Saturday, March 7, 2009

A strategy to briefly engage and rebut Atheistic Naturalist teachers on evolutionary theory

A scenario came up in a discussion board I frequent concerning a biology teacher that would challenge his students whenever the topic of evolution arose. He would challenge the students that if they objected to his veiws they should speak up and that their silence was basically an acceptance of evolutionary theory.

I have tried to think up a brief, yet impactful rebuttal - this is was I have, thus far:

I'd probably start with the fact that evolution is not intellectually satisfying on its face in that the theory relies on the unguided increase of information to accomplish what it theorizes, which is counter to the observation of natural processes.

I'd also say that I object to the premise of evolution, that is, "from goo to you" as well as the implications - that is - social Darwinism (Nazi-ism, Communism, the French reign of Terror - more deaths in the last century - over 100 million or so - than the sum of all previous religious or political movements in human history).

I'd summarize that while I may not be able to rebut the teacher on the level of detail into which they may try to dive and while evolutionary theory and the worldview it supports may be intellectually satisfying to some, I am satisfied that my worldview supports a spiritual and scientific framework with an ultimate purpose and goal for Creation and does not reduce Mankind to a morally deluded, purposeless gene-passing meatbag.

I welcome your feedback and refinement of this short rebuttal :)

9 comments:

  1. I would simply ask him, since we have been able for the last 30 years so to see down to the most intricate workings of the cell, to take any of the proposed ancestor-descendant examples they love to quote, and demonstrate the exact biochemical pathways by which the descendant arose. It should be simple, it is just a matter of genes "telling" proteins how to act, so how and why did those genes and proteins act to go from ape-like to man, for example?

    Since the advent of microbiology, all the rest of the evolutionary "proof" is superfluous, the action is at the gene and cell level and we can see that. So that is what the science teacher needs to demonstrate.

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  2. "He would challenge the students that if they objected to his veiws they should speak up and that their silence was basically an acceptance of evolutionary theory."

    Is this a real teacher or just a hypothetical scenario? If he's a real teacher, I'd love to know more about him, because from what you've written here, he could only be described as an intellectual bully. He's the equivalent of a full-grown muscle-builder telling smaller teenagers that if they don't speak up, they've assented to give him their lunch money.

    As a non-theist (and acknowledger of evolution) in his class, I'd challenge him where it counts the most: he's made a faulty argument that silence = affirmation. I'd go after him for attempting to intimidate rather than educate, and I'd challenge him to explain how his "challenge" fits into the scientific method.

    If he's real, let me at this guy!

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  3. I'd simply tell the emperor he has no clothes. Darwinists are their own worst enemies. They give you the following:

    Our reasoning abilities are the results of Darwinian evolution which is geared towards survivability, not truth. You then have, in many cases, Darwinists giving examples of beliefs that they say came about due to Darwinian evolution, but which they say are false, and claim we only believe it because it was useful.

    They then claim to be rational beings capable of finding truth.

    "It is almost as if the human brain were specifically designed to misunderstand Darwinism, and to find it hard to believe…All of our intuitive judgments of what is probable turn out to be wrong…because [they were] tuned—ironically, by evolution itself," R. Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (W.W. Norton, 1986), xi-xii

    "The idea that one species of organism is, unlike all the others, oriented not just toward its own increated prosperity but toward Truth, is as un-Darwinian as the idea that every human being has a built-in moral compass--a conscience that swings free of both social history and individual luck." (Richard Rorty, "Untruth and Consequences," The New Republic, July 31, 1995, pp. 32-36.)

    "Boiled down to essentials, a nervous system enables the organism to succeed in the four F's: feeding, fleeing, fighting and reproducing. The principle chore of nervous systems is to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive. . . . . Improvements in sensorimotor control confer an evolutionary advantage: a fancier style of representing is advantageous so long as it is geared to the organism's way of life and enhances the organism's chances of survival [Churchland's emphasis]. Truth, whatever that is, definitely takes the hindmost."

    Is it cheating, in a sense, to go that far from the beginning?

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  4. Skeptimal, why don't you give us your definition of science. Also, why don't you tell us what he precise criteria are that demarcates science from non-science.

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  5. "Nobody is redefining science - we're just challenging the prevailing presupposition."

    Creationists claim creationism is science, and to do so, they have to redefine science so that evidence is not required but faith is. Creationists repeatedly make the false claim that the only thing standing between yourselves and the universal acceptance of creationism as science is bias among legitimate scientists.

    And by the way, the Cambrian explosion does not indicate that life came into existence all at once but over millions of years. Man did not arise during the Cambrian period, but hundreds of millions of years later.

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  6. "Creationists claim creationism is science, and to do so, they have to redefine science so that evidence is not required but faith is."

    Nice try, but secular scientists hold to a whole bunch of things by faith as well. You just cannot look at issues objectively, or at least from both sides, can you?

    Why don't you justify the reliability of the senses to start with. Also, how do you know that nature will act in the same way tomorrow as it did today? Since we are talking about science, why don't you account for the validity of the scientific method. Also, why don't you explain how you get to know true or false propositions.

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  7. "And by the way, the Cambrian explosion does not indicate that life came into existence all at once but over millions of years. Man did not arise during the Cambrian period, but hundreds of millions of years later."

    That is not the point. The point is that the majority of phyla arose without any demonstrable ancestors over a relatively short time in the Cambrian. The 10-15 million years is a drop in the bucket over the 4.6 billion year age of the earth.

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  8. "The point is that the majority of phyla arose without any demonstrable ancestors over a relatively short time in the Cambrian. The 10-15 million years is a drop in the bucket over the 4.6 billion year age of the earth."

    Before the Cambrian period, most life forms were of insufficient size or solidity to leave fossils. The life forms developed through evolution, they didn't just appear overnight fully made. And the Cambrian explosion does not fit either of the Genesis stories of creation.

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  9. "That's convenient. We'll define science as that which "cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door", and then call creationism "anti-science". Hopefully, even you can see the circularity in that reasoning."

    I'm not familiar with the author you quote, so I can't be sure what he was getting at. Nevertheless, your comment here gets to the heart of the disagreement over whether creationism is science.

    As I have said here many times before, science does not rule out the existence of gods. Nor does it rule out the possibility that the original cause of life was divine in origin.

    What it *does* do is acknowledge that if the world was created supernaturally, then that question is beyond the realm of science. If one god or another exists and has chosen to play hide-and-go-seek by supernaturally re-setting the half-lives of the elements every 6,000 years, then science is never going to be able to approach that question. The gods are just going to keep changing the shape of the puzzle pieces so the puzzle can't be solved.

    For that reason, creationism can't be disproven, because it is based on a presupposition that evidence can't be trusted. Good for you that it can't be disproven, but that rules it out from being science.

    Evolution can be disproven if it is not the truth, and that is what religious people have been trying unsuccessfully to do since the theory first arose. But that doesn't make the Bible true, and pointing out evolution's unanswered questions will never make creationism science.

    And let's be candid here. Your goal is not to debunk evolution. You *have* to debunk evolution to accomplish your real goal: that of pretending that creationism *is* science. Your real problem with evolution is that it disagrees with the Bible.

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