Fallacious Evolutionary Arguments Part III : Misconstrued Evidence

by / January 27, 2016

Above: New evidence indicates evolutionists routinely misinterpret the age of dinosaur bones.

This is part 3 in a series on fallacious evolutionary arguments, covering arguments 6 through 8
For part 1, see here. For part 2, see here.

Molecules to man evolution is not a defensible scientific theory. And by “theory” I mean it in the same sense evolutionists do, not as some would contend, that it’s something insubstantial and still in need of much work. Evolutionists want you to believe evolution is no mere working proposition. They want you to believe it is both established science and defensible. This article discusses why it is indefensible whatever they choose to call it.

As outlined in the previous article in this series, in support of their belief that evolution is defensible science they resort to games such as the “Name Game” to try to make you believe it’s proven science. Briefly, the ploy of the name game is to surreptitiously redefine evolution as something other than particles to people evolution, (which they cannot prove) while hoping you won’t notice they have not addressed the issue. Note they truly believe particles to people evolution, that is after all the logical and direct consequence of what must happen if God is removed from the picture. But since it is unobservable with no viable theory of how life originated it is not a defensible theory. So to save face for their theory they will commonly hide it behind a more defensible proposition and define it as something else, like “a change in the allele frequencies in a population” or “a change in inheritable traits” – propositions they can defend, but obviously different from the particles to people evolution under discussion.

Lest you think I exaggerate about this being a common tactic, before moving on to examples of the next fallacy, let me provide an example of this ploy in the wild. In an article intended to answer objections to evolution raised by creationists, Scientific American claims a number of the arguments pointed out in the previous post are incorrect. While it’s tempting to do a point by point refutation of the article, doing so would take us on an excursus far beyond the scope and length of this article, so I will focus on the matter at hand: their use of the name game in defense of evolution. Here’s how Scientific American does it. Following is the third item in their list of what they consider “Creationist Nonsense.” In bold is the charge against evolution (which I agree with) and following is their defense:

Evolution is unscientific, because it is not testable or falsifiable. It makes claims about events that were not observed and can never be re-created.
This blanket dismissal of evolution ignores important distinctions that divide the field into at least two broad areas: microevolution and macroevolution. Microevolution looks at changes within species over time–changes that may be preludes to speciation, the origin of new species. Macroevolution studies how taxonomic groups above the level of species change. Its evidence draws frequently from the fossil record and DNA comparisons to reconstruct how various organisms may be related.[1]

In that charge against evolution (in bold) they mention most of the objections I previously noted – evolution is not testable, not falsifiable, unable to be re-created. Now look carefully at their defense. Do they discuss how they can test particles to people evolution? Do they discuss who observed it? Do they discuss how they can replicate molecules to man evolution? No, no and no. What, then do they discuss? They discuss not one, but two different types of evolution: Macroevolution and Microevolution. And then they go on to defend those types of evolution. Can the “bait and switch”[2] of this name game be any clearer? In passing let me briefly respond to the distractions of Microevolution and Macroevolution that they’re waving in front of your face hoping you’ll forget they have yet to defend particles to people evolution.

The challenge to evolution in the 21st century is one of information. Where does new information come from? Only one source of  information has ever been identified: an intelligent mind. Undirected natural processes can remove information, and corrupt existing information, but those Darwinian processes cannot add new information. Thus changes in species over time – what they refer to as micro-evolution is a result of the removal of genetic information previously built in by the intelligent mind of God that allows species to adapt to different environments. As noted in the previous article, this adaptation can happen through natural selection (which removes genetic information). Consider also that Microevolution looks at “changes within a species” so we’re dealing not with a different species but the same species. That’s hardly the particles to people evolution that the “nonsense” charge refers to. No one (creationists included) denies that species change over time. Obviously a change in a species that leads to the same species is not particles to people evolution, and in fact would not even be considered “evolution” by casual observers – those without a vested interest in defending evolution.

With regard to Macroevolution, or changes “above the species level”,  again the challenge is information.  What is needed is new, additional genetic information. Where does it come from? Neither natural selection nor mutations add information. As discussed in the previous article, natural selection removes the information about traits that are not helpful, thus decreasing information.  Mutations, likewise tend to remove genetic information. The key point to note about mutations is this:

“They have never, ever been observed to add genetic information. They can only change what is there.”[3]
Dr. Georgia Purdom, molecular geneticist

So even the distractions evolutionists provide are incapable of creating the type of evolution their blind faith requires. This distraction is quite common. If Scientific American engages in it, you can believe evolutionists of every stripe will do likewise. So the typical approach to defending the theory is to distract attention away from its weaknesses and never discuss them. Let’s turn now to how they handle the evidence they claim supports it.

