Fallacious Evolutionary Arguments Part IV: Misguided Attacks

by / February 3, 2016

Above: Those who deny God’s activity in the creation routinely try to kill any evidence that originates from the Bible.

This is the final part of a 4 part series on fallacious evolutionary arguments, covering arguments 9 through 11. For the previous installments, see  part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Fallacious argument 9: A Misguided attack on reason:
“There’s no evidence of God”

The only alternative to life arising via some form of evolution, is that all life originated from God. There is no other alternative. Thus, in support of the godless theory of evolution, atheists and evolutionists alike tend to use the argument “there’s no evidence of God”, and its variant “there’s no evidence for x” – for any “x” they don’t believe. They don’t believe in God, so they say there’s no evidence of God. They don’t believe in an intelligent designer, so they say there’s no evidence for intelligent design. They don’t believe in miracles, so they say there’s no evidence of miracles, and some will foolishly go so far as to say there’s no evidence of the miracle worker Jesus.  What are we to make of such allegations?

For the Christian, it strains credulity that anyone can say that there is no evidence for God, when evidence is literally all around. Every created thing is a testimony to God. And it’s not only scripture that says that (John 1.3), but a little reflection on what  British cosmologist and astronomer royal Martin Rees  considers the “preeminent mystery”[1] – why anything exists rather than nothing – will quickly lead one to the conclusion that every created thing ultimately owes its existence to something else. That statement of course does not apply to God, because God is not a created being, he’s the eternally existing, uncreated  creator. This argument has been formalized as the argument from contingency[2] and basically states there are two types of existence: contingent existence and necessary existence.  What we see around us and above us – all of it – need not exist, and thus owes its existence to something else.  Thus all things in the visible world are contingent things. Again, the only exception to this is God – whose very nature is existence, and so his name “I Am” (Ex 3.14) is most appropriate;  and his existence is not contingent, but necessary. God necessarily exists because that is the nature of God.

This necessity of God’s existence is also the basis for the ontological argument for God.  For if you properly understand the concept of God, you understand God exists, because existence is a fundamental characteristic of God, without which he cannot be God.  Put another way a God without existence, is not truly God. Thus eminent philosopher Alvin Plantiga argues if you merely concede the concept of God is possible, you have conceded he exists.[3] God, the necessary being, is thus the source of everything that is not necessary, or contingent. So all you need to do is look around to see evidence of God. Every created thing is evidence of his work, and thus of his existence.

Apart from everything that exists, given the amount of evidence in all the various fields of study that can be presented (Astronomy, Biology, physics, information theory, etc.), one is tempted to say the people who state there’s no evidence of God are simply lying. But if the charge is not true, that’s a type of ad hominem fallacy (which I cover further below) which should be avoided. Even when it is true, making such a charge drags you down into the nasty business of mud slinging and name calling, a place a Christian definitely doesn’t want to be. It’s much better to demonstrate this is very a misguided attack on reason, for reason cannot tolerate the duplicity, deception or ignorance inherent in the claim of  “no evidence.”  Thus the better approach is to reveal the duplicity, deception or ignorance of the one making such a claim via a few deftly placed questions.

The first, and most important question to ask when challenged with the “no evidence” objection is “what kind of evidence are you willing to accept?”  This is especially important if the allegation is made that there is no “verifiable” evidence.  When such a statement is made, it typically   means there is no evidence you can produce that will meet the unbeliever’s standard for “verifiable.”  This is an illicit shifting of the burden of proof. Regardless of whether they include “verifiable” or not, once you require them to specify what kind of evidence they will accept,  you have immediately placed them on the horns of a tri-lemma. What options do they have for a response? They can state either:

1. There is no evidence that can prove God
2. I don’t know, show me and I’ll let you know if I accept it
3. I need to see some type of spectacular miracle as evidence

If they answer #1, (there’s nothing you can show them that will persuade them that God exists), you expose that they, like atheist evangelist Richard Dawkins have already made up their minds and are not looking for evidence, and in fact cannot be convinced[4]. They may want to argue, or disparage   creationists, or have other like intentions, but their underlying motive is not a true search for evidence. The sooner you get that on the table the better, so you can stop wasting your time.

