Making a monkey out of evolutionists

In a Vine clip that has since been played nearly 100,000 times in just the first six hours of its publication, the retired neurosurgeon [Ben Carson] explained why he conceded the atheist’s claim…

I was engaged in a debate in Hollywood with a leading atheist.” The individual, Carson explained, “thinks anybody who believes in God is a total moron.

According to the narrative, the debate ended shortly after the atheist expressed some particularly deprecating thoughts about those who believe the biblical story of creation.

I said, ‘You know what? You’re right,’” …“I believe I came from God,” he told the other individual, “and you believe you came from a monkey; and you’ve convinced me you’re right.”

Quote source

Agee, C. (2015). When Ben Carson Came Under Attack From An Atheist, He Silenced Him With One Brilliant Line. Western Journalism. Available http://www.westernjournalism.com/when-ben-carson-came-under-attack-from-an-atheist-he-silenced-him-with-one-brilliant-line/. Last accessed 22nd Aug 2017.

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Scientific consensus: a crutch for scientism

Time for a triad of quotes. To start, look out for the word consensus in this statement from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2009:

As the U.S. Senate considers climate change legislation, AAAS joined with leading scientific organizations to send a letter to all senators reaffirming the scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and that greenhouse gases from human activities are the primary driver.

Second is this highly biased letter to the editor from Tom Fehringer in 2013; while it makes reference to evidence, note too its reliance on consensus:

Evolution has overwhelming evidence to support it, whereas creationism has none…

In an article about people that reject scientific consensus, Steven Novella MD made the following observation, “It seems absurd, when you really look at it, to substitute your own opinion based upon reading a smattering of simplified popular writings for that of the consensus of scientific experts who live and breath[e] the science. Humility and reason dictate that the consensus view should be given appropriate respect…Just be extremely cautious before you believe your opinions trump those of hundreds or thousands of working scientists.”…

The short version of this is that, due to overwhelming evidence there is a scientific consensus in support of the theory of evolution; there isn’t any scientific evidence to support creationism; and the attempts to discredit science and evolution are invalid and misleading.

Now, remembering that word (consensus), read this analysis from Jay W. Richards in 2017:

So how do we distinguish, as Andrew Coyne puts it, “between genuine authority and mere received wisdom? And how do we tell crankish imperviousness to evidence from legitimate skepticism?” Do we have to trust whatever we’re told is based on a scientific consensus unless we can study the science ourselves? When can you doubt a consensus? When should you doubt it?

Your best bet is to look at the process that produced, defends and transmits the supposed consensus. I don’t know of any complete list of signs of suspicion. But here’s a checklist to decide when you can, even should, doubt a scientific “consensus,” whatever the subject

A consensus should be based on solid evidence. But a consensus is not itself the evidence. And with well-established scientific theories, you never hear about consensus. No one talks about the consensus that the planets orbit the sun, that the hydrogen molecule is lighter than the oxygen molecule, that salt is sodium chloride, that bacteria sometimes cause illness, or that blood carries oxygen to our organs. The very fact that we hear so much about a consensus on climate change may be enough to justify suspicion.

To adapt that old legal rule, when you’ve got solid scientific evidence on your side, you argue the evidence.

When you’ve got great arguments, you make the arguments.

When you don’t have solid evidence or great arguments, you claim consensus.

Quote sources

  1. Somers, B. (2009). AAAS Joins Leading Scientific Organizations in Letter to Senators Reaffirming Scientific Consensus on Climate Change. Available https://www.aaas.org/news/aaas-joins-leading-scientific-organizations-letter-senators-reaffirming-scientific-consensus. Last accessed 1st May 2017
  2. Fehringer, T. (2013) Scientific Consensus in Support of the Theory of Evolution [letter to the editor]. South Platte Sentinel, July 10. Available http://www.southplattesentinel.com/2013/07/scientific-consensus-support-theory-evolution/. Last accessed 1st May 2017
  3. Richards, J.W. (2017). Heading into Today’s March, Here’s When to Doubt a Scientific “Consensus”. Evolution News and Science Today. Available https://www.evolutionnews.org/2017/04/heading-into-todays-march-heres-when-to-doubt-a-scientific-consensus/. Last accessed 1st May 2017

Evolutionists forgetting their reflection in the mirror

According to Jason Rosenhouse:

Stephen Jay Gould once observed that creationists are “singularly devoid of shame” in their willingness to use any argument, no matter how vacuous or frequently refuted, in making their case against evolution.

