Evolutionists guilty of the “Gish Gallop”

According to the Speaking of Research website:

Gish Gallop is a technique, named after the creationist Duane Gish who employed it, whereby someone argues a cause by hurling as many different half-truths and no-truths into a very short space of time so that their opponent cannot hope to combat each point in real time. This leaves some points unanswered and allows the original speaker to try and claim his opponent lacks the counter-arguments.

But surely the evolutionists wouldn’t stoop to that level…

Kenneth Miller is an ardent evolutionist and anti-creationist. He has a long history of debating scientific creationists, and is credited with being a crafty debater. One of his techniques is known as ‘spread debating’, i.e. reeling off a series of arguments (many of them straw men) in rapid succession that can’t all be refuted in the time available, leaving the naïve in the audience with the impression that the creationist can’t answer them all…

Miller falsely claims that creationists seek God in the gaps of knowledge, but creationists always say that evolution is discredited precisely because of what we do know, e.g. information theory. It’s also notable that an author praised for his logic argues from his faulty premise about creationists and commits a beginner’s mistake in logic as follows (p. 266):

‘If a lack of scientific explanation is proof of God’s existence, the counterlogic is impeccable: a successful scientific explanation is an argument against God.’

This is an example of the fallacy of denying the antecedent. Compare:

‘If a suspect’s absence from the city where a stabbing occurred is proof of his innocence of the stabbing, then the counterlogic is impeccable: proof that he was in the city is an argument against his innocence.’

We’re just glad that the local police don’t use Millerian ‘logic’ on us every time someone is stabbed in our area.

Quote sources

  1. Speaking of Research (2012). Gish Gallop. Available https://speakingofresearch.com/2012/09/11/gish-gallop/. Last accessed 24th Sep 2018.
  2. Woodmorappe, J. & Sarfati, J. (2001). Mutilating Miller: A Review of Finding Darwin’s God. Creation Ministries International. Available https://creation.com/review-finding-darwins-god-by-kenneth-miller. Last accessed 24th Sep 2018.
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The Biblical creationist view of the Oort Cloud

Ed Morris, an Old Earth creationist said:

But besides this, [Jonathan] Sarfati does not really provide any evidence against the standard explanation that comets are formed in what is called the Oort cloud, and thus the supply is steadily replenished. He mentions what he calls “a total absence of observational evidence” for the Oort cloud, but that is hardly a convincing proof that either it or something else along similar lines does not exist.

But John Hartnett, a Biblical creationist, said:

It was proposed that because the solar system has been around 5 billion years, there must be some huge, yet unobserved, cloud of cometary material—called the Oort Cloud—way outside, but in a spherical halo around, the solar system. It is alleged that the Oort Cloud has had sufficient mass to fuel the comets for all that time.

Telescopes observe a donut shaped ring of planetoids outside Neptune’s orbit—called the Kuiper Belt—but where is the Oort Cloud? Never been observed. But don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Quote sources

  1. Morris, E. (2005). A Nonexpert Review of the Book “Refuting Compromise” by Jonathan Sarfati. Available http://www.noble-minded.org/sarfati_review.html. Last accessed 30th Aug 2015.
  2. Hartnett, J. (2015). Development of an “Old” Universe in Science. Available http://johnhartnett.org/2015/07/30/development-of-an-old-universe-in-science/. Last accessed 30th Aug 2015.

Followers of Jesus ought not to reject his teachings

This was said by someone who follows Jesus—yet rejects some of his teachings on the Old Testament:

When I was studying to be a minister, a friend once confided in me that he did not believe in creation in 6 days. I was horrified, not because he didn’t believe this, but because he thought that I did believe this, and he thought that this was what Christian faith is about.

The sacred texts of Christian—and Jewish—faith are complex, difficult and beautiful but it is clear that the creation accounts are not meant to be read literally.

I think the word “literally” is used as an out clause for deferring to scientism. Now compare that with someone who follows Jesus—and accepts his teachings on the Old Testament:

After this, God chose to deal specially with only one man of His sovereign choosing, Abraham, and a people group descended from him. Genesis 12–50 explains their origin. However, this is linked with the first 11 chapters of Genesis. It is inconsistent for professing evangelical colleges to claim that real history begins only with Abraham, because Genesis 11 traces his ancestry back to Shem, the son of Noah, and Luke 3 traces it all the way back to Adam. It’s strange to think that a man could be real if his father was mythological!

Quote sources

  1. Douglas, S. (2015). Life, the Universe and Everything. Richmond Uniting Church. Available http://richmond.unitingchurch.org.au/2015/01/life-the-universe-and-everything/. Last accessed 1 Aug 2015.
  2. Sarfati, J. (2000). Genesis correctly predicts Y-Chromosome pattern: Jews and Arabs shown to be descendants of one man! Creation Ministries International. Available http://creation.com/genesis-correctly-predicts-y-chromosome-pattern. Last accessed 1 Aug 2015.

Getting to the bottom of a flat earth

[John] Heilbron’s book The Sun in the Church shows that church-supported astronomers used the cathedrals themselves as solar observatories—hence the subtitle of the book, Cathedrals as Solar Observatories. This would have made no sense if the church had been antiscience…

The authors also use Jeffrey Burton Russell’s Inventing the Flat Earth, a well-documented book that demolishes the charge that the church taught a flat earth. Prof. Russell can find only five obscure writers in the first 1,500 years of the Christian era who denied that the earth was a globe. But he documents a large number of famous Christian scholars, including the venerable Bede and Thomas Aquinas, who affirmed the earth’s sphericity. Rather, the flat earthism was a totally baseless myth fostered by 19th-century writers with a huge anti-Christian axe to grind.

