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Author Topic:   Creationists think Evolutionists think like Creationists.
Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7

Message 4 of 485 (531733)
10-19-2009 3:00 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Lithodid-Man
10-19-2009 2:20 PM

Re: Excellent analysis!
Not just different standards and different ways of thinking, but also different motives, which I believe make a lot of difference in their approaches and actions.
To repeat a page I was working on years ago, which I based on a post I had made on a Yahoo forum (contains a table, so my apologies to the spacing problem that will inevitably occur and my thanks to the admin who fixes it):

Fundamental Differences Between Scientists and Creationists:

There is a public view of science that it is impartial and unbiased. That is an idealized misconception that creation science seeks to turn to its advantage by depicting scientists as being dogmatic, thus eroding public confidence in science. Then when their critics point out that creationists are also biased, the usual response is something like, "Yes we are, but at least we are honest about it."
Now, it is quite true that science is a flawed and fallible human endeavor which has made many mistakes. And it is also quite true that scientists are fallible humans and that they have their biases as do all humans. And it is also true that not all scientists are honest and that some have perpetrated hoaxes. And the same is also quite true about creation science. But that does not put scientists and creationists, nor science and "creation science", on an equal footing.
Although both camps share many of the same human foibles that plague us all and everything that we do, there are still certain fundamental differences between science and creation science and between scientists and creationists on the whole. Fundamental differences that make all the difference in how those two human endeavors approach their research and scholarship, their mistakes, and their hoaxes.
Science / Scientists ...Creation Science / Creationists ...
What they are trying to do:
1a. The scientist is either trying to make a new discovery or to test or find corroborating evidence for a previous discovery, hypothesis, or theory. 1b. A creationist is normally not trying to make a new discovery, nor to test or find corroborating evidence for a previous claim. As rustyb puts so succintly in his signature, "I already know the Truth." There's little use in trying to discover something new about the "Truth" that you already know a priori, nor is there any use in testing it (which would probably be sacrilegious anyway), nor to try to add to its Completeness. Rather, what a creationist is normally trying to do is to come up with convincing claims and arguments against anything that appears to contradict "the Truth" that they already know.
How they measure success:
2a. The success of the scientist's efforts depends directly on the quality of his research and on the validity of the studies that he bases his research on. Therefore, a scientist is motivated to verify his sources and to maintain high standards of scholarship. 2b. It doesn't matter whether that creationist had done a proper job of researching the claim, or had even researched it at all (though it does help to make it more convincing if there's something in the bibliography, even if that source had never actually been looked at -- remember that NASA document?). It doesn't matter if the claim or argument is valid, just that it sounds convincing; after all, the creationist already "knows" that it must be true.
3a. Since scientists depend so much on the validity and quality of the work of other scientists, the scientific community is motivated to police itself against shoddy or falacious research. 3b. When you research some other creationist's claim, you're not depending on that claim being true or valid; you're only depending on that claim sounding convincing.
How they handle dishonesty:
4a. Thus, a scientist who is discovered to be performing substandard or dishonest work loses his credibility and his standing in the scientific community. 4b. And if a claim is discovered to be false or a creationist is discovered to practice questionable methods, none of that matters, just so long as they still sound convincing. A creationist is far more likely to face censure for theological lapses than for shoddy or questionable scholarship.
5a.5b. Of course, if a claim starts drawing too much negative publicity, then it is no longer convincing and must be dropped, as quietly as possible, until everybody has forgotten about it, whereupon it can be resurrected and received as a "new" claim.
How they handle mistakes:
6a. Mistakes and hoaxes will still happen in science, but the near-constant scrutiny and testing will uncover them.6b. Mistakes and hoaxes will also happen in creation science, but in this case there is no mechanism in place to uncover them; indeed, there is much resistence to uncovering creationist mistakes and hoaxes.

