A List of Arguments I've noticed over time that many of the Creation Scientists seem to is

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A List of Arguments I've noticed over time that many of the Creation Scientists seem to issue forth the same arguments over and over again. It tends to get tiring answering the same questions over and over again. This document should save some time in that regard, however. Now, when I see an argument I know I have answered, I can just say "See question number N" instead of going on about things that I've already gone on about. If people have questions regarding some of these arguments then they can just ask for clarification on question number N regarding such & such. This is also handy if you need a quick answer but I encourage you to look these arguments up in your local library. For additional ease of use for myself, I'm going to use the same order as that found in the appendix of Douglas J. Futuyma's _Science on Trial_. I will paraphrase some answers and expand on the ones I know something about. So, without further ado (besides this bit here)... Philosophy of Science 1. Evolution can't be observed therefore it is not scientific. Science is not limited to just watching what goes on and writing it down. It is very common to make a prediction based on a theory and then check to see if the prediction proves true. Most of atomic physics and quantum physics works this way. 2. Evolution can't be proven. This depends on what you mean by "proven." The only time anything will be proven without any doubt is if you can prove by definition (eg you can't do things that are impossible for you to do, by definition). This happens plenty in mathematics but barely ever if at all in science. It's worth mentioning (IMHO) the difference between a pure fact and a scientific fact. A pure fact is a statement that is proven without any doubt. A scientific fact is a statement that has so much evidence behind it that nobody that knows what s/he is talking about bothers to question it anymore. Not that it isn't questionable, it's just that it isn't worth the time to do so. It's generally agreed upon that the fact that mankind evolved over millions of years from a common ancestor with the ape IS a scientific fact. 3. Evolution isn't scientific because it isn't refutable. It sure is refutable! Find a fossil of a whale alongside a fossil of a dinosaur and you will set evolution on its ear. Find several similar examples and evolution will be shelved for good. This argument is especially funny to see put out by a person who has been trying to disprove evolution for some time. 4. Evolution shouldn't be taught in schools because it is a religion. Evolution requires no more faith than the belief that World War II happened. Predictions can (and have) been made by evolution that turn out correct, thus it is testable. Evolution simply describes what happened and never makes any sort of moral or spiritual conclusions. 5. Life is so ordered and complex that there must be intelligent design. Purely natural forces are quite capable of producing such order. Note that evolution does not say there could not have been intelligent design, it just says that intelligent design is not necessarily required. Evolution may be Godless but it is _not_ anti-God(s). Natural Laws 6. The second law of thermodynamics says that order can't increase and evolution is a clear increase in order thus evolution can't be true. This is my favorite argument so I might go into a bit more detail than you want. Tuff it out. The 2nd law states that, in a closed system, the entropy of that system will tend to increase. The more closed the system the more likely the increase in entropy. By 'closed' the law means that no energy is going in or out of the system. Evolution is clearly NOT a closed system. Radiation and heat are pouring in from the sun and stars. Radiation and heat are also flying off from the Earth back into space. Occasionally you might come across a creationist that gets a bit more clever and decides to apply the 2nd law to the entire Universe. This IS (by definition of universe) a closed system. It also is, overall, raising in entropy. Specifically the entropy of expansion. When the universe was very young it was a nice small place where everything was packed in very close. These days things are flying around all over the universe. A clear increase in entropy. Gish and others have also argued that some sort of 'driver' must convert incoming energy into the complexity. This isn't actually in the 2nd law. Even so, there is a known 'driver' in this case. We call it Biological Evolution. Beaches provide an excellent counterexample to the 2nd law arguments. The sand on most beaches is sorted with the larger grains of sand being further from the surf. Thus order has arisen from disorder with no intelligent beings having to do anything. The 2nd law according to physics has no problem with this as the beach is an open system but the 2nd law according to creationists clearly falters. Snowflakes also provide a nice counterexample. How could these complex yet orderly little flakes be forming in an unintelligent cloud? Biology 7. The chances of even trivial life forms occurring is infinitesimal. This is almost true. The chances one particular creature forming purely at random (eg put all the necessary atoms in a tank and stir) is extremely unlikely. However, the chances of any sort of life forming (given the chemical ratios found on Earth) via natural processes in billions of years are pretty good. As the latter is what evolution states, the former is irrelevant to the creation/evolution discussion. The creationists often give long mathematical arguments to back up the idea that life is extremely unlikely to form. Generally these arguments make two important assumptions. One is that chemistry and physics have no role in the formation. Molecule A