Misconstrued Evidence
Evolutionists like to say they have overwhelming evidence for evolution, so much so that they consider it a fact. As evolutionary cheerleader Richard Dawkins is fond of claiming:

“In the ordinary language sense of the word fact, evolution is a fact.”[4]

How can evolution be considered a “fact” if, as I contend, it is an indefensible scientific theory? Science deals with evidence. But evidence does not interpret itself. Interpretations begin with a world view. You get one interpretation if you begin with the assumption there is no God. You arrive at quite a different one if you assume God exists. Thus at the root of this conflict is an unacknowledged philosophical (and spiritual) battle that colors how the evidence is viewed. Evolutionists will likewise say that creationists approach the evidence  with assumptions. Granted. The difference is the creationist worldview allows a serious consideration of all evidence; dismissing only the theories that does not accord with the evidence. The anti-God, anti-Christ worldview view of the evolutionist will not allow him to consider any scenario or solution that is too close to the biblical account. That is the primary reason among others why in spite of obvious evidence of a global flood, it is denied – along with the overwhelming impression of intelligent design in God’s creation and the evidence that supports it.

Incorrect Conclusions
How do scientists arrive at conclusions about evidence? The scientific method deals with two primary tools: observation and inference to the best explanation. For example, it was by observation of his carefully constructed flasks that would allow air in, but not bacteria that allowed Louis Pasteur to witness during his 19th century experiment that life did not arise from non-living things as previously supposed. Consider another scenario. Suppose tracks are found in an area known to be inhabited by bears. A local hunter and tracker examines the tracks and infers they were made by the Black bears known to live in the area. A UFO enthusiast examines the tracks and infers they were made by aliens from a distant galaxy that came to earth and made the tracks in an effort to contact humans.

The question then becomes, what is the best explanation? There are a few things to notice about this simple example:

  • One explanation is a better explanation than the other, because it better accords with known facts and experience
  • Both explanations reveal a bit about the background and philosophical approach taken by the ones making the inference.
  • Both inferences are made on the basis of the same evidence. It’s not that different evidence is examined; the same evidence is examined and different conclusion are drawn based primarily on philosophical differences.
  • As one evaluating the arguments, you need not be an expert on either bears or UFO’s to judge that one inference is a better, more likely explanation than the other.

This was an obvious and extreme example to illustrate the dynamics involved over the evidence used for evolution. Just as the UFO enthusiast examined evidence and comes to conclusions that fit preconceived notions, so will supporters of evolution. It remains the job of the reader to examine the conclusions made by those examining the evidence (the experts) to determine if the theories advanced are in fact an inference to the best explanation based on the evidence. Or is it merely the preferred explanation based on unstated (but obvious) philosophical considerations. Given, that consider the following evidences put forward in support of evolution:

Fallacious Argument 6:
“Dinosaur fossils are millions of years old”
“Everyone knows what wiped out the dinosaurs. Sixty five million years ago it came from outer space.”[5] So begins a documentary entitled “What really killed the dinosaurs?” It perpetuates the supposed date which scientists have settled on as the time frame for when the dinosaurs disappeared from the earth: 65 million years ago. That time frame is very important to evolutionists because they need millions of years for man to evolve from apes and to have certain dinosaurs turn into birds. But how do they arrive at that date?

Scientists use a number of methods, but the two most appealed to are the geological column and radiometric dating methods. The geological column is a composite model of various strata or layers of dirt and rock that make up the earth’s crust. Each layer presumably represents a different era of geological time. Thus, the theory goes, geologist are able to date the age of the earth, and the items found in it. But as has often been pointed out[6], the use of the geological column to date fossils is based on a circular argument with no root or basis for a firm date. Even the 12 year old daughter of creationist Kent Hovind was able to recognize that. Speaking to a tour guide at the Mines & Technology Museum of Geology, Rapid City S.D., she asked:[7]

    Sir how do you know those bones are a hundred million years old?
    (Tour guide) Honey we tell the age of the bones by which layer they came from.
    She said, sir, when we were standing over there, you told me you knew the age of the layers by the bones, and now you’re telling me you know the age of the bones by the layers. Isn’t that circular reasoning?

