Why is the creation/evolution debate continuing?
There are obvious, tested facts readily available. The only way you can deny evolution and/or the age of the Earth is the blatantly turn a blind eye to proven fact. Accepting these facts does not eradicate God or personal faith.
Just as those who believed in geocentrism eventually accepted the fact of heliocentrism despite centuries of denialism from the church.
Please stop this. Your faith is intact if you wish it to be, but you are destroying the scientific literacy of our society by your devious misrepresentation of fact. Who will suffer in the future? The children.
Let them see the facts, the tests and all the true evidence. Stop all the trickery, fraught and wishful thinking. If we as a society, and yes, as a species, truly desire to grow and enrich our lives, we need to end creationist denialism and refrain, as good people, from ignoring scientific fact and conjuring strange excuses and interpretations of beautiful, yet poetic text
– G.M., U.S.

This email demonstrates the flawed thinking and logic usually associated with non-biblical worldviews, especially in the case of evolutionism. Within this person’s reaction there are several illogical comments. So, I will use this email as a guide to point out logical fallacies and other flaws.

Why is the creation/evolution debate continuing?

The debate is much deeper than “creation vs. evolution.” The real question is one of ultimate authority: do we trust God and His Word or man’s ideas? Since all people are born with a sinful nature (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12–21), we are naturally inclined to rebel against God (Romans 1:18–23, 3:23, 5:12, 8:5–8). And this debate will probably go on until the final judgment, when the question will be permanently put to rest since “every knee will bow . . . and every tongue confess” (Isaiah 45:22–24; Romans 14:10–12; Philippians 2:9–11).

There are obvious, tested facts readily available.

We agree. Rock layers, fossil graveyards, starlight, DNA, antibiotic resistance, adaptation, and so on are all obvious, tested facts that are readily available.

The only way you can deny evolution and/or the age of the Earth is the blatantly turn a blind eye to proven fact.

This is what’s known as a bifurcation fallacy. In a bifurcation fallacy only two possible options are offered (this is also known as the “either-or” fallacy). Here, however, there are more than two choices (i.e., either “turning a blind eye” or not). You’ve ignored the third option—God’s Word.

We reject wombat-to-woman evolution and an old earth because both ideas contradict Scripture and are illogical. We don’t turn a blind eye to proven fact. We have a different interpretation of the evidence because we base our thinking on the inerrant Word of God.

Continuing with and building on the bifurcation fallacy is the fallacy of equivocation. This is the idea that evolution and billions of years are the same as “fact.” However, evolution and billions of years are not testable, observable facts. They are fallible human interpretations of the evidence (such as rock layers, morphology, starlight, etc.).

For example, the amounts of two elements, such as uranium and lead, can be measured within a given rock sample. This rock would be an observable, testable, readily available fact. However, conclusions based on interpretation of the evidence are not facts—such as when evolutionists assert that the rock is billions of years old because the sample contains mostly lead and very little uranium.

Accepting these facts does not eradicate God or personal faith.

Once again, evolution and billions of years are not facts. This is actually the “contrary to fact conditional error” fallacy.1 But we do agree that facts will not eradicate God, since He created them—directly and indirectly (e.g. rock layers formed after creation during the Flood). We also agree that facts will not eradicate personal faith, since facts/evidences do not tell us what to believe. However, it is the interpretation of those facts and evidences—based on one’s presuppositions—which can affect someone’s faith.

Just as those who believed in geocentrism eventually accepted the fact of heliocentrism despite centuries of denialism from the church.

This argument is known as a “straw-man” fallacy. Essentially there is no substance to a straw man, so it is an easy setup for the skeptic to knock over. These sorts of arguments contain misinformation about what the opponent/defender (in this case Christians and the Church) actually believed. Also, there’s no need to reiterate what we’ve already covered (many times).

Please stop this. Your faith is intact if you wish it to be, but you are destroying the scientific literacy of our society by your devious misrepresentation of fact. Who will suffer in the future? The children.

You’ve loaded these few sentences with quite a few fallacies and non sequiturs. First, there’s a heaping portion of false cause, followed by a serving of slippery slope, a pinch of equivocation, a handful of appeal to emotion, and a dash of unsubstantiated allegation.

False cause: scientific literacy is not destroyed by the truth of creation, but by the censuring of opposing theories and suppression of the problems that are pointed out in evolutionary dogma.

Slippery slope: we are not misrepresenting any facts; therefore, we are not destroying scientific literacy and causing the suffering of children. (Also, this is a false correlation, since there’s no supporting evidence that teaching creation lowers scientific aptitude.)

Unsubstantiated allegation: here we are accused of “devious misrepresentation of fact,” but no legitimate examples are provided.

Yet, if we consider this closely, it is actually the humanistic religion (to which this person is appealing) that is being forced on unsuspecting children. Consider what a leading humanist magazine said years ago:

I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level—preschool day care or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new—the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism.2
Let them see the facts, the tests and all the true evidence.

First of all, what is meant by “true evidence”? In a naturalistic and materialistic worldview, truth cannot exist; it is an immaterial concept. How can something immaterial exist in a purely material world? And how would one prove the material existence of truth? Does it grow on a tree? Can you find it in the sea? Is it the size of an elephant or the size of a flea? Can it be measured by a ruler or rope? Can it be observed underneath an electron microscope? Nope!

We agree, though, that we should let children see the evidence. As a matter of fact, let’s take a look at some of that evidence. The figures below are from a popular high school biology book. Notice the actual facts (evidences) that are readily available, and also the hypotheses where there is no evidence whatsoever.

Hypothetical ancestry of some mammals

Figure 1. Hypothetical ancestry of some mammals3

You’ll notice in this picture some solid red lines and then some dotted red lines and question marks. Let’s see how these are interpreted by the authors (who are evolutionists).

This diagram shows part of the adaptive radiation of mammals, emphasizing current hypotheses about how a group of ancestral mammals diversified over millions of years into several related living orders. Note that dotted lines and questions marks in the diagram indicate a combination of gaps in the fossil record and uncertainties about the timing of evolutionary branching.4 (emphasis mine)

Of course, within each order above, evolutionists have now made “connections” with which we would disagree, since some of them would not fall into the same created kind. But this illustrates that the evidence and facts that are readily available confirm what God tells us in the Bible and do not support what is hypothesized by evolutionists. And this is just one example; let’s look at another from the same book.

Supposed human-ape ancestry

Figure 2. Supposed human-ape ancestry5

Again, let’s see what the authors say about this figure.

The diagram shows fossil hominids and the time ranges during which they may have existed. The time ranges are likely to change as paleontologists gather new data. The question mark after Sahelanthropus tchadensis indicates that scientists are not yet certain that the species is hominid. Paleontologists do not yet have enough information to know how hominid species are related. It is now clear that hominid evolution did not proceed by the simple, straight-line transformation of one species to another. [emphasis original] Current hypotheses about early stages of human evolution recognize the incompleteness of the data.6 (other emphasis mine)

Several other examples like these are pointed out in the Evolution Exposed books. For something that is supposedly absolutely true (e.g., “hominids” are all related), there sure are a lot of unknowns: “time ranges are likely to change as paleontologists gather new data. . . . Paleontologists do not yet have enough information to know how hominid species are related. . . . incompleteness of the data . . . .”

Stop all the trickery, fraught and wishful thinking.

In this particular tactic of emotive language, no facts are offered to back up the assertions of trickery—just personal biased opinion. Besides, on what moral grounds can an evolutionist appeal to us to stop our “trickery”? What makes it wrong in that worldview?

The above plea appeals to some sort of authority that describes what is good (not tricking) and what is bad (trickery, deception). This is inconsistent with an evolutionary worldview in which there is no logical basis for “good” or “bad.” By making such a statement, the evolutionist is actually borrowing morals from the Christian worldview and the Bible in order to claim something is “trickery.”

Within a naturalistic, evolutionary worldview, morality is merely a matter of subjective opinion. So, whether something such as trickery or deception is wrong depends on each person—because it’s merely the result of chemical reactions in our brains.

I could just as easily say that this email we received is deceptive and full of wishful thinking. And if I get a big enough group together, we can decide that your definition of trickery is wrong. The combined random chemical reactions in our brains form the majority, which makes you wrong—at least until another majority comes along. Without any ultimate standard, we could go back and forth all day saying this is right or that is right.

As silly as this scenario sounds, it is one of the only arguments evolutionists have for anything that resembles morality. Absolute morals only make sense in a Christian worldview—they come from the One who knows what is good because He is the standard for good. The only One who fits that description is the God of the Bible, the Creator of the universe.

If we as a society, and yes, as a species, truly desire to grow and enrich our lives, we need to end creationist denialism

Another straw-man.

and refrain, as good people,

And by what standard would good be defined? The author’s? Hitler’s? Society’s? All of these are different, not absolute, and subject to change. If the evolutionary worldview were true—and by extension, its necessary dogmas of time plus chance and randomness—then there would be no way to authoritatively define what is good, since good would differ from person to person and from one society to another.

To even define anything or anyone as “good” (or bad), there needs to be an absolute (unchanging) standard—God. Without Him and without His record of where the knowledge of good and bad originated (Genesis 1–3), there is no definite, absolute way to know what is good. Therefore, this argument is self-refuting.

from ignoring scientific fact and conjuring strange excuses

More equivocation and unsubstantiated allegation.

and interpretations of beautiful, yet poetic text

Yes, the Bible is poetic in some places (like Psalms and even Genesis 49), but in much of the text (like Genesis 1–11) it is written as literal history—and should be interpreted as such. We interpret Scripture with Scripture, and since Jesus viewed this section as literal history (Matthew 19:4–5; Luke 17:26–27), so must we.

But if one can arbitrarily reinterpret literal history as poetry, then I can arbitrarily reinterpret this email. I believe the author is being diametrically poetic. That is, even though the writing seems to convey that evolution is true and creation is wrong, the real meaning is just the opposite—creation is true and evolution is false. Or maybe he is just telling us that he likes pancakes. Though this seems a bit silly, it illustrates the absurdity of reinterpreting God’s Word arbitrarily.

God’s interpretation of His own Word and His interpretation of the facts and evidences around us is the only correct, consistent, authoritative, and logical one. For more on the logical fallacies involved in the evolutionary worldview and billions of years, and to better defend the faith, I recommend The Ultimate Proof of Creation, Ultimate Apologetics Boxed Set (4 DVDs), Discerning Truth, and Always Ready by Dr. Greg Bahnsen.

In Him,
David Wright

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Footnotes

  1. A “contrary to fact conditional error” fallacy alters historical facts and then draws conclusions from them. Back
  2. J. Dunphy, “A Religion for a New Age,” The Humanist, Jan.–Feb. 1983, 23, 26. Back
  3. Kenneth R. Miller and Joseph Levine, Biology (Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006), p. 436. Back
  4. Ibid. Back
  5. Kenneth R. Miller and Joseph Levine, Biology (Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006), p. 839. Back
  6. Ibid. Back