or Darwin? An ultimatum
problem with writing about creationism, or intelligent design,
as it goes by these days, is that it is just too easy a
theory to knock down—it really doesn’t seem fair. The very
idea that there is a real debate about evolution is mainly
a fallacy—there have always been many millions of Americans
who either doubted or disbelieved Darwin’s theory; the only
difference is that, for the past several decades, the press
knew better than to take them seriously.
those days are gone. From CNN to Time magazine, the “debate”
between evolutionists and creationists has been featured
and the intelligent design canard has made headway into
US consciousness as a “competing theory.” Creationist “museums,”
featuring dinosaur rides for the kiddies, are sprouting
up across America. School boards in some less evolved states
are doing their best to codify ignorance, and mandate that
their kids at least be given the choice to remain as childish
and fatheaded as their parents.
plain stupidity of promoting what boils down to magic as
an equally valid alternative to observation and reasoned
analysis shows what a powerful tactic the modern news fallacy
of ‘balance’ really is. It would seem that the illusion
of controversy is the single best way to advance agendas
which would otherwise be immediately dismissed, and manufacturing
a “controversy” about a “theory” which can be summed up
in the line “God made it” makes this debate the most extreme
test case of the “balance” formula yet. After all, if you
can get ‘em to consider a flat earth, can a flat tax be
people are calling balance these days is not a balance between
valid, well-premised arguments, but a balance between what
is true and what some would prefer to be true; a balance
between the factual and the comforting. In this manner,
one can cling to patently absurd beliefs and still feel
he is just on one side in an important “debate.”
it in perspective: If the Christian creation myth were really
as valid a position as evolution, then wouldn’t it also
follow that all creation myths are just as valid? I can
just imagine how evangelicals would react to a proposal
to teach Hindu and Comanche creation myths alongside Intelligent
Design, and “let the kids decide.” Seen in this light, the
“balance” concept falls apart. A theory is not valid because
of the number of people who believe it; it stands or falls
by intellectual scrutiny.
hard must it be to look at a zebra and a horse, or a lion
and a tiger, and assert that they are not related? Really
now—how valid is that position? The concept of sharing ancestry
with apes may bother some, but really, have you seen apes?
Did you know that chips have the exact same number of hair
follicles that we do? I mean, that’s some hell of a coincidence.
a lot of phony “debunking” of evolution on the internet
these days, but virtually all of it stems from poor understanding
of evolutionary theory or outright falsehood. One particularly
mindless site, Creation Tips, points to certain reptiles
which have not changed in hundreds of millions of years
as evidence against evolution. This is proof of nothing
but that creationists don’t even get what evolution is.
If a species is well-suited to its niche, and survives well
en masse, natural selection won’t occur, and the species
won’t change. We won’t even go into what it means to offer
up a 200 million-year-old lizard as proof that God made
the earth 5,000 years ago.
common tactic is proclaiming that evolution has become “just
another religion.” I guess it’s not too surprising that
the faith-afflicted wouldn’t be able to get their minds
around the possibility that someone might use their minds
to think and derive logical conclusions, rather than to
believe, and find ways to avoid facing reality.
incredibly flawed logic of creationism advocates is immediately
apparent in their arguments, and hardly worth documenting,
except for the sheer giddy horror of it. Take Tony Snow,
a popular Fox News anchor drone. In a column called “Why
can't we have a rational debate,” Snow unwittingly answers
his own question:
science shows us a world of dazzling order, complexity and
interdependence. To take one tiny example, a single gene
seems to control vision in all animals. Could this be a
matter of dumb luck?"
not sure about dumb luck, but to me it sounds like a matter
of dumb Tony Snow. Any person old enough to play checkers
could see that such consistency—the same gene controlling
vision in all animals—is in fact evidence of evolution.