is just as likely to attach to molecule B as it is to molecule C. This assumption is almost certainly false. The second assumption is that the cell (or whatever) was formed in one step. This is also very likely a false assumption. Let's say you have 40 dice. What are the chances of you rolling the dice and getting all 6's? Pretty bad! This is the chance of getting all 6's in just one step, but evolution doesn't propose that. Let's change the rules a bit to fit the proposed ideas a bit better. Roll the 40 dice. If you get 20 (or more) 6's then put them aside, otherwise roll again. Once you get the 20+ 6's just keep rolling your remaining dice and put all the 6's you roll off to the side with the other 6's. This is much more akin to what evolution is postulating and is also MUCH more likely to happen then the 'all at once' theory the creationists are trying to pass off as evolution. 8. Mutations are harmful yet evolution claims they are helpful. Large mutations are often harmful. Small mutations, however, are occasionally helpful to the mutant. Evolution never states that all mutations are helpful, just that some are. Also note that quite a few mutations are not really harmful or helpful. 9. Natural selection can't cause creatures to advance as it can't change a creature. This is only spouted (hopefully) by those who don't fully understand what evolution is. Mutation, not natural selection, causes the life forms to change. Natural selection just selects which ones are the most fit to survive long enough to reproduce. 10. Chance can't be responsible for such complex organisms. Rather like question #5. The mutations are random, natural selection isn't. Thus evolution is not entirely random. Thus chance isn't thought to be responsible for such complexity. 11. Natural selection is a circular concept. The fittest are those that survive and those that survive are fittest. It can be (and in fact has been) told before natural selection takes place which mutation will survive. Thus natural selection itself does not provide the sole definition of what is fittest. 12. It is known that complex organs do not just appear after one small mutation. The rudimentary organs, however, do not help the creature at all and thus should be repressed by natural selection. Natural selection only weeds out those that are not the fittest. If a mutation is neutral then it will not be supported nor will it be repressed. Also, one mutation may not cause just one effect. In this sort of case the overall fitness of the resulting creature will be judged, not just one part of one mutation. 13. No fossils have been found that show one structure evolving into another. A lie. There are several such cases. For instance, the evolution of horses' teeth are shown in _Science on Trail_ as they become more and more efficient at chewing vegetation. 14. If evolution was truly gradual then it should be impossible to classify one species from another. This sometimes is the case. In these cases the line is drawn at a more or less arbitrary spot for classification purposes. In other cases extinction has killed off enough types of the intermediate species to make classification easy. 15. Despite all the fossils found, many gaps still exist in the fossil record. What do you want? A movie? Adaptation to new conditions is thought to happen relatively rapidly so there isn't as much chance to catch a transitional form in a fossil. There are, however, good examples of many transitional forms in the record. Archaeopteryx, despite the ravings of creationists that hold this argument dear, is a good example of a creature that has many important reptile AND bird features. 16. If evolution is true then why do sharks and the like persist even though they have had no significant mutations in millions of years? This one was sprung on me in a live Roundtable Conference. I was so amazed that people could so misunderstand the theory of evolution that I could hardly type! If no mutation comes along that will make a creature more suitable to its environment then that creature will not change much. In the case of very adept creatures such as the shark the reason it hasn't evolved much is simply because nothing fitter has come along to take its niche from it. 17. Similar embryonic development and the similar designs of anatomy are examples of common designs used by the Creator, not of common ancestry. Anything and everything can be the fault of an omnipotent being. This is not something that can ever be proved false and is therefore unscientific. It also has problems in theology. Why is God so unoriginal and unimaginative? Why does He give useless body parts to creatures? To mislead us? 18. Vestigial structures aren't vestigial but functional. There is no reason (at least no scientific reason) to believe that vestigial parts actually have a purpose. Python's pelvic bones and the wings on some non-flying insects are good examples. 19. The fossil record is not an objective time sequence because one must assume that evolution occurred in order to use it. The first geological ordering of fossil strata was done by geologists who believed in creation! The method of dating has also been checked with radioactive dating among others and found reliable. The assumption that evolution took place need not be used. Geology 20. There is no proof that radioactive decay occurs at a constant rate so it isn't reliable. Not true. Radioactive dating has been checked against an incredible number of other dating methods in geology, astronomy and others. It has been found to be so reliable that radioactive clocks (based on radioactive decay) are preferable to any mechanical clock! {also see 37 and 38} 21. Geologists are breaking their own law of uniformitarianism. Even at the most rapidly conceivable rates natural forces could not account for deep sedimentation and continental drift without a time scale of millions of years. Uniformitarianism is an indicator of the time scales that are needed to form present geological features and has not been abandoned. 