this purpose. Scientific theories are based on analysis of whatever evidence we can obtain, not an obstinate insistence upon particular forms of evidence which we can't obtain.
The natural creationist objection is to claim that indirect observations "don't count", but in reality, despite their ignorant expectations, countless scientific observations are indirect in nature. For example, we know that other stars in the universe have planets indirectly (through observation of gravitational perturbations) even though we can't travel there and see these planets for ourselves. We know that the Sun is powered by nuclear fusion indirectly (through observation of its mass, chemical composition, and output) even though we can't observe this process directly. We know about electrons indirectly (through their interaction with other forms of matter and energy) even though they're too small to see, even with a microscope. And finally, we know that life began on Earth billions of years ago (through observation of fossil patterns as well as geographical distribution of modern species) even though we can't travel back through time and watch it happen.
I can verify that is the correct Pledge to the Christian Flag and that the flag is about 100 years old.
The pledge is an affirmation of faith. Why would you consider it disturbing? It is used by homeschoolers and by churches in various settings, but I'm not aware of any efforts to incorporate the use similiar to the Pledge to the Flag.
Under the terms of the 1st Amendment, why would you find an affirmation of faith disturbing? Seriously.
OK. So naturalism (by which, I assume, you mean scientific secularism) is the enemy, not evolution. I see.... no... wait... I don't see. I have a difficult time seeing how a Creationist can subscribe to the scientific method w/r to Creationism. Creationism is a doctrine, not a theory.
As a Catholic, I can see how some protestants might see the whole pledging (swearing) allegience to a religious flag thing might conflict with the First Commandment and the whole graven images taboo. I know it's not meant that way, but the concept gives even me the creeps with it's connotations of religious nationalism.
"...with life and liberty for all who believe."
I'm saying that God might have something to say on the issue. Arguing in the absence of absolutes is akin to arguing that one marble is prettier than another. Without an absolutes is pretty pointless. So - let's deal with the issue here... where did we come from and why? Even more to the point - how can the impersonal (evolution) generate the personal (mankind)?
makes Catholicism and popery look really tame!
Nothing like the obligatory cheap shot at someone else's faith while you bash evolution. It's a twofer.
If nothing else, evolutionary theory gives me hope that someday in the distant future, your descendants will evolve away from this "style" you're so fond of...
May I suggest the reading of the New Testament? Salvation lies within, and is available to you.
1. Show me any transitional forms from one species to another. There aren't any, and top curators admit it.
2. The earth loses 1/1000 of a second in rotation per day. Rounding, this is slightly over 1 second every 3 years. If, according to evoultion theory, that assumes the earth has been behaving the same way for billions of years, and knowing a 24-hr day is composed of (24x60x60) or 86,400 seconds, about 260,000 years ago we all were living on an earth with a rotational period of 1 second.
3. If according to evolutionary theory that the earth is billions of years old, and the mechanics of the earth operate today just as they have for billions of years, given the known, measured rate of decay of the earth's magnetic field, that if we calculate backwards 10,000 years, we come up with a field so strong that life on the planet would not have been possible.
4. If the planet is billions of years old, and is proven by the fossil record, why are human skulls, jewelry, shoes, skeletons found in untouched layers of rock previously dated to be hundreds of millions of years old? If these layers were laid down over millions of years, like the geologic column theory says they were, how are vertical fossils of trees found in these layers? Trees do not live millions of years, and they would have decayed away.
5. If evolution is true, and evolution is continuing just as it has for the last billions of years, why can't we get a cat from a dog? Why can't we get a plant from an animal? Not even one example exists, nor any kind of hybrid cat-dog or horse-cow. We always assume to expect that cats bring forth cats, etc.
6. The scientific principle demands observable, repeatable results. Show me where scientists created life out of nothing. This has been attempted for decades and all that was created were several amino acids. Not even a "simple" virus was created. Not even, in the evolutionist lingo, not even a "simple 1 celled organism" was made.
7. Logic theory dictates that something that is designed inherently implies there was a designer. I can look at my watch, which is a complex device, and I know that this was a device that had an intelligent designer behind it, and it created the watch for a specific purpose (to measure time). I don't have to actually meet or touch the person who built it, I naturally assume it because from my own experience as a designer and watching others design complex devices. We look at a boeing 747, the Cray computer, or the Statue of Liberty, and would call someone crazy if they said these things only exist because of random chance. Yet we look at humans and their DNA, the most complex, self-replicating, self-correcting and preserving mechanism, and we deny an intelligent designer.
8. The old Cray 1 computer took kilovolts to power it (inefficient), weighed a ton, a roomful of space, required a huge cooling system, and calculated about 4 billion bits of info a second. A honeybee, in contrast, takes very little space, weighs almost nothing, has a much smaller computing brain mass, can go about a million miles on a gallon of honey (efficient), and can calculate info input at about 1 trillion bits/second. Evolutionists state the computer is designed, and the bee is random chance.
9. The conclusion that the more complex something is, the likelier the item came from random chance, is not observable nor repeatable. It is illogical.
"I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, except through me."
"To as many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the sons of God, even to as many as believed on His name."
Man, even I saw that he was being sarcastic. Try decaf.
Why not? That was the context of the original post.