It’s not dumb luck; it follows naturally that, if every
creature with eyes was descended from another with eyes,
this would be the case. But Snow is so unclear on the concept
of evolution that he sees this as evidence of a creator,
undermining his own argument and showing himself to be a
said, ID does not qualify as science because it gives us
nothing to test or measure. Science requires replicable
tests involving measurable variables… These little insights
give us the basis for admitting both views into the educational
system. Evolutionary theory, like ID, isn't verifiable or
testable. It's pure hypothesis -- like ID… "
is officially in over his head now. In calling evolution
“pure hypothesis,” he only reveals that he doesn’t understand
science. Evolution is testable and verifiable; Snow just
doesn’t really know what those words mean.
Snow is a genius when compared with Joseph Farah of the
far right WorldNetDaily, whose creationist argument relies
heavily on what can only be described as a woeful lack of
elementary knowledge. Farah claims, nonsensically, that
“There are atheists who believe in intelligent design.”
He also says “Evolutionists are incapable of selling their
ideas in an open marketplace,” despite the fact that this
is exactly how Darwin’s theory became so popular in the
face of overwhelming religious opposition.
none of this compares with Farah’s comically moronic recent
column entitled “Why I believe in Creation,” or, as I like
to call it, “Proof that I come from a monkey.” A choice
am 100 percent certain man and dinosaurs walked the earth
at the same time. In fact, I'm not at all sure dinosaurs
are even extinct!
of all the world's legends about dragons. Look at those
images. What were those folks seeing? They were clearly
seeing dinosaurs. You can see them etched in cave drawings.
You can see them in ancient literature. You can see them
described in the Bible. You can see them in virtually
every culture in every corner of the world."
right; dragons. In cave drawings, even.
what about the not-so-unusual sightings of contemporary
sea monsters? Some of them have actually been captured."
monsters… oh, man. Some have been captured? Gee, you’d think
it would have been bigger news.
I'm right about that – which I am – then the whole evolutionary
house of cards comes tumbling down. This is the evidence
about which the evolutionists dare not speak."
thinks not only that dinosaurs are walking the earth, but
that scientists would cover it up, as if it would have any
bearing on the validity of evolution. This is not just ignorant
and paranoid; it is the incredibly stupid speculation of
a puny, cowardly mind. Can you imagine the worldwide jubilation
among scientists if they actually found so much as a pterodactyl?
great site for this sort jaw-dropping claptrap is Answers
in Genesis, probably the biggest of the genre. There
are huge amounts of science-esque articles, arguing for
creationism by attempting to sound too smart to be understood.
These people are building a “museum” in Kentucky right now.
They preach a literal interpretation of the Bible, which
at least is more ballsy and honest than the stealth-Jesus
Intelligent Design crowd. As civil war beard-reenactor Ken
Ham puts it:
be honest. Take out your Bible and look through it. You
can’t find any hint at all for millions or billions of years…
you will have heard or read quotes from many well-known
and respected Christian leaders admitting that if you take
Genesis in a straight-forward way, it clearly teaches six
ordinary days of Creation. However, the reason they don’t
believe God created in six literal days is because they
are convinced from so-called ‘science’ that the world is
billions of years old. In other words, they are admitting
that they start outside the Bible to (re)interpret the Words
is where I agree with delusional Christians like Ham, and
take heart in the plain absurdity of their position as a
recruitment tool for agnosticism. The fact is that Genesis
is specific: six days. There really is no indication that
the “days” are in any way metaphorical. If you call yourself
a Christian, and believe the Bible is truly the word of
God, then you really only have two honest choices: accept
that the earth is 5,000 years old, that Noah managed to
fit all of the land species (including dinosaurs, don’t
forget) onto a boat and keep them alive for an extended
time, and many other things which defy logic and the evidence,
or recognize that these ideas are fundamentally silly and
juvenile. Interpreting these Biblical details as metaphors
may be a sign of relative intelligence, but it is intellectually
dishonest. Instead of retrofitting Genesis to match with
a reality you can’t reasonably deny, why not follow through,
chuck the whole thing altogether and join us in the real
world? In other words, why not adapt to a new, more accurate
understanding of existence? Why not evolve?