To: All Msg #17, Mar2693 04:26AM Subject: Re: the 747 from a junkyard argument In article
To: All Msg #17, Mar-26-93 04:26AM
Subject: Re: the 747 from a junkyard argument
Organization: Univ. of Notre Dame
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (scharle)
Reply-To: email@example.com (scharle)
In article <1993Mar24.174155.275@ucsu.Colorado.EDU>, apodaca@spot.Colorado.EDU
|> I have heard the argument from a creationist that the beginning
|> of life as stated by the theory of evolution is equivalent to the
|> spontaneous formation of an airplane from the randomly scattered
|> parts in a junk yard. I've thought about it and for the life of me
|> can't figure out what this analogy has to do with the theory of
|> Could someone please explain this to me and give me an effective
|> argument to refute the assertion if I encounter it again?
|> : tomas
|> : apodaca@spot.Colorado.EDU
First of all, one has to identify "evolution" with "origin of
life", or, for that matter, "origin of the universe". A mistake,
of course, but a simple matter of lack of appropriate information.
The second point is that creationists have a propensity for
arguing in analogies (rather than using something abstract, like
logic), so that it becomes the obligation of the other party to
(1) guess what the real argument is behind the analogy (2) prove
to the creationist that that is what the real argument is and then
(3) show that the real argument has a flaw. Furthermore, the
argument may be several analogies rolled into one, as I think it
is in this case. And it's probably a _very_ difficult job to get
a creationist to untangle the mess. (I don't know why we have to
do their work for them, but that's the way it goes.)
Others will probably point out the pseudo-second-law-of-
thermodynamics analogy. I don't disagree with that analysis, but
I think there is another one here, too.
My analysis of the 747 argument:
I believe that 747 argument is an analogy for the "argument
from design", modified from a proof for the existence of God into
an argument against "evolution" (as mis-described above).
In this case, it is presenting a case in which a 747 is the
designed thing, and the junkyard is the raw materials. Everyone
can see that the 747 is the solution to a certain problem.
Therefore there was a designer of the 747. (I think that the
junkyard is excess verbiage for the argument in this form.)
Then transfer this to the case of a living thing. Everyone
can see that there is a problem for which the living thing is a
solution. Therefore there is a designer of ...
a) the problem
b) the solution
The creationist says (b), while stricter parallelism says (a).
That is, the non-creationist says that we have framed the problem
after having seen the solution. That _we_ are the only designer
which we can prove to exist.
There is a (to be honest, fairly subtle) shift in the wording
which makes the creationist's analogy break down.
Tom Scharle |scharle@irishmvs
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank