The cure for cults that want to deny others
their freedom of speech is more freedom of speech
-- Fredric Rice

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Creationist Cults

Creationism's Dud From Their Arsenal:
Argument From Design

THE LIE:

"Darwin said if a single organ or creature could be found whose origin could not be explained by his theory, his theory would be falsified. Today, we know of thousands of such examples. Consider the metamorphosis of the Monarch butterfly. The egg produces a caterpillar which crawls on legs and eats leaves. After some time and several molts, the caterpillar changes in less than two minutes into a chrysalis (an engineering marvel). Evolution by random mutations, if it were possible, would require thousands of years to do this. The creature would never survive. The green jelly inside the chrysalis, in a few days, changes into a butterfly. No evolutionist[sic] can even imagine an evolutionary process that could accomplish this. One evolutionary book stated that this is a miraculous process, the origin of which defies description." --- Reverend Duane Gish

THE TRUTH:

Reverend Gish appears to believe that just because he cannot understand or figure out how a caterpillar evolved to turn into a butterfly, it must not be possible for evolutionary processes to achieve the effect. This is pure arrogance on his part, based upon his gross ignorance and apparent inability or lack of desire to study the issue. He is merely content to stew in his ignorance and wail "'Tain't so!"

The fact that any process of nature is not CURRENTLY understood by scientists (and there are hundreds of thousands) does not automatically mean scientists must assign that process to "god dunnit." That was the belief of people who were ignorant of natural processes and forces, who attributed stuff like lightning and thunder to god (Zeus, Thor, et al). One can be confident that butterflys evolved because it is nearly[*] certain that all of the other species that have existed and currently exist on Earth have evolved (the evidence for this is conclusive and not disputed).

[*] All sciences, including the evolutionary sciences, deal in levels of confidence: science (other than mathematics) never deals in certainty. That is, certainty is not the venue of science. If you want to believe something with absolute certanty, there are tens of thousands of cults you may join. That evolution occured and occurs is so confidently factual, it is a near-certainty.

As for "design."

The argument via design claim runs something as follows. If I found a watch sitting in an empty field, I would immediately recognize that it has been created because it exhibits all the signs of design. I look at the Universe and it appears to be designed, therefore it must have been created.

This is an argument by analogy in which one claims that since the design exhibited by a watch means there must have been a watchmaker, the design exhibited by the universe must mean that there was a creator(s).

As Hume correctly pointed out, argument via analogy only holds if the arguments are analogous.

If I were to hand an object to [Rev Gish], for example, in the overwhelming majority of cases he would be able to correctly identify it as either a manmade artifact or a natural artifact. This amazing ability of every human to separate out manmade from natural artifacts is only possible because we have been able to repeatedly examine both types of objects, and we are familiar with the characteristics of both natural and human artifacts.

Now on the other hand, you have the Universe which contains everything you can see / touch / taste / smell / hear. You have no point of reference to compare the Universe to (and we are starting out under the assumption that we are not sure whether the Universe was created or not). If the Universe is the handiwork of a creator(s), you can only experience what a Universe designed by a creator(s) is like. If it is not designed by a creator(s) you can only experience what a Universe that is not designed by a creator(s) is like.

In the case of the watch or any item I may hand you, you have two clearly distinct designations, manmade or natural. For the Universe you only have one designation (and you are not sure which designation, created or noncreated). Therefore, the primary attributes of the object and the Universe that is the subject of the analogy is known, a priori, NOT to be analogous (even if we are not sure exactly what the state of the Universe is with regard to the createdness question).

It is for this reason that [any] version of the watchmaker argument is fallacious. It might hearten some Creationists to know, however, that the same fallacy will also destroy any "evolutionists" attempts to reverse the argument. (Of course, I've never seen an "evolutionist" try to argue this in reverse, but I'm sure it could happen.) --- Jeffrey Shallit



Any text written by the creationist cult which may be quoted within this criticial examination of the creationist cult is provided according to U. S. Code Title 17 "Fair Use" dictates which may be reviewed at http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html


"You can lie about ICR all you want." -- Jason Daniel Henderson

"Thank you for your permission however there's never any need to. Creationist propaganda is already self-debunking." -- Fredric L. Rice

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