I came across an interesting article on Mashable today. It was called “5 Common Evolution Myths, Debunked” (http://mashable.com/2014/07/29/evolution-myths-debunked). As of last count it had been shared around 3,000 times and the accompanying video had been viewed over 13,000 times. The article goes into more depth on the topic than the video. Although they don’t mention creationism even once, it is obvious that the purpose of the post was to answer what they believe are common creationist arguments. They are partly right and partly wrong. Many of their “myths” they list are unfortunately often cited by what major creationist organizations would probably label as ‘armchair creationists’. In other words those who know what they believe but not WHY they believe it. We sometimes use the term towards our opponents. Most of the people who cause a fuss towards creationists are actually ‘armchair scientists’ – those who accept whatever they read in science media, but don’t know WHY they accept it.
Let’s jump into it. Myth # 1: “It’s just a theory”. I completely agree with them here. This is number one problematic statement creationists tend to make. Theory in everyday language means something different in scientific settings. It does mean the most comprehensive explanation of the evidence. I believe that evolutionists honestly believe that evolution is the most comprehensive explanation of the evidence. I don’t count them down on this point. It actually IS the best naturalistic-only theory. If you define science as being naturalistic-only, then this is your theory.
One problem is those ‘armchair scientists’ who equate scientific theory with fact. Whenever you label a scientific theory ‘fact’, you’ve now inhibited scientific progress. Since the scientific community now considers evolution fact they now treat all new evidence as having to conform to the theory instead of learning what the evidence may really mean. I’ve heard it said many times – all you have to do is find a rabbit in the Cambrian and our theory is junked. I don’t believe them. What they are basically saying is – one evidence out of place invalidates us. But what they really do is different.
When scientists began to find red blood cells and soft tissue in dinosaurs they were attacked (some fired) for their findings. It was until they developed what sounded like an appropriate response that they began to acknowledge the findings. They needed to find a way to fit this new evidence into their current theory. Is that exploring new knowledge or is that confirmation bias? If they found a rabbit in the Cambrian today it would probably be labeled ‘contamination’ until they could find a way to explain it away and keep their theory… because they don’t believe it’s a theory, they believe it is fact.
Myth #2 is “Humans are not currently evolving”. I’ve heard a few select creationists use this, but it is extremely ignorant and an unnecessary argument. Everything changes – that IS observable fact. To deny that is to deny air. Major creationist organizations do not argue that no form of evolution occurs, they argue that change of kind of creature does not occur. Natural selection, the small adaptations to environment, is obvious.
Trying to equate humans developing a resistance to lactose with all creatures on earth sharing a common ancestor is ludicrous. Those are two different topics. They want you to believe that since they observed this change in one species, and since they observe changes in all species, that if you add enough of these up over time that you can trace everyone back to a common ancestor. Did you notice where one part was observable science and one was a belief system?
Myth #3 is “Individuals organism can evolve in a single life span”. I think the argument they are trying to combat here is when someone says “my daddy don’t look like a monkey”. The reaction is – well, evolution doesn’t work like that… it takes a long, long time – in a galaxy far, far away. J
First of all, no I don’t agree with this line of creationist argument. Although I understand the point they are trying to make, you don’t set up a straw man to knock it down. The article says “new gene variants are produced by random mutation”. Are they able to clarify? All we’ve ever seen mutation do is rearrange existing DNA information. What they don’t admit is that we’ve never seen “random mutation” create NEW information. You have to admit that for me to believe that an amoeba is in my family line – I’m going to need to see a mechanism that can increase (and not just reassemble) information. No such mechanism exists. In fact genetics seems to be confirming the exact opposite. Since deleterious mutations far outweigh beneficial ones, we are actually degrading over time (genetic entropy).
Myth #4 is “Evolution isn’t science because it’s not observable or testable”. Again you need to define what you mean by evolution. Yes, change occurs. Yes, natural selection occurs. Yes, adaptation to environment occurs. No, kinds of animals do not change into other kinds even over eons of time. The article uses examples of bacteria evolving into bacteria as their master evidence of evolution? Is that all they got?
Myth #5 is “Humans can’t have evolved from monkeys because monkeys still exist”. I will give them credit for this one! More creationists need to understand that evolution does not teach that monkeys evolved into humans – it teaches that monkeys and humans shared a common ancestor. But the issue does raise a much bigger, probably more interesting question: what about all the “living fossils”? Creatures alive today that resemble almost perfectly their millions-of-years old ancient ancestors?
Let’s take it one step farther… if evolution is true then how do we know we can trust our senses? If we are constantly changing and evolving – who is to say we have developed proper knowledge to actually test our world? Of course I’m facetious here. The fact is we CAN test our world accurately and it returns consistent results. This seems to speak of a creator that set up the universe to work in a consistent, orderly fashion complete with laws. Science is possible because the universe was designed to work orderly unlike how it would have turned out if unguided, random processes were at play. That is #1 proof of creation. If a 2-year-old throws paint at a canvas randomly it doesn’t tend to create an intelligent landscape portrait as a skilled painter would. Now beyond that, atheists also have to admit that it wasn’t even a 2-year-old, the paint created itself and threw itself at the canvas.
This article has some good points about arguments that many ‘armchair creationists’ need to learn but not because the opposite position is correct. We need to continue learning more about their position to be able to accurately respond to their claims.