22. No one can know what happened before mankind was around to observe and record events. Oh really? There will be lots of police investigators out of a job once this gets out! It is only true if you take the word "know" to mean 100% certainty which, of course, is not possible under ANY circumstances. People figure out events that occurred with no people to directly observe them on a daily basis. A storm wakes you at night. The next morning you find your car seat all wet and your window open. You can deduce from this that the rain came through the window and soaked your seat. Unless, of course, you believe in #22 in which case you can make no statement at all concerning what happened because nobody was there to observe it happening. This statement can lead to a discussion of how certain you have to be to know something. The courts use the term "with no reasonable doubt." I propose that the doubts held by creationists are well beyond reason. Human's in particular 23. There are no intermediate fossils between humans and apes. All supposed missing links are either clearly ape or clearly human. (Similar argument 15 but for humans) The only reason that creationists don't believe that the fossils discovered aren't missing links is because it will destroy their view of the Bible. Examples of ape-like and man-like features both existing on the same fossil are abundant. The tools sometimes found along with these fossils also indicate the advancement of the line. 24. Why have races diverged in skin color and not in intelligence? Be careful! Somebody may be trying to trap you into a racist remark. Inteocolor is a minor adaptation or possibly just a neutral mutation. Thus skin color is ignored by natural selection while intelligence is promoted heavily. Because no race is more likely to gain a beneficial brain mutation, no race has pulled out ahead of another. 25. Evolution is racist. The word "racist" is a very tricky one. A white person can't hide in dark places as well as a dark person. If that is a racist remark then the natural selection part of evolution can be called racist. If, however, "racist" means that one race is less intelligent than another or that one race should dominate another then Evolutionary theories are not at all racist. As stated above, no race has an advantage in intelligence and, of course, evolution never says anything about how you should run your social system. 26. There is a huge gap in the evolution of emotion. I don't think it is any more huge than the gap between human and ape intelligence, IMHO. Intelligence tends to leave more signs of its development (eg stone tools) than emotion. There are examples, however, of primitive homo sapiens burying their dead. General Stuff 27. The study of evolution is in disarray! Creationists seem to confuse growth and self correction with chaos and disintegration. Considering their generally conservative nature this doesn't come as a big shock. There are debates going on about just how big the steps of mutation are, how much of a role natural selection has and other such details. There is no debate going on about whether or not life evolved. That has been a scientific fact for well over half a century. It's also interesting to note that Creation 'Science' is in disarray. Instead of wrestling with minor concepts like how big evolutionary steps are, however, the Creation 'Scientist' can't even decide on whether a day is 24hrs long or a billion years long! 28. Belief in evolution encourages "only the fit should survive" philosophy. First and foremost, what society does with the truth, once it discovers it, is not relevant. Does the creationist wish the truth hidden because s/he thinks society can't handle it? Wow, talk about censorship! Second, the statement isn't true. Natural selection dictates that the fit are more likely to survive. Nothing in natural science ever makes any statements on who should govern. It is simply outside the realm of those disciplines. Some Goodies Not Found In _Science on Trial_'s Appendix 29. Radioactive Halos I suggest reading Phil's (PANICHOLLES) article that can be found in GEnie's Religion and Ethics RT (page 390). Simply search on key word 'halos' and/or the author's Email address. 30. Short period comets could not have survived for billions of years. Thus the age of the solar system must be far less. Simple enough, short period comets haven't been short period comets for the entire life of the solar system. They are long period comets that have had their orbits changed by a close encounter with a planet. 30b. Long period comets also could not have survived for billions of years. Also simple. Long period comets have not been long period comets for the entire life of the solar system. They come from a cloud of comets, called the Oort cloud, that exists far out in the solar system. A few comets may have been captured from interstellar space. The Oort cloud has not been seen (to do so would be like trying to see a snowflake at arms length in a pitch dark room) yet but the orbits of many long period comets indicate that they started at more or less the same distance from the sun. 31. If the moon really was billions of years old it would have collected so much dust from space that it would be impossible to land on! There is practically no atmosphere on the moon. Thus, when the dust "falls" onto the moon nothing slows it down at all. Most of the time the dust will be moving at about the same speed as the sun around the galactic center. The moon, however, is revolving around the Earth which is revolving around the sun at a astronomical speed. Thus the dust rams into the moon very hard and tends to imbed itself into the moon's crust. Excavations on the moon indicate that this is true. Also, the dust accumulation