To shore up their case, old earth geologists use radiometric dating to confirm an old age for the earth, and the dinosaur fossils found in the layers. But radiometric dating is based on three assumptions[8] that significantly affect the presumed date of an item, creating possible errors in the order of millions of years. Given that radiometric dating is prone to such errors, it is not consistently used. It is used selectively when it will support evolutionary claims as one evolutionist admits:

“If a C14 [Carbon14] date supports our theories, we put it in the main text. If it does not entirely contradict them, we put it in a footnote. And if it is completely ‘out of date’, we just drop it.”[9]

Thus even scientists acknowledge that radiometric dating methods do not provide absolute dates. Now consider that in light of the recent discovery by paleontologist Dr. Mary Schweitzer of soft tissue, blood vessels and blood in what is supposed to be 68 million year old T. Rex Bones. No one disputes that such soft tissue, and particularly DNA could not last millions of years. And so the evolutionists are in a quandary, and are looking for explanations to this contradiction to their theory. So far, none of their explanations are tenable.[10] The question for the person seeking the truth is – which time frame and explanation is an inference to the best explanation:

  • Evolutionary theory, which claims millions of years and relies on dates based on circular reasoning, problematic radiometric dating, and has much contradictory evidence, including this finding of soft tissue in purportedly 65 – 80 million year dinosaur bones.or
  • Creation theory, which claims thousands of years and relies on a reliable historical record provided in the word of God and many consistent evidences such as this finding of soft tissue in dinosaur bones.

Fallacious argument 7:
“Junk DNA proves DNA was not designed”
DNA is such a powerful testimony to a super intelligent designer, evolutionists and atheists have had to work long and hard to try to explain it away. Even so, they’ve failed in their efforts. Towards the goal of explaining away clearly apparent design in DNA, Francis Crick, the discover of DNA at one point went so far as to promote a theory called directed panspermia – that extra planetary aliens brought DNA to earth because he knew it was preposterous to try convince anyone that the extreme complexity, information bearing properties and raw information inherent in DNA came about by random chance occurrences.[11]

Another attempt at an explanation is the junk DNA gambit which supposed – since they didn’t know – that only 2% to 8.2% (depending on who you read)[12] of the human genome is used. The rest is allegedly the junk collected over millions of years of evolution.  This gambit has proved to be an obvious appeal to ignorance. As scientist have continued to study DNA, they now estimate conservatively that 93% of the human genome is used.[13] Being a conservative estimate, that number may – and probably will – go up. The obviously premature and ill advised supposition that DNA is “mostly junk” based on a puerile understanding of DNA again shows how philosophical considerations color treatment of evidence.  Clearly those who need to uphold a view that says DNA is the result of random processes, not the work of a super intelligent designer rushed to judgment and again got it wrong. Once again it is up to the truth seeker to determine if the proposition that:

  • DNA and the information in it is “mostly junk” and a result of  random processes – is a justified inference.
    Or whether
  • The existence of one of the most (if not the most) complex, efficient, self healing, information storage and retrieval system known to man is better explained by an intelligent creator who designed it and brought it into existence.

Fallacious argument 8:
Natural Selection is the answer to clearly apparent design questions.

With the publication his On The Origin of Species Darwin proposed a theory of evolution. But the idea of evolution is not original with Darwin. There were many who wrote of the concept before Darwin.[14] What Darwin added was a mechanism for change – natural selection. And thus many confuse natural selection with evolution.  But as I pointed out in the previous article natural selection is not synonymous with evolution. The role of natural selection in Darwinian evolution is not the only thing commonly mistaken about Darwin’s theory.  Perhaps as widespread is the misconception about what natural selection can do.

Many seem to conceive of natural selection as a limitless almost magical talisman capable of producing anything that the Darwinist need it to produce. But there are two very severe limitations on the ability of natural selection to produce anything. First, natural selection needs a number of traits to select from. Natural selection cannot make new traits, it can only eliminate existing traits. Second, natural selection can only operate when there are two living, reproducing members of a species. Put another way, natural selection cannot work on non-living chemicals. Thus it cannot work on the “particle” part of the particle to people evolution theory.

This may seem obvious, but some really do think natural selection is the answer to clearly apparent design in organisms. One of the clearest example of design in creatures is DNA. I speak about some of the aspects of that design in my article DNA and Windtalkers. In that article I list 4 items that are possible only by the intentional work of an intelligent designer. I have challenged evolutionists to describe how random processes with no purpose or intelligence could achieve those outcomes.  What was the response? Some claimed natural selection could do it. Clearly they do not understand the limitations of natural selection. The systems that make up DNA must exist before the creature does. Since natural selection can only operate once there are living, reproducing creatures under some kind of evolutionary pressure that favors one trait over another, clearly natural selection cannot create the DNA that creates the creature. Natural selection cannot do things like create chemical languages or codes. And it cannot add the required information.  Thus the question remains:  how can unguided, unintelligent, purposeless Darwinian evolutionary processes achieve those four items inherent in DNA? That challenge to evolutionists remains unanswered.

