Friday, 23 September 2011

15 Answers for Creationists.

Written in reply to 15 Questions for Evolutionists.

This list of questions is depressing, not because they are difficult - any intermediate level biology student should be able to answer them with no more than a moments thought - but because they reveal the depths of ignorance, dishonesty and credulous stupidity on which Creationism relies. The questioner, apparently in all seriousness, believes these are difficult, killer knock-down questions which will challenge even the best of evolutionary biologists. Either that, or he imagines his target audience is that dishonest, ignorant and credulously stupid.

It would be funny, if it weren't so representative of so many semi-literate and willfully ignorant, yet politically active and dangerous individuals. These questions tell us a great deal about the cavalier approach of Creationists to truth and honesty.

No doubt they will not want to read these answers, preferring, as they do, to remain stoically and proudly ignorant of anything which might shake their 'unshakeable' faith.

Q1. How did life originate?

A1. The origin of replicators is not a question for Evolutionists since the Theory of Evolution (TOE) deals with how living organisms develop and diversify, not how they originated. However, this question can be, and is being, addressed by science. There are several theories which can be found by a search on Google.

The disingenuous nature of this question can be gauged from the following quote:

“Nobody knows how a mixture of lifeless chemicals spontaneously organized themselves into the first living cell.”

Of course, as the questioner probably knows, no serious TOE hypothesises this. The question is asked to mislead the credulous and gullible. The entire basis of any TOE is that organisms evolve slowly, over time, by a series of natural selection from amongst a population containing variations on a basic theme. Variation comes about by randomly imperfect replication. Evolution always occurs in a population, not in individuals. There was never any spontaneous self-organisation.

Most theories of the origin of replicator assume that RNA became involved early on in the process and self-replicating examples of RNA are known.

In fact, this is just another form of the God of the Gaps fallacy. The questioner is implying that, if science doesn’t know the answer now, a natural answer will never be known, and that the only possible explanation is a supernatural one.  This fallacy also  depends on the parochial ignorance of its target to assume that the only possible supernatural explanation is the one the questioner is pushing.

So, from the first question, we can see plainly how the questions are intended to mislead rather than to inform, and the contempt the questioner has for his target audience.

Maybe it gets better...

Q2. How did the DNA code originate?

A2. A shame the questioner didn’t leave it at that but then sought to mislead his target once again with:

“The code is a sophisticated language system with letters and words where the meaning of the words is unrelated to the chemical properties of the letters".

The real genetic code can be found here.

This shows just how little the questioner knows of the genetic code and how it works. It’s an infantile parody designed to mislead. This is the straw man fallacy. It’s also an example of the argument from personal ignorance fallacy and again, our old friend, the God of the Gaps.

Again, answers to this question can be quickly found with a search on Google.

So, we now know the questioner hasn’t bothered to look for answers to the questions he/she is asking or to learn about the subject he/she is attacking.

Q3. How could mutations—accidental copying mistakes (DNA ‘letters’ exchanged, deleted or added, genes duplicated, chromosome inversions, etc.)—create the huge volumes of information in the DNA of living things? How could such errors create 3 billion letters of DNA information to change a microbe into a microbiologist?

A3. The questioner seems not to know the difference between ‘information’ and ‘meaning'. There is also the, by now, customary, attempt to mislead. No one claims that a microbe mutated into a microbiologist. This infantile parody is an example of how Creationists set up straw men to throw their stones at, almost certainly because they know the real TOE is unassailable. It depends on the target audience’s ignorance about the real TOE, of course.

How, given the billions of years that living things have been around, a gradual process of diversification and change, directed by natural selection which inevitably selects for survivability, has produced all the different species and varieties we now have, is EXACTLY what the TOE explains.

In short, the questioner is covering his eyes and refusing to see the answer to this question, and is depending on his targets to be ignorant of the fact that this question is precisely what the TOE answers.