Quote source

Hardaway, B. & Sarfati, J. (2004). Countering Christophobia [book review] Creation Ministries International. Available http://creation.com/countering-christophobia. Last accessed 25th Jul 2015.

Evolution: a good fit with bad theology

This from Michael Shermer:

Can one be a conservative Christian and a Darwinian? Yes. Here’s how. Evolution fits well with good theology. Christians believe in an omniscient and omnipotent God. What difference does it make when God created the universe—10,000 years ago or 10,000,000,000 years ago? The glory of the creation commands reverence regardless of how many zeroes in the date. And what difference does it make how God created life—spoken word or natural forces? The grandeur of life’s complexity elicits awe regardless of what creative processes were employed. Christians (indeed, all faiths) should embrace modern science for what it has done to reveal the magnificence of the divine in a depth and detail unmatched by ancient texts.

But Jonathan Sarfati (and Jacques Monod) beg to differ:

We easily forget the warning of people like the late leading biologist Jacques Monod. He said that evolution is the cruellest, most wasteful, and inefficient way that anyone could imagine of creating the world. I think Monod is right. Evolution leaves us with a supposed God of love who uses a cruel and wasteful process to eliminate the unfit.

Quote sources

  1. Shermer, M. (2006). Darwin on the Right: Why Christians and Conservatives Should Accept Evolution. Scientific American. Available http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/darwin-on-the-right/. Last accessed 11th Jul 2015.
  2. Sarfati, J. (2014). The Greatest Hoax: Evolutionary Theory is Riddled with Contradictions. Creation Ministries International. Available http://creation.com/greatest-hoax. Last accessed 11th Jul 2015.

Atheistic reasoning shown to fall short

Michael P (an atheistic apologist) said this:

The happiness and suffering of other human beings matter such that we should all seek, whenever possible, to increase their happiness and decrease their suffering. Morality is required for human social structures and human communities to survive. Neither the presence nor the absence of any god can change this. Morals were in place long before the Judeo-Christian beliefs came into being. While religious theists may find that their beliefs impact their moral decisions, they cannot claim that their beliefs are prerequisites for making moral decisions. That is called the Appeal to Belief fallacy. Nor can they claim that being an atheist prohibits the employment of moral thoughts, acting in a moral way, and/or making moral decisions. That too is fallacious and known as Ad Hominem.

If you want to present an argument about the morality of abortion, please, by all means, do so. It is a valid argument. One that I struggle with, as do many “believers” that I know. But to generalize about atheists at the level you have and to use both the Ad Hominem and Appeal to Belief fallacies removes your credibility. Adding fuel to fear tactics is also very unappealing.

But Jonathan Sarfati (a Christian) countered the atheist with this:

I am very familiar with logical fallacies—see my paper Loving God with all your mind: logic and creation.

But you have misunderstood our “moral argument”, which is further explained in Bomb-building vs. the biblical foundation:

Our argument is not that atheists cannot live ‘good’ lives, but that there is no objective basis for their goodness if we are just rearranged pond scum.

Also, from a biblical perspective, morals predated societies. God gave Adam a command when he was the only man alive. Cain committed the first murder, then afterwards built the first city.

Also, in What is ‘good’? (Answering the Euthyphro Dilemma), I’ve asked:

The Euthyphro Dilemma can be turned around on atheists: Do you approve of an action because it is good, or is it good because you approve of it? If the latter, then your moral standard seems to be subjective and arbitrary, so you complain about God’s alleged arbitrariness. And if the former, then you are back to explaining where this objective moral standard comes from. As shown above, evolution can’t provide this, so the above Divine Nature Theory is back on the table.

Similarly for social theories of good—is something good because society makes a rule about it, or does society make a rule about it because it’s good?

The above Logic paper also presented a sound argument against abortion.

Quote source

Sarfati, J. (2012). Abortion ‘after birth’? Medical ‘ethicists’ promote infanticide. Creation Ministries International. Available http://creation.com/abortion-after-birth. Last accessed 6th Jul 2015.

Believe in The Incarnation, not liberal theologians

Liberal theologians often assert that modern scientific man cannot believe in the miracles widely accepted in a more primitive age. The following reasons have been advanced…:

The ancients were more ignorant than the moderns. Back then, they were unscientific, and could believe in miracles like the virginal conception. Now that we are scientific and modern, we know how babies are conceived, so we should not believe those stories.

Comment: the ancients knew very well how babies are made—needing both a man and a woman, although they did not know certain details about spermatozoa and ova. In fact, Joseph (Mt. 1:19) and Mary (Lk. 1:34) questioned the announcements of the Virginal Conception because they did know the facts of life, not because they did not! Similarly, ancients didn’t know about bacterial enzyme-catalyzed hydrolysis of basic amino acids producing diaminoalkanes which strongly stimulate olfactory receptors, but they knew that a corpse will stink after a few days, and they informed Jesus of this before He raised Lazarus from the dead.

Quote source

Sarfati, J. (2014). The Virginal Conception of Christ. Creation Ministries International. Available http://creation.com/the-virginal-conception-of-christ. Last accessed 30th May 2015