First, let us consider what these "convincing" claims and arguments are used for. Creationists can have many different motivations and their claims can serve a variety of purposes; this is actually a far more complex situation than most on either side would think. From the experience and observations of myself and those reported by others, I would say that the primary purposes of these claims are (of course, there are others, but these are the main ones):
  1. to combat the influence of scientific ideas that appear to contradict certain theological ideas.
  2. to protect and strengthen one's own faith and the faith of others from the pernicious influence of scientific depravity, secularism, philosophical materialism, and any assortment of people, groups, and ideas that they perceive to be attacking Christianity.
  3. to proselytize by showing doubters that the evidence really supports Genesis and not science (regardless of whether it actually does or not).
  4. to claim to have scientific reasons to oppose the teaching of evolution and thus circumvent legal barriers against doing so solely for religious reasons and purposes.
  5. to sway public opinion enough in their favor.
  6. to learn how the physical evidence actually does support the literal truth of Genesis.

Now, I included that last one because it does exist and, I believe, that most creationists start out with that as their primary purpose. While the exceptional ones, like Dr. Kurt Wise, are able to keep it as a principal, if not primary, purpose, most creationists get lured away by the other purposes and their rhetorics. Even then, many have not completely lost sight of that purpose and would still claim to follow it.
However, their actions rarely follow their avowed purpose. There is one thing that has perplexed their opponents, including myself. Now, as YECs, they believe that the earth is no older that 10,000 years, yet they repeatedly avoid committing to that age.
I believe it is that motivation to convince that really drives creationists. So much so that they continue to use claims that have proven to be false, just because those claims sound so convincing to them.
Edited by Admin, : Fix table.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Lithodid-Man, posted 10-19-2009 2:20 PM Lithodid-Man has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by tomato, posted 10-21-2009 1:31 AM dwise1 has replied

Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7

Message 9 of 485 (532146)
10-21-2009 3:54 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by tomato
10-21-2009 1:31 AM