This concludes part 3. In the fourth and final part we’ll look at attacks evolutionists level at people who believe the history of the universe and the origins of life as recorded in the Bible which states: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.


Notes
1. John Rennie “15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense”, Scientific American, 7/1/2002
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/15-answers-to-creationist/

2. Creationist chemist and author Jonathan Sarfati has written extensively about evolution, including:
Sarfati, Jonathan, The Greatest Hoax on Earth? Refuting Dawkins on Evolution, Atlanta: Creation Book Publishers, 2010, p. 23

3. Georgia, Purdom, PhD, molecular physicist in a lecture on “Do Beneficial Mutations Exist”
http://rationalfaith.com/archive/Do Beneficial Mutations Exist_ – Dr Georgia Purdom_(360p).mp4
see also:
Georgia Purdom, “Are There Beneficial Mutations?”  25 April 2008, https://answersingenesis.org/genetics/mutations/are-there-beneficial-mutations/

4. Richard Dawkins, Big Think Video “The Fact of Evolution”, 21 Oct, 2009
http://bigthink.com/videos/the-fact-of-evolution

5. What Really Killed the Dinosaurs?, Science Channel documentary, 2005

6. For one example of the circular argument recognized, see here:
Roger Patterson “Geological Column”, Answers in Genesis 20 Jan 2011,
https://answersingenesis.org/geology/geologic-time-scale/geologic-column/

7. Kent Hovind, The Creation Series, DVD Video series, TLN-C  broadcast, 01 Nov, 2014

8. Radiometric dating assumes:
a) The initial amount of the parent element is known,
b) The rate of decay of the parent to the daughter element is and always has been constant, and
c) There have been no contaminants in the process.
These assumptions have been shown to be wrong in a numerous of cases.

9. Quoted by Säve-Söderberg., T. and Olsson, I.U., (Institute of Egyptology and Institute of Pysics respectively, University of Uppsala, Swededn), “C14 dating and Egyptian chronology”; in Olsson, I.U., (ed.), Radiocarbon Variations and Absolute Chronology, the 12th Nobel Symposium, p. 35. John Wiley & Sons, Inc, New York, 1970,
Referenced from Sarfati, Jonathan, The Greatest Hoax on Earth? Refuting Dawkins on Evolution, Atlanta: Creation Book Publishers, 2010, p. 194

10. For the evolutionary explanations and why they don’t hold up, see:
Calvin Smith, Dinosaur soft tissue, CMI 28 Jan 2014, http://creation.com/dinosaur-soft-tissue

11. Crick has since backed away from the Panspermia theory no doubt recognizing that
a) It doesn’t really answer the question of the origin of DNA –it  just places it on another planet and thus:
b) It  demonstrates how desperate evolutionists are to explain DNA away – making up theories with  little evidence behind them to explain away the powerful testimony of DNA.

12. Referencing 2%

Referencing 8.2%  – articles such as:

13  Junk DNA – There’s no such Thing!, Creation Ministries Video, published (YouTube) 25 April 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKNYD42Ntig

14. Creation Magazine LIVE!  5-02 “Was Darwin a plagiarist?” published (YouTube) 20 Jan 2016,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8exMvi23OzI

15. An example of evolutionary pressure is given in Cosmos – A space time Odyssey where they point out that a brown bear in the artic would be under greater environmental stress due to its color than a polar bear. (Cosmos – A Space Time Odyssey episode 2 “Some of the Things That Molecules Do”, 2014)

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Duane Caldwell
Duane holds a B.Sc. in Aeronautics and a M.Div. from Trinity International University. A former pastor, one of his favorite Bible verses is Isaiah 11.9: "...for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." Until that day arrives Duane is distressed to see the glory due God given to false ideas like Evolution and the Big Bang. He is likewise distressed to see those deceived into believing that science contradicts the Bible or has solved all problems apart from God. He considers his current ministry to be demonstrating why the Christian worldview is the only true worldview, and why science does not contradict it or the Bible. He blogs on numerous topics touching the faith at Rationalfaith.com.

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