So we now know the questioner is abysmally ignorant of that which he/she attacks. Given the ready availability of information today, this ignorance must be either wilful or feigned. Either way, it is disingenuous and shows a scant regard for truth and honesty.

Q4. Why is natural selection, a principle recognized by creationists, taught as ‘evolution’, as if it explains the origin of the diversity of life?

A4. Because that's exactly what it does. Again, there is the attempt to mislead:

“By definition it is a selective process (selecting from already existing information), so is not a creative process".

True. No evolutionist clams that natural selection creates the variation upon which it acts. The claim is that natural selection selects for survivability from amongst the inherited variation in the population.

Note again the feigned or wilful ignorance of the real TOE and how a straw man was set up to attack, whilst trying to mislead the target about the real TOE.

Q5. How did new biochemical pathways, which involve multiple enzymes working together in sequence, originate?

A5. From simpler forms and by co-opting pre-existing structures for different or modified usage.

Again, a quick search on Google would have supplied the questioner with the answers he/she so obviously doesn’t want to find.

Q6. Living things look like they were designed, so how do evolutionists know that they were not designed?

A6. It’s a shame the questioner sought to over-egg his/her pudding with:

“The problem for evolutionists is that living things show too much design. Who objects when an archaeologist says that pottery points to human design?”

What exactly IS too much design? The problem here is that, when studied in detail, organisms are found to be full of imperfections, faults, inefficient structures, vast quantities of redundant DNA, etc. We also know that the ultimate fate of 99% of living organisms is extinction. One thing we can be sure of is that it was certainly not designed by any intelligent process. It looks exactly as we would expect if it were ‘designed’ by an unconscious, purposeless process, directed only by the utilitarian principle of whatever worked at the time, and in that environment. In short they look as though they evolved by an evolutionary process in which the environment selects for survivability.

The reason we know a pot was designed, by the way, is that pots don’t reproduce so there is no process which can select them for inherited ‘potness’ from amongst a population containing random variations on a ‘potty’ theme.

The questioner here reveals either wilful or feigned ignorance of basic biology. The temptation is to use the term ‘potty’ here...

Q7. How did multi-cellular life originate?

A7. Let’s deal quickly with the traditional attempt to mislead here:

“How did cells adapted to individual survival ‘learn’ to cooperate and specialize (including undergoing programmed cell death) to create complex plants and animals?"

Of course no one claims cells learn to cooperate. This is so laughably infantile I’m surprised even this questioner hoped to get away with it.

The answer to the basic question of course, is slowly over time, by an evolutionary process as described in the TOE. We know that muticellularity took a very long time to evolve.

This question is the equivalent of questioning the Theory of Gravity by claiming it can’t explain er... gravity. The abysmal ignorance here would be shocking if we weren’t used to it by now.

Here are the answers the questioner doesn’t want.

Q8. How did sex originate?

A8. Sexual reproduction greatly enhances the ‘evolvability’ of a population by constantly shuffling the different combinations of variations, so greatly increasing the probability of a beneficial combination arising. As explained by the TOE, anything which evolves must convey an advantage otherwise it would not be differentially selected for at each generation.

Again, the abysmal ignorance combined with the argument from ignorance and God of the Gaps fallacies.

Here is the Google search link which would have answered his/her questions, had he/she wanted to find it.

Q9. Why are the (expected) countless millions of transitional fossils missing?

A9. They are neither expected, nor required by the TOE. (Note the quite blatant attempt to mislead to which we’ve become accustomed). But neither are they missing, as a Google search shows.

There is a very good reason why we don’t see many fossils, nor complete series for every generation of every organism. Fossilisation is an extremely unusual and unlikely event.

There is no law of nature and certainly nothing in any TOE which requires every generation of every species to deposit a representative fossil in the geological column where it may be readily discovered by palaeontologists. The laughably infantile implication that there is, or that non-compliance with this ‘law’ is somehow a problem for biologist, simply betrays either the questioner’s ignorance, or the ignorance he’s assuming in his target audience.

