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Author Topic:   What are common creationist strawmen?
jt
Member (Idle past 3769 days)
Posts: 239
From: Upper Portion, Left Coast, United States
Joined: 04-26-2004


Message 1 of 31 (105329)
05-04-2004 6:39 PM


Hi everybody.

I am a creationist, and have been for my entire life. What want are some common creationists strawmen? I.e., what do we attack that you do not actually claim? I have accidentally set up strawmen a couple times, and don't want to do it again.

Thanks.

PS. I am not asking to be told how creationists misinterpret data, or are unscientific, etc. This is not a debate, I am merely seeking enlightenment.

[This message has been edited AdminSylas, 05-04-2004]

[This message has been edited JT, 05-04-2004]


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AdminSylas
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 31 (105334)
05-04-2004 6:55 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

This is a fair question, but answers potentially cover a lot of ground. The guidelines actually request that threads are a bit more focussed that this.

I'm approving, but I request that contributors confine themselves to fairly short answers to the question, and open up new threads (or link to existing threads) for any detailed discussion of aspects of evolution.

[This message has been edited AdminSylas, 05-04-2004]


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jt
Member (Idle past 3769 days)
Posts: 239
From: Upper Portion, Left Coast, United States
Joined: 04-26-2004


Message 3 of 31 (105336)
05-04-2004 7:09 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by AdminSylas
05-04-2004 6:55 PM


Ok
AdminSylas,
I edited the post to make it more specific, i.e. just strawmen, not all aspects of evolution.
Thanks
This message is a reply to:
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Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 31 (105346)
05-04-2004 7:29 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by jt
05-04-2004 6:39 PM


I am assuming that this is going to be used as a guide for your own personal research instead of as a starting point for debate in this thread. So, I will list a few that I see the most, but are totally unrelated:

{strawman: what evolution actually states)

1. Evolution is a completely random process: The major mechanisms of evolution are random mutations and natural selection. Selection is not random.

2. Evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics: Well, it doesn't, to put it bluntly. An input of energy can drive a system towards higher entropic order. The input of energy for the earth is the sun.

3. The origin of life and the evolution of life are the same theory: Again, just not true. Evolution requires that life is present, while the origin of life (abiogenesis) is how that life came be. A little similie. Mining for iron is to abiogenesis as car manufacturing is to evolution. You can't have evolution without life, but the two are not related.


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PaulK
Member
Posts: 15083
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 5 of 31 (105348)
05-04-2004 7:37 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Loudmouth
05-04-2004 7:29 PM


Stephen Jay Gould and Punctuated Equilibria
Stephen Jay Gould did not claim that there are no transitional fossils.

Punctuated equilibria was not invented to explain the basence of transitionals in general (it applied evolutinarty theory to the fossil record and explained why fine-grained intermediates were rare).

Punctuated equilibria is not a theory of saltation - it does not propose "hopeful monsters".

The criticisms of phyletic graduialism (often called simply "gradualism") offered by supporters of Puncutated Equilibria are not criticisms of evolution. Or even really of Darwin's theory, let alone mroe modern formulations.

[This message has been edited PaulK, 05-04-2004]


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Lammy
Member
Posts: 3608
From: Chicago
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 6 of 31 (105349)
05-04-2004 7:38 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by jt
05-04-2004 6:39 PM


Just to make sure people know what straw man fallacy is (please don't crucify me for assuming ignorance in some people), here is what it is.

Straw man fallacy is an informal fallacy where the arguer distorts the opponent's argument and then attacks the distorted version of his arguer's position. In many of the cases on here that I have seen, creationists usually oversimplify certain parts of the theory of evolution and then attack the oversimplified versions.

Exaples:

But-they're-just-rats argument when I pointed out that we have observed a new species called the tetraploidy rat that emerged from the rat. Despite the fact that this new species in Argintina can't interbreed with its parent species (the normal rat) and has been classified as a completely new species due to its doubling of chromosomes, people still claimed "but they're just rats."

The usages of the terms macro and microevolution. In fact, I have seen some creationists claiming that since we do not see a fish growing wings and turn into a birld, we must conclude that macroevolution must not be true. I know that this is a little far fetch even for some creationists, but there are other examples that are very similar.

For some reason, some creationists keep bringing up abiogenesis while discussing evolution, despite the fact that some of us keep repeating that evolution has nothing to do with abiogenesis.

Transitional evidence. This is the most commonly used straw man by creationists. Despite all the evidence that people have pointed out time and time and the fact that every fossil is a transitional evidence, some creationists keep claiming that since we do not have a fossil of a dog with wings and all that crap that evolution is false.