Re: How old is the Young Earth?
That seems to be the figure which Duane Gish settles for.
Yet he never shows us an instrument which shows a 10,000-year reading.
Instead, he spends full time poking at real or imaginary weaknesses in the Evolutionist argument.
I think it's because he realizes that the more digits he writes, the less ridiculous he will look.
10,000 is only 4,000 more than the 6,000 figure which Bishop Ussher asks for, so that's the optimum figure.
I believe you mentioned that you live in South Korea. While "creation science" exists in other countries mainly because American creationists have been exporting it, it is the perhaps-unique social, political, and legal conditions in the USA that had created "creation science" and dictated the forms that its many claims and arguments have taken.
Public schools in the US cannot teach religious doctrine, nor can the schools be barred from teaching a subject on purely religious grounds. That last decision was the result of Epperson vs Arkansas, 1968, which declared as unconstitutional the nearly 50-year-old "monkey laws" that the anti-evolution movement had put in place to bar the teaching of evolution on purely religious grounds -- the famous Scopes trial was part of an attempt to create a constitutional challenge to the Tennessee "monkey law", but it never made it to the US Supreme Court because Scopes' conviction was overturned by the state supreme court on a legal technicality. So since creationists could not have evolution kept out of the schools for purely religious reasons (the only reasons that they actually have), they devised "creation science" with which to deceive the courts and the public that their opposition to evolution was "purely scientific" (a lie they have frequently used).
I'm sure that Gish and all the other creationists do believe that 6000 is much closer to the true figure (about 6194, if we calculate from the Bible). However, given that that figure is so readily recognizable as being purely religious, Gish and company decided to hide that fact by rounding it up to 10,000 years. The better to deceive us with.
"Now, as YECs, they believe that the earth is no older that 10,000 years, yet they repeatedly avoid committing to that age."
I had written that and that table about 10 years ago; the table was based on a then-recent Yahoo forum exchange that had greatly opened my eyes, and that quoted remark on years of experience with creationists.
On one level: About the only creationists who will take a stand and try to argue the age of the earth are the newbies who hadn't learned yet. Their age-of-the-earth claims are the most blatantly false and the ones most easily proven wrong -- as well as being the most fun ones to disprove, epitomized by a famous opponent's remark, "Creationism is more fun than science!". Creationists who try that do not last very long. Either they eventually find that they must face that facts or else they quickly learn to avoid such discussions. I believe that Calypsis4, who claims to have been a creationist for 40 years, is a prime example of a creationist who has learned to duck and dodge and avoid discussion of his claims and even to avoid presenting any information about his claims (eg, refusing to post his sources, refusing to answer even the simplest questions about his claims, even refusing to say anything substantive about his own claims). So the more experienced creationists may say that they believe in a young earth (or not, depending on how cagey they are), but they will avoid committing to a definite age or to discuss the matter -- unless they take you for someone who doesn't know anything, in which case they will descending upon you like ravening wolves; if they realize that you do know something, then they will keep their sheep's clothing on and very tightly buttoned.
On another level ... I have a brief story about the incident that had opened my eyes. I've been active in this discussion since CompuServe in the mid 1980's. For the first years, I thought that creationists just didn't know the truth and that showing them the truth would bring most of them around. It didn't take me long to realize that they hated the truth and would go to any lengths to deny the truth.
Then in a Yahoo forum (they have so many), a creationist tried to prove that the earth was young by using the old sea-salt claim, that according to the amount of sodium in the ocean it is only millions of years old. I pointed out the reasons why that claim was so very wrong, and then I took him to task for not sticking to his story that the earth is only about 10,000 years old. It was his reply that opened my eyes (quote reconstructed from memory): "It wouldn't bother me at all if the earth were millions of years old, just so long as it isn't BILLIONS OF YEARS old as science says it is."
That's when I realized that they don't think at all like we do! We're trying to construct an integrated and self-consistent world-view by learning all we can about the world; everything we learn needs to fit together for it all to make any sense. They're not trying to build a consistent world-view; they're just attacking science. We cannot in honesty hold to several ideas that all directly contradict each other, whereas creationists have no problem doing that. So they can claim that the earth can't be more than 10,000 years old and that it's millions of years old, just so long as either (or a multitude of other estimates of the age of the earth) all contradict what science says. They will even include other claims that have absolutely nothing to do with evolution or creation or the age of the earth (eg, the ozone layer) if those claims constitute an attack against science.
All they want to do is to prove science wrong. Or at least to raise and spread any amount of doubt about science.
For example, as I wrote to another concerning Calypsis4 (EvC Forum: Living fossils expose evolution, Message 366 -- earned me my first suspension here):
So you see, we do view evolution differently. Those who accept evolution view it in terms of how it actually works, whereas those who believe that it violates their religious beliefs view it in terms of what the creationists say it is. Let's face it, those who accept evolution are interested in figuring out how it works, whereas creationists are mainly interested in disproving it. So it should come as no surprise that creationists will present evolution in as negative a manner as possible. For that matter -- and I'm speaking from 3 decades of experience with "creation science" -- , most creationists will even present a distorted view of evolution which is designed to be easier to "refute". A caricature. A strawman.
So we're looking at evolution in two very different ways. The one side is viewing it as it is, whereas your side is viewing it as creationists have mis-taught you. Rather than each side thinking that both side is talking about the same thing, we need to be open about what we mean and understand by "evolution" and be ready to hammer out a commonly agreed-upon definition.
So you have stumbled upon Cal's problem here. He has, after all, been feeding on creationist misinformation for about 40 years now. He has one distorted definition of evolution in mind, one which his mindless photos would indeed refute. The problem is that that is not what evolution actually is. He thinks that all he needs to do is to show that uniform gradualistic change is not the norm and evolution is refuted. Whereas we already know that uniform gradualistic change is not the norm, so his "atomic bomb" is a big dud. Cal needs to be open about what his assumptions about evolution are and why he thinks that, according to those assumptions, his "evidences" are supposed to be so devastating. He apparently doesn't think that that should be necessary, not knowing that his ideas about evolution are different from ours.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by tomato, posted 10-21-2009 1:31 AM tomato has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by tomato, posted 10-21-2009 4:40 PM dwise1 has replied

Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7

Message 11 of 485 (532182)
10-21-2009 8:41 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by tomato
10-21-2009 4:40 PM