And, of course, a moments thought will tell you that EVERY fossil is transitional between its parents and its offspring, just as every living organism is.

Again we have an over-egged pudding, so anxious is the questioner to mislead:

“The evolutionary family trees in textbooks are based on imagination, not fossil evidence."

Evolutionary ‘family trees’ are based on very many factors, of which fossil evidence is often merely support.  The strongest argument for common descent and relationships between species is the genetic and immunological evidence, about which the questioner seems to have managed to be singularly ignorant.

In fact, the existence of the very many good evolutionary series of fossils is an argument against the Creationist notion of spontaneous creation by magic and is a problem for THEM to explain – which is probably why the questioner want his/her targets to believe there aren’t any.

Q10. How do ‘living fossils’ remain unchanged over supposed hundreds of millions of years, if evolution has changed worms into humans in the same time frame?

A10. There is nothing in the TOE which requires anything to evolve in a stable environment, so the question now is why the questioner is either ignorant of this or is trying to mislead his target audience.

The very few examples often quoted by Creationists usually includes the Coelacanth, a lobe-finned fish which is called a ‘living fossil’ because it is a member of an order which was believe to be extinct until a specimen was caught in the Indian Ocean.  In fact, the living members of the order are very different to those from millions of years ago. They have evolved due to environmental pressures, just like any other organism does.

So, is this question just a lie designed to mislead, or does it betray the level of ignorance and the disingenuous desire NOT to discover answers to which we have become accustomed?

Q11. How did blind chemistry create mind/ intelligence, meaning, altruism and morality?

A11. It’s become almost a stock answer to say, “By a process of natural selection acting on population variation”, but that’s the answer again here.

So, if gravity is true, how do you explain stones falling down when you drop them, eh? Take that Mr Scientist!

The disingenuous ignorance here is quite astounding.

Explaining altruism is one of the successes of ‘Selfish gene’ theory of course. Quite simply, if sacrificing an individual is beneficial to the copies of genes in its relatives or descendants, then altruism will evolve.

Morality, of course, is explained by evolution, not of genes, but of memes. Memes are culturally inherited replicators in the form of ideas and cultural norms. Ideas replicate whenever a child learns from its parents, its peers and from authority figures in its culture. We daily interchange memes with one another. A great deal of advertising is based on creating and transmitting memes.

Co-operative, i.e. moral, human societies are more successful than non-cooperative ones, therefore co-operative human cultures succeeded whilst non-co-operative ones failed, so we evolved co-operative cultures and the rules which ensure them.

Q12. Why is evolutionary ‘just-so’ story-telling tolerated?

A12
. How is this a question for evolutionists? Is there something in the TOE which says anything about this? Of course not. It looks like scraping the barrel for questions. Maybe the questioner is trying to outdo Creationist fraudster Kent Hovind who came up with a set of 10 equally fatuous questions which he claims science can’t answer, despite the fact that science can and has answered them where they have any meaningful content.

Evolutionists don’t normally make laws controlling what people say. No doubt Creationists would like to, but science is not about controlling other people.

Q13. Where are the scientific breakthroughs due to evolution?


A13. Er... the TOE was THE major breakthrough in biological science.  It’s astounding that the questioner seems ignorant of this fact, but maybe it’s just feigned ignorance.  It’s hard to believe anyone with even a basic education in biology would be unaware of this.

“Hey Mr Scientist! Where is that major breakthrough in understanding gravity, eh? Don’t tell me the Theory of Gravity deals with it!”

Of course, the TOE is the grand unifying theory for biology. It underpins much of medical science, of environmental science, of ecology and bioengineering.

Q14. Science involves experimenting to figure out how things work; how they operate. Why is evolution, a theory about history, taught as if it is the same as this operational science?

A14. It’s difficult to know where to begin answering this, exposing as it does, the questioner’s almost complete ignorance of science and scientific methodology. For example, does the questioner imagine cosmologists conduct experiments to work out how galaxy formation occurs or how the fusion reaction in the heart of suns works?