Gotta go to dinner now with some friends. Will be back later for more.


The Laminator


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PaulK
Member
Posts: 15083
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 7 of 31 (105354)
05-04-2004 7:44 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by PaulK
05-04-2004 7:37 PM


Dating Rocks
Geology and the dating of rocks is not part of evolutionary theory. That the Earth was much older than a literreading of Genesis allowed had been established by the time Darwin wrote _On the Origin of Species_

Although the following points are not really part of evolution they are common creationist errors that are relevant to discussions of the fossil record:

There is no circularity in the use of fossils to date rocks. Certain fossils - called "Index fossils" are identified as good indicators of age, and only then are they used as a quick and simple method of dating other rocks.

Radiometric dates often do NOT require knowledge of the initial amount of the daughter isotope. Isochron methods in fact will tell you what the number is.


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AdminSylas
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 31 (105361)
05-04-2004 8:04 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by jt
05-04-2004 7:09 PM


Thread title revised.
JT writes:

I edited the post to make it more specific, i.e. just strawmen, not all aspects of evolution.

I have revised the title of the thread to fit your intended focus.

Thanks muchly -- Sylas


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Lammy
Member
Posts: 3608
From: Chicago
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 9 of 31 (105390)
05-04-2004 9:54 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by jt
05-04-2004 6:39 PM


Actually, the very first post I ever made on this forum was about straw man fallacies that creationists commit. Here is the thread.

The Laminator writes:

(1) I've heard this from at least 5 people that I can remember. Unless they can see a protozoan turn into a pigeon through random mutation, to them evolution is nothing more than a false belief.

Ok, does anybody see what's wrong with this particular claim? Not only does it truly show just how ignorant these people are of the theory of evolution, it also show how insecure they are about their faith. Disproving the theory of evolution won't help promote their faith one bit.

(2) Creationism originated from ancient texts, or history books, that were written down by ancient people. Since witness accounts are always more reliable than speculation, the creationist's view is more accurate than the evolutionist's view.

Again, I see nothing but desperation in their argument. In order for this conclusion to be true and the argument to be valid, they need to assert the premise that what ancient people wrote down were completely accurate. Another premise they need to have is that ancient people were sane when they wrote these things down.

I can easily point out Greek mythology or Roman mythology and assert that we can also base on those ancient writings as true, because they were written down by the ancients. I seriously doubt that anyone these day believe in the Olympian Gods living on Mt. Olympus and sane at the same time.

(3) Some have claimed that they don't believe anything they can't see. They can't see evolution taking place, therefore, creationism is truth, not evolutionism.

First of all, the theory of evolution from the scientific point of view doesn't try to give any truth. It's there to attempt to explain some of the natural phenomena observed by people.

Secondly, these people are not supposed to believe in God, because they can't see God. If any of them claim to be able to see God, I will need to buy a bullet proof vest for myself.

(4) Believing in God is more pleasant than not believing in him, because it is better to go to heaven after death than to become nothing.

Although I admit that the idea of eternal bliss is an attractive idea, just because something sounds more pleasant doesn't mean it's true. To people 5 hundred years ago, it was more pleasant for them to think that the universe revolves around the Earth. They even burned people at the steak for believing otherwise. Again, this argument is completely rediculous.

(5) The big bang wasn't written in any history book, therefore, it never happened.

Again, false conclusion that came from false premises, if there were any. I'd like to see this person explain in his own word what the big bang theory says and how the string theory directly connects to the big bang theory.

(6) I've even heard some that claimed God spoke to them in person.

I am very very afraid of these people, because I don't know when "God" will tell them to go to the top of a building and start snipering people.

(7) Only weak minded people believe in the theory of evolution.

This argument was made by someone only yesterday. After a couple posts from this person, it became very apparent that she doesn't know a thing about the theory of evolution. In fact, she said that she'd read a book on evolution before and found it completely unbelievable. When asked what part of the book she had trouble believing, she said that she don't remember a thing about the book. And get this, she didn't even know how natural selection works.

(8) Some have claimed that evolution tend to have a goal, which leads to a higher power that controls it.

Coincidently, this guy had absolutely no idea what natural selection was, how mutation could benefit or condemn a species, and why it takes millions of years for evolution to work. This is also the same guy that wanted to see a protozoan evolve into a pigeon and made the assertion that evolution has a purpose.

After a few posts from this guy, it became very clear that he doesn't know squat about the scientific method or what it means to be scientific. He is some kind of leader for a youth group at his church. This is a very scary fact, as we have someone in a position to permanently affect today's youth and he is obviously as uneducated as the youths he teaches.