If they answer #2, (I don’t know what evidence I’ll accept) the question to the challenger becomes, “how can you know what I will present is evidence or not, and what basis would you have for rejecting it if you don’t know what type of evidence is in fact evidence?” For the “I’ll let you know what I’ll accept” response, ask “what assurance can you give me that the evidence I give you will be treated as evidence, and not dismissed without serious consideration, since you can’t tell me what you consider as evidence?”  From these the evidence-denier can either  expose themselves as really being in camp 1, (nothing will convince them, and they have no intention of treating any evidence you provide fairly), or  they can move to camp 3, stating some particular, usually spectacular evidence that would convince them.

If they respond with #3 –  some type of supernatural event is required, follow with, why would that be evidence of God? Again, they can only expose themselves as really being in camp 1 – a miracle wouldn’t really convince them (as the resurrection doesn’t convince some people per Jesus’ parable – Luke 16.30-31). Alternately they can specify what kind of miracle would be persuasive, and thus verify that miracles are indeed a type of evidence for God. Since God has already done all types of miracles,  no doubt whatever type of miracle is suggested, a similar miracle recorded in the Bible can be referenced.

Notice at this point you have already defeated the objection. You’ve either identified their objection is a smoke screen, and they’re not really looking for evidence; or you’ve them moved from there is no evidence, to them identifying what evidence they would accept, to having a reason to examine the bible for evidence of those miracles. If their request is at all reasonable and not irrational (like the request for God to produce a square circle which is logically impossible so is an invalid request to begin with), then you (perhaps with the help of a search engine) will be able to find some type of examples.

Once they show their true colors on whether or not they’re really looking for evidence of God you will likely run into the next objection.

 Fallacious argument 10: A  Misguided attack on the bible:
“The Bible is a myth”

If they’re brave enough to state what type of evidence they’ll accept, they will likely move to this next misguided attack: specifying the evidence can’t come from the Bible. The reason for their objection can take many forms:

  • “the bible is full of fairy tales, with a fairy tale God”
  • “the bible is a myth – as is every other god.”
  • “the Bible is full of errors”

Two things should be highlighted at this point: First ask, “what evidence do you have that the Bible is a myth or full of fairytales?” They will likely have no evidence of this, and are merely repeating what they’ve heard. You can confirm this by asking  as Jesus did when Pilate was questioning him,  “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?” (John 18.34)  Whether they came up with it themselves, or heard it from another, if they have no evidence the response is the same:
Tell them, I thought you based all your opinions on theories backed by evidence. As the late atheist Christopher Hitchens popularized:

“what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence,”[5]

So simply state, “You have no evidence that the Bible is a myth,” and summarily dismiss the objection. If they persist in stating the Bible is a myth ask them how that can be since the Bible records real history – events that took place at identifiable locations on the earth; a book which is populated with historical people, doing historical things that are recorded in not just in the bible, but other historical books[6] as well, and ask, “how can that be a myth?”

A denial of biblical events is really a denial that you can know anything that happened in the past that you didn’t witness personally. For example, how do you know that George Washington existed and was the first president? Or that World War I happened, or the holocaust?  The answer to all of these is we have historical records which include eye witness testimonies.  And we have evidence, some of which includes a lasting legacy that points to the original event. So the fact that we have a current US president is a legacy to the founding of the U.S. and evidence there was a first president. The diary of Anne Frank and the remnants of the concentration camp at Dachau are evidences of the holocaust. And the many Christian churches throughout the world is a legacy and testimony to the founder of the Christian church – Jesus Christ who built the Church without building a single church.[7]

Secondly it should be pointed out that the evidence for the Biblical account of history such as the resurrection of Jesus is as strong if not stronger than the evidence for any other historical event. A number of historians  underscores this point, for example:

“I claim to be a historian. My approach to the classics is historical. And I tell you that the evidence for the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ is better authenticated than most of the facts of modern history.”[8]
E. M. Blaiklock – Professor of Classics, Auckland University

So atheists and others who attack the Bible claiming it is a myth or a fairytale reveal themselves as those who claim to be interested in the facts and the evidence, but in reality are only interested in justifying their beliefs regardless of what the truth is. As such they are not really interested in the evidence as they claim. Another good thing to get on the table and out in the open.