What experiments are conducted to find out how the tectonic plates are moving or how volcanoes work?

A great deal of science is about observation and measurement and conducting further observations to compare reality with hypotheses. One might as well try to dismiss the entire body of geology as a ‘theory about history’. No doubt if geology was as much a threat to religious dogma as biology, there would be Creationist apologists trying to do just that, and aiming their disingenuous questions at an equally credulous and gullible target audience.



Q15. Why is a fundamentally religious idea, a dogmatic belief system that fails to explain the evidence, taught in science classes?

A15.
Er... I’m not aware that Creationism IS taught in science classes. If it IS, it should not be, as it is most definitely NOT a science. I must say I'm a little bemused by this question. I wonder if the writer misunderstood his brief.

To be a science, Creationism would have evidential support – it does not. It would need to be falsifiable – it is not. It would be able to make predictions which can be tested either experimentally or by observation – it cannot.

To be a science, Creationism would be able, like evolution, to produce supporting evidence which explain the observable facts. It can’t. It has no more going for it than any other notion which can be dreamt up with a few moments imaginative thought. Even if the entire body of evolutionary theory were to be overthrown, the notion of creation by a magic man in the sky would be just another competing notion with any number of other equally wacky ideas.

If it wants to be taken seriously Creationism needs to do more than just rely on the fallacy which has been central to this whole list of questions – the False Dichotomy Fallacy, so beloved of Creationists.  This fallacy relies on the parochial ignorance and cultural arrogance of its assumed target audience which, it assumes will take it for granted that, if science can be shown to be false, the ONLY possible alternative explanation is that the locally popular god did it.

So there we have yet another regurgitation of the familiar old disingenuous Creationist questions, posted by someone who is obviously not interested in finding out the answers.  I’ll leave the reader to decide if the questioner has been fooled by Creationist charlatans, like so many others, or is trying to fool people himself.

One thing of which we can be sure though is that we cannot trust Creationists. They have either taken an oath to tell lies or they have been fooled by those who have.

I’ll leave the reader with this illustration of Creationist methodology and a brief article on why Creationism needs to use these tactics as it struggled to come to terms with the fact that science undermines just about everything Creationism stands for.

[Later note: The 'Support this website' button at the foot of the questioner's blog may give a clue]

[Another note: Interestingly, it's impossible to post a reply to 15 Questions for Evolutionists. You can, however, submit a reply for consideration which MAY be selected for publication. Obviously, they can't risk their supporters seeing too many answers. You know the harm education can do.]

[Even later note: Entirely unsurprisingly, 15 Questions for Evolutionists has refused to publish these answers. The excuse was that I hadn't answered the questions. Obviously, they can't have their target marks being alerted to yet another Creationist scam. It might reduce their income stream. Perhaps it never occurred to them that their target marks are normally as eager to be fooled as they are to fool them and are almost guaranteed not to read anything which shakes their 'unshakable' faith.]

Readers might also enjoy the following:
10 Questions for Creationists.
What makes you so special?

21 comments :

  1. *clapclapclapclap*
    Fantastic article. That is all.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Certainly interesting but without the math TOE is destined to be disregarded

    ReplyDelete
  3. CelticTornado.

    No doubt others will notice that you didn't even attempt to refute any of these answers.

    I'm afraid this blog is not the appropriate place to get help with your difficulty with math.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great article. Well written, informative and painfully aware that creationists STILL won't 'get it'.

    Keep up the good work :)

    And check out my blog... I'm being sued by a creationist (I'm in the UK).

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  5. I also have the FaithFruitcake blog where there is an article about my two son's school headteacher stating that they are forced to worship at school...

    Shocking.

    ReplyDelete
  6. a fantastically written article that is almost impossible to navigate on an iPhone. It seem a single digit degree of variation from south > north swiping is misinterpreted as a lateral swipe which navigated to a different article. I suffered this EIGHT times in my effort to read to the bottom. Whatever touh screen interface is applied to this blog is the worst I've ever seen. AND I'VE USED ANDROID.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous.