(9) Speciation is make-belief, because we've never observed it happening.

Ok, besides the millions of years worth of fossile records, we are seeing new species of plants springing up everyday. We've also recently discovered a brand new species of rat that only came into being this generation. In 1997, they found the polyploid rat in Argintina. This rat, which has twice as many number of chromosomes as other rat species, came about through some errors in mitosis or meiosis in the sex organs of some normal rats.

(10) Scientists will ultimately say "I don't know..." when asked enough about a subject. Therefore, scientists are really the ignorant ones, and the children of God are really the educated ones.

When I heard this argument, all I wanted to do was get up and leave, because I didn't want to argue with a person that was obviously willing to crap anything out of his butthole to support his belief.

First of all, no good scientist in his right mind would claim to know everything. That is the strongest part of science: to be able to acknowledge that current scientific knowledge doesn't have an answer for everything. That is why scientists continue to learn new things themselves.

Secondly, if you ask a physicist about the theory of gravity enough question, he will admit that he doesn't know. To come to the conclusion that evolution is false because a biologist can't answer certain question is like saying things will fall upward because the physicist can't answer everything about gravity (this example was put forth by someone I know).

I can go on and on and on with the rediculous arguments made by creationists. As my philosophy professor put it, these people are doing nothing but "blow hot air out of their buttholes" to make their argument.


The Laminator


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Lammy
Member
Posts: 3608
From: Chicago
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 10 of 31 (105442)
05-05-2004 1:12 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by jt
05-04-2004 6:39 PM


Oh, here is my favorite. I'm sure many of you have heard this argument before.

If you leave a bunch of scrap metal out in the open and let them sit there, they will never evolve into a computer. Therefore, organisms can't evolve. This logic only concludes that evolution is nonsense.

People that make this argument have a total lack of understanding of the theory of evolution. Here are some of the reasons:

1) The theory of evolution only apply to living things.
2) The smallest unit of organisms that can evolve is a population.
3) Individuals absolutely cannot evolve.
4) The analogy gives out a negative pressure differential.


The Laminator


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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 31 (105461)
05-05-2004 3:42 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by jt
05-04-2004 6:39 PM


How about the one where you have to be an atheist to be an evolutionist?

Not only is that a strawman, it's trivally false - the existence of evolutionist Christians proves it immediately false.


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Lammy
Member
Posts: 3608
From: Chicago
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 12 of 31 (105466)
05-05-2004 4:34 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by jt
05-04-2004 6:39 PM


Here is another classic one that I forgot about. You can read the post here Message 22.

almeyda writes:

Evolution is a religion because all religion is is a belief system and since Evolution is still a theory and not fact,Then its a religion...


The Laminator


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mark24
Member (Idle past 3368 days)
Posts: 3857
From: UK
Joined: 12-01-2001


Message 13 of 31 (105475)
05-05-2004 5:24 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by jt
05-04-2004 6:39 PM


JT,

It has to be, "there are no transitionals", for me. Not a strawman in itself, but it makes use of one. The criticism is that the fossils that evolution predicts are there, aren't. When pressed, creationists use a definition of transitional that science doesn't use. In fact, they seem to deliberately redefine the word in such a way that transitionals can't exist. This is pure nonsense, if the criticism is about evolutionary predictions not being realised, then it stands to reason that the evolutionary definition of transitional gets used.

Mark


"Physical Reality of Matchette’s EVOLUTIONARY zero-atom-unit in a transcendental c/e illusion" - Brad McFall
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Parasomnium
Member (Idle past 869 days)
Posts: 2191
Joined: 07-15-2003


Message 14 of 31 (105478)
05-05-2004 6:11 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Lammy
05-05-2004 1:12 AM


TOE for life only?
The theory of evolution only apply to living things.

Are you sure, Lam? I have made a computer programme that uses the principles of random mutation and um... some sort of selection (since it is in the computer I can't very well call it natural selection, can I?), to let a population of possible but not very effective solutions to a certain problem evolve towards a population of highly effective solutions. (The problem in question is that of the 'Traveling Salesman', you probably know it.) Although I would like to take credit for creating life inside my computer, I realise it's an untenable position. Nevertheless, I think it proves that the theory of evolution can be applied to non-living systems.


"It's amazing what you can learn from DNA." - Desdamona.
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jar
Member
Posts: 30996
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 15 of 31 (105509)
05-05-2004 10:22 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by crashfrog
05-05-2004 3:42 AM


Yup, I are one
the existence of evolutionist Christians proves it immediately false.

and the Pope sure seems to be another.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
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