number creationists use to arrive at their debth was measured on the Earth itself introducing massive error coming from volcanic ash and pollution. The scientist who arrived at this number even said so in his report but the creation "scientists" somehow managed to miss this. Actually, by plugging in all the numbers, you can get a ballpark figure on the age of the moon. Direct measurements made in space show that about 10^(-16) grams of dust fall on each square centimeter per second. The dust on the moon goes down into the crust about 10 meters with the dust making up about 1.5% of the crust. That means that the dust in the crust would be, if it had not imbedded itself, about 15 centimeters deep. Assuming the dust is about as dense as water, that would correspond to about 1.5 billion years. Like I said, this is very much a ballpark figure. It is more than accurate enough, however, to prove without a reasonable doubt that the moon is easily over one million years old. (Or perhaps some god-like being decided to create the moon's crust with a bunch of cosmic dust already built in??) 32. The First Law of Thermodynamics states that the total quantity of matter and energy in the universe is constant. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that matter and energy always tend to change from complex and ordered states to disordered states. Therefore the universe could not have created itself, but could not have existed forever, or it would have run down long ago. Thus the universe, including matter and energy, apparently must have been created. {taken verbatim from "Summary of Scientific Evidence for Creation" by Gish, Bliss and reviewed by Bird as found in _Evolution vs. Creationism_ from Orxy Press} I like this one because it has so many errors in it. First off, they should have probably said "Conservation of Energy" instead of "First Law of Thermodynamics." The statement is still true, however. Also, the Second Law quote leaves out the 'closed system condition' as is common for Creationists. The only way I can think of to get the "Therefore" to work out is to say that the Universe had 0 energy BEFORE it was created. If that were the case, the Universe would have to have an overall increase of energy at its creation. This, however, is like me saying that my private jet has no eggs in it. I don't own a jet at all so the statement is meaningless! How could the Universe have 0 (or any other level) energy BEFORE it came to be? Even worse, physics only claims to work up to a point just after the beginning of time, thus trying to invoke physical laws when talking about the very first instant of the Universe isn't justified. They also bash on the old 'steady state' theory in illegal ways. This theory holds that the Universe has always been around. Creationists claim that this is impossible because the 2nd law would have run everything down infinitely long ago. That is true if you assume a finite volume for the Universe, which the steady state theory does not. [Note the Steady State theory isn't believed by anyone that I know of but for different reasons than the 2nd law.] 33. Based on the present rate of the Earth's cooling, the time required for the Earth to have reached its present thermal structure seems to be only several tens of millions of years, even assuming that the Earth was initially molten. {same source as #32} This argument was first made by Lord Kelvin in the 1860's. It caused much debate and worry for several years until radioactivity was discovered. It turns out the the heat released by radioactive decay within the Earth is enough to keep the present thermal structure intact. There are also other assumptions that appeared reasonable at the time but were later found to be false. 34. If evolution is false then creationism is true. Creation 'scientists' often assume that disproving the scientific viewpoint automatically makes them the default model. There are, of course, MANY MANY other theories of how life arose. The aspiring creationist must show his/her model and support it, not just disprove evolution. 35. Piltdown man was a hoax. Yep, and the evolutionists discovered it to be a hoax. Science is self correcting, though sometimes it takes a few decades to do so. But so what? Is the creationist trying to say that maybe all the fossil data is a hoax?? That will take considerably more effort than just pointing to one or two past mistakes! 36. The Earth's magnetic field is decaying exponentially. If one extrapolates back one finds that the magnetic fields of the Earth would be unbearable for life 20,000 years ago. The Earth's field seems to be decaying linearly actually. It is well known that the Earth's magnetic field changes. (See the spreading floor of the Atlantic ocean, for instance.) The magnetic poles even switch every once in awhile! Thus the extrapolation is unfounded. 37. Reversal of the Earth's magnetic field could cause radioactive decay rates to change. It's amazing to see how many creationists believe both #36 and this argument. Needless to say, there is absolutely no evidence to support this at all. The Earth's magnetic field does not appear to have any effect on radioactive decay. 38. Cosmic rays could have changed the atomic clocks. Maxwell took some polonium down 1150 feet below the surface and found no change in its activity. Cosmic rays can effect radioactive decay but the effect is so small that it is of no consequence to dating. The idea of supernovae resetting atomi clocks is based on Dudley's "neutrino sea" theory which has since been shown to be false. Well, there's most of the main arguments and a quick answer to each one. If you have any questions (or corrections) about this file then Email me (on GEnie) at R.BINGHAM2 or, better yet, post the question in the current evolution/creation debate topic of GEnie's Religion/Ethics RT.

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