    I don't know anything about that. I've changed the mobile template to see if that makes any difference.

    ReplyDelete
  8. If there was a God, I would thank him/her/it for sending such a rational, common sense, no nonsense person. It is everything I would have liked to have said to the...umm...moron (was searching for a nice word) on Twitter today. It's kind of hard to get it across in 140 characters so I just settled for headbutting my laptop mostly. Hurrah for Rosa!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Once upon a time I'd have bothered to argue or reason with creationists. Now I just keep my mouth shut because it's pointless talking to the wilfully deaf.

    ReplyDelete
  10. @TastesLikeYou6 March 2012 at 15:16

    Q9. Why are the (expected) countless millions of transitional fossils missing?

    I usually follow up this question with a current example. We see birds flying over our heads all the time. But in my life, and I'm over middle aged, I probably have seen no more than a dozen dead birds in the street throughout my life. One would think that one would see scores of bird carcasses littered over the street on any given day.

    But not seeing these skeletons does not make me think that birds do not, or have not, ever existed, or that the birds I see today are not descended from birds from millions of years ago.

    The problem with creationists is they dare not, or choose not, to even ponder such simple questions, thus making them incapable of choosing to understand the more complex.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Good article, nice to see someone dissect the pathological ignorance at the heart of Creationist attempts to refute science. In Q15 though, I think the questioner may be referring to Evolution as the "fundamentally religious idea, a dogmatic belief system that fails to explain the evidence, taught in science classes", most likely under the misguided pretence that his/her fatuous questions have reduced the scientific theory to a pious rubble, with no more factual basis than their own theologically contrived position. Any thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Your blog is anecdotal and void of facts, You proclaim to have the answers in a simplistic manner with sweeping statements on matters you dont understand. There is nothing simple about creation that a human mind can comprehend.You make reference to choosing to understand the more complex yet the more you discover the more questions are asked.If you were to read out the DNA from a molecular perspective " Genetic Code" on a human it would take you the sum of roughly 90 years to do so and you claim enlightenment.Lol...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry you felt unable or unwilling to follow the links I provided for the answers where I had not answered the questions fully myself, where there were any questions which even required an answer. If you have the courage, read it again, including the links you probably didn't want to follow.

      Delete
  13. That's like saying you need to read the whole dictionary before you can understand English.

    ReplyDelete
  14. "No doubt if geology was as much a threat to religious dogma as biology, there would be Creationist apologists trying to do just that, and aiming their disingenuous questions at an equally credulous and gullible target audience."

    I am from a family of rabid Baptists, and have tried talking sense to them about these things. Know that they do have the same feelings about astronomy, geology, and any branch of science that reveals the universe to be over 6,000 years old. My sister, for example, insists that continental drift was the result of the weight of the waters of the Great Flood rapidly forcing the continents apart. There is no reasoning with these people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How does she cope with the observable fact that continental drift is still happening?

      Delete
  15. Excellent blog, Rosa. I've taken the liberty of shoving this down the optical sockets of Kim Balogh, who is the Canadian cretin about to launch a book/booklet posing those questions to children and hopes to take it worldwide.

    I doubt very much that she will bother to read it. If she read anything scientific she'd not be lying to children in the first place lol

    (DawkinsDog)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Kim Balogh continues to ignore this and other links to the answers. She's intransigent in her pursuit of lying to children. Never could stand the woman, care for her even less these days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suppose when you intend to make money from lying to children, little niceties like honesty have to be put to one side, if she's ever had any.

      Morals are for softies as they say in right-wing business circles.

      Delete
  17. I still wonder how the '6,000 years old' crowd would cope with the claim by Australian Aborigines that they have been residing on [i] Terra Australis [/i] for over 40,000 years

    ReplyDelete

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