But that’s an easy argument to counter. Let’s see how leading evolutionists stack up:

Compared with other works of this type, [evolutionist Jerry A.] Coyne’s book puts much emphasis on biogeography and on peculiar adaptations of certain living things [to support the case for evolution]. In this review, I analyze the evolutionary arguments and do not generally attempt to present creationist alternatives, of which there are many, and almost none of which are even mentioned by Coyne…

Predictably, Coyne parrots all the standard anticreationist arguments that can be found in virtually every book of this type. For instance, he brings up the vitamin-C pseudogene (pp. 67–69), even though it does not require an evolutionary explanation. He trots out the myth of 98.5% human-chimp DNA identicity (p. 195). Antibiotic resistance is supposed to prove evolution (pp. 4, 130), and macroevolution is explicitly claimed to be nothing more than microevolution given more time (p. 236)…

Coyne manages to hoist himself on his own petard. He suggests that, before the days of modern medicine, 1% of humans died from appendicitis—a death rate which he calls “pretty strong natural selection” (p. 61). As to the obvious question why the appendix has not long ago been eliminated by natural selection, Coyne can only offer ad hoc speculations (p. 62). He imagines that natural selection may not be able to shrink the appendix further without making it even more harmful. Or perhaps modern medicine appeared in history at just the time the human appendix was coincidentally on the verge of disappearance!

Quote sources

  1. Rosenhouse, J. (2006). Is Natural Selection a Tautology? Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Available http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/is_natural_selection_a_tautology. Last accessed 25th Nov 2016.
  2. Woodmorappe, J. (2010). Why Evolution Need Not be True. Creation Ministries International. Available http://creation.com/review-coyne-why-evolution-is-true. Last accessed 25th Nov 2016.

Evolutionists repeating the same shaky arguments

[Evolutionist Michael] Shermer dragged out the vestigial organs [argument for evolution] citing human appendix, tail bone, male nipples and wings on flightless birds as examples that evolution had no need of. I don’t know where he has been but it is known from science that the appendix is part of the immune system, strategically located at the entrance of the almost sterile ileum from the colon with its normally high bacterial content. Recent research shows that it’s a safe house for bacteria so the colon can be repopulated with beneficial bacteria after dysentery has cleared them out. The tonsils have a similar immune function in the entrance to the pharynx.

In a recent article in New Scientist, Laura Spinney discusses the ‘vestigial organs’ notion, and claims that it is still a viable concept despite having taken such a battering at the hands of modern medical science. She notes that ‘these days many biologists are extremely wary of talking about vestigial organs at all’.

Spinney reflects that this ‘may be because the subject has become a battlefield for creationists and the intelligent design lobby … .’

It was indeed a battlefield—a battlefield long won by biblical creationists, which is why we’re seeing the current attempted fight back by the skeptics.

Quote source

Hartnett, J. (2016). Skeptic Shermer Resorts to Ridicule Because the Science Is Weak. Bible Science Forum. Available http://biblescienceforum.com/2016/01/30/skeptic-shermer-resorts-to-ridicule-because-the-science-is-weak/. Last accessed 14 Mar 2016.

The next generation of creationists in science and medicine

A growing number of science students on British campuses and in sixth form colleges are challenging the theory of evolution and arguing that Darwin was wrong…

Earlier this month Muslim medical students in London distributed leaflets that dismissed Darwin’s theories as false. Evangelical Christian students are also increasingly vocal in challenging the notion of evolution…

Most of the next generation of medical and science students could well be creationists, according to a biology teacher at a leading London sixth-form college. “The vast majority of my students now believe in creationism,” she said, “and these are thinking young people who are able and articulate and not at the dim end at all. They have extensive booklets on creationism which they put in my pigeon-hole.”