Re: How old is the Young Earth?
It's the "Two Model Approach" (TMA). They set up the false dichotomy (AKA "false dilemma") that it's either the "atheistic" "evolution model" or their "creation model" and there are no other possibilities -- this I've seen both Gish and Morris start off an interview or debate by restating the TMA and establishing that as the basic premise for that event. Therefore, once that false dichotomy is accepted, you can prove the one "model" simply by disproving the other, so they devote all their time and energy to attacking their "evolution model" and thus "prove" their "creation model" without ever having to defend it, present any evidence for it, or even present it. Of course, their "evolution model" is a strawman caricature of evolution and science and their "creation model" is fundamentalist biblical literalism (though they make sure to "hide the Bible" for the sake of their political agenda).
This is why they concentrate so much on attacking science, because they believe that any and all "evidence" against science is automatically evidence for creation.
Since you're collecting Gish-isms, are you familiar with his Impact article # 321, "As a Transitional Form Archaeopteryx Won't Fly." (September 1989 -- As a Transitional Form Archaeopteryx Won't Fly | The Institute for Creation Research)? It ties in directly with creationists making inconsistent and contradictory claims, only in this case he completely contradicts himself in the same article.
Most of it is a summation of the ICR's standard "Archaeopteryx is 100% bird; nothing reptilian about it!" line. But then right before arriving at his conclusion that Archie was pure bird, he completely switches his position with:
Another threat to the notion that Archaeopteryx was intermediate between reptiles and birds are the claims of Sir Fred Hoyle, the famous British astronomer, fellow astronomer Chandra Wickramasinghe, and Israeli scientist Lee Spetner, based on detailed photographic evidence, that Archaeopteryx is a fraud.15,16 They maintain that an artificial matrix was placed on a reptilian fossil and that modern feathers were used to impress the matrix, to leave a likeness of fossil feathers. Scientists of the British Museum of Natural History have defended the authenticity of the fossil. If the allegations of Hoyle, Wickramasinghe, and Spetner turn out to be correct, it would be a devastating blow to evolutionists. If the fossil is a forgery, however, it would have to be a devilishly clever one, because the forger would not only have to fake the feathers, but also somehow emplace the many bird-like features described in this article.
So Archie was 100% bird and not the least bit a dinosaur, or it was 100% dinosaur and not the least bit bird. Either way it isn't a transitional form! Again, we see that the facts and consistency mean nothing to creationists, just so long as they can attack science.
Google also pointed to a page by Lenny Flank, No webpage found at provided URL:, which discusses Archaeopteryx and Gish's claims and his article.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by tomato, posted 10-21-2009 4:40 PM tomato has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by tomato, posted 10-22-2009 3:05 AM dwise1 has not replied

Posts: 5987
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7

Message 40 of 485 (568567)
07-06-2010 3:54 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by Big_Al35
07-06-2010 9:31 AM

One of the key differences in creationist thinking and evolutionary thinking has not been mentioned. Creationists like to think of themselves as optimists; they believe in an afterlife, morals and good nature and that these attributes are worth pursuing. Evolutionary thinking however is very pessimistic. They believe in survival of the fittest, kill or be killed, anything goes. Success is measured in terms of still being around to see the death of all those around you.
I think that you have described rather well how creationists think that "evolutionists" think. You illustrate very well how creationists' misunderstanding and misrepresentation of evolution leads them to make grossly inaccurate assumptions about what "evolutionists" think and believe, grossly inaccurate assumptions that they stubbornly hold onto despite the truth of what evolution really is and what "evolutionists" really think and believe.
Now, most rank-and-file creationists are just plain ignorant about evolution and accept without thought the creationist lies that they are fed; they simply regurgitate those lies without knowing what they are doing. But many active creationists do know what they are doing and that they are using lies. For example, when I discussed with a local creationist activist his use of the standard creationist misrepresentation of punctuated equilibria (PE), he demonstrated that he did in fact understand PE rather well, yet he persisted in presenting the creationist lie to his audiences, thus demonstrating that he engaged in deliberate lying (something that he also demonstrated several other times).
Thus creationist claims to morality ring very hollow in our ears.
You can see that evolution paints a horrific picture even if it is factually correct. (I am not saying that it is mind) It needs to work on its salesmanship.
Rather, that "horrific picture" is the caricature that creationists paint. It is pure propaganda. And thus we can see quite clearly what creationists are trying to sell.
Now, if we turn the topic's title around, we also find that part of the problem in trying to carry on a discussion with creationists is that we normals tend to start out assuming that creationists think like we do. When I started out, I falsely assumed that creationists were interested in truth and in building a self-consistent world-view, and were capable of rational discussion. It didn't take long for me to be disabused of those assumptions.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by Big_Al35, posted 07-06-2010 9:31 AM Big_Al35 has not replied

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