Quote source

Campbell, D. (2006). Academics Fight Rise of Creationism at Universities. The Guardian. Available http://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/feb/21/religion.highereducation. Last accessed 31st Dec 2015.

Creation evangelism that led people back to Christ

According to Todd Strandberg:

Because salvation is the most important issue for us to be spending our time and energy on, all Christian endeavors need to be productive in the area of winning people for the Kingdom of God. When it comes to soul winning, arguing about creationism simply does not carry any weight…

The Church has a proven history of using faith to triumph over science. When Christians switched to battling with the weapon of science, they began suffering one defeat after another.

With faith being given out freely to all who seek truth, Christians have no need to be in the business of mixing science with religion. With prayer, we have the ability to supernaturally win over even the most stubborn evolutionists. I think creationism is harmful because it distracts from what is clearly a better way to win people to the Kingdom of God.

It’s bearing false witness to claim that “creationism simply does not carry any weight” in soul winning.

What, so God’s Word in Genesis is evangelistic filler? No way—Genesis can be the hit single—as told by Ken Ham:

This is why we at Answers in Genesis [AiG] do what we do. We want to equip the church to stand on the authority of God’s Word from the very beginning and provide solid answers for the skeptical questions of this age..

And, praise the Lord, we often hear from people who have had their lives forever changed because God brought AiG resources into their lives. Recently I shared the story of a gentleman from the Netherlands who was seriously doubting the Christian faith. He had received teaching that compromised Genesis with millions of years and evolution, and he ended up leaving Christianity altogether. But, eventually, he found our website and was able to get solid, uncompromising answers to the questions that he had, and his faith in God and in His Word was restored…People all over the world like him are why we do what we do!

Quote sources

  1. Strandberg, T. (n.d.) Evolutionism vs. Creationism: A Pointless Debate. Rapture Ready. Available http://www.raptureready.com/rr-ec-debate.html. Last accessed 13th Sep 2015.
  2. Ham, K. (2015). Why We Do What We Do. Answers in Genesis. Available https://answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2015/03/31/why-we-do-what-we-do-aig/. Last accessed 13th Sep 2015.

Eels, their prey, and evolutionists all confused

The evolutionist Sam M believed that electric eels got their electrical stunning abilities through evolution. He said:

The earlier stages of the electric eel would not have paralyzed their prey, but would they have simply confused it? If the eel is hunting prey that is used to using its own electrical field to help navigate, and the eel’s minor charge is enough to throw that off, that could be enough of a benefit the allow the eel to catch prey more often compared to the eels whose charge did not affect the navigation of their prey.

It’s a very small benefit, of course, but small benefits lead to large changes when given millions of years. If their environment is as such that having the ability to give an electrical discharge, regardless of how small, benefits the species, then one would expect that this would carry on for future generations. As this continued, those who were born with gradually stronger voltages, therefore having a somewhat greater effect on prey, would again be more likely to catch prey, defend themselves, and breed.

Remember that there are ways to look at any one species and see rational ways that they could have evolved over time.

Does this “rational way” of speculation hold water? Gavin B replied with:

Sam M says, “the earlier stages of the electric eel would not have paralyzed their prey, but would they have simply confused it?” Yet Dominic [Statham] already argued that they [eels] had to produce protective mechanisms at the same time as they developed their deadly electric generation ability, to protect them from paralyzing themselves.

So if they were only able to confuse their prey, this doesn’t resolve the issue of having to develop a protective mechanism at the same time, or they would have confused themselves. Then you would have a confused eel and a confused fish at the same time.

I doubt whether a confused eel could catch a confused fish.

Quote sources

Statham, D. (2014). Stunning and stealthy: the amazing electric eel [article comments]. Creation Ministries International. Available http://creation.com/electric-eel. Last accessed 13th Sep 2015.