Fallacious argument 11: A Misguided attacks on creationists and believers:
The Ever Present Ad Hominen Attacks

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines this fallacy as:

Your reasoning contains this fallacy if you make an irrelevant attack on the arguer and suggest that this attack undermines the argument itself.[9]

Clearly this type of attack does nothing to undermine the claim you’re making, but it makes the challenger feel good, and those who agree with the challenger tend to be amused by such attacks and don’t care that they have not made even a dent to counter what you’re saying.

The attack typically manifests as derogatory comments on your education, or your intelligence, or your understanding of any given theory.  Ignore such attacks. Or wear them as a badge of honor. Either way, the fact that atheists and  evolutionists use such attacks shows they have no rational argument to put forth and have resorted instead to attacking the messenger instead of dealing with the truth of the message. In such cases rational discourse is impossible – no point in attempting it.

One of these types of attacks deserves special attention because it, in particular, can be galling. That’s the charge of lying mentioned above.

Ad Hominem Special Case: The Charge of Lying

In a special on Darwinism that looks at Christians who don’t believe his theory of evolution, a professor who supports Darwinism is shown saying,

“If the only way you can get your beliefs to persist is to lie to children – which is what creationists do about the age of the earth and things of that nature, if that’s the only way this thing can persist, it’s not worth it, it should disappear.”[10]

This is a common and pernicious attack leveled at any creationist who makes public announcements against evolution. To verify this you need only look at twitter comments from evolutionists to well know supporters of creation such as Ken Ham, or any well known evangelist such as Ray Comfort. I’ve had this charge leveled at me as well. Of course the easy response is to challenge them to identify a lie you’ve made, specifying that differences of opinion on evidence are not lies. Typically, even with the clarification, those charging you with lying will still point to differences in opinion on evidences.  For creationists with integrity (which should be all of us) they will not be able to point to a lie – which is an intentionally misleading statement or statements made in order to direct someone from the truth to something that’s not true.

The question then becomes, why do evolutionists believe creationists to be intentionally misleading people? Some respond creationists are honest, they’re just mistaken about the evidence[11], so they aren’t telling the truth because they don’t know it. That at least eliminates the accusation of intentional deception, but I think the consistency and vehemence with which the charge is leveled against creationists points to a deeper belief in evolutionists about creationists.

It appears that evolutionists believe that evolution is so obvious, so scientifically established, so well documented that creationists must really believe it deep down, and we’re simply denying it and hiding that we believe it.  If that were true, it would indeed make the practitioner guilty of presenting a deceptive picture of origins to others.  But of course the fact is creationists really and truly are convinced that not only is Darwinian evolution not true, but also the laws of nature are such that evolution doesn’t even stand a chance of being true. The best way to counter this apparent evolutionist belief about a hidden, secret concession to Darwinism is to demonstrate why evolution is not, and cannot be true. Rather than get into fossils and the folly of cladistics (an evolutionary practice that tries to determine how far various species are from a common ancestor – and from each other), I think the easiest way to disprove evolution is to demonstrate there has not been enough time  since the creation of the world for it to happen, since the evolutionary time frame requires millions (sometimes billions) of years; while the biblical one indicates only thousands.

Evolutionists of course realize this weakness and will fight you tooth and nail on it, so you should be able to respond at any give time off the top of your head, with 3 or 4 evidences of a young earth and a young universe. (An added benefit – it also disproves the Big Bang theory.) Here are some of my favorites:

    • If diamonds are among the oldest rocks, being millions of years old, why is there carbon 14 in them? Carbon 14 can last no more than 80-100,000 years. Why has it not decayed to its non-radioactive form? (Can’t be contamination, diamonds are also one of the hardest substances known – regular carbon couldn’t get in, and the carbon 14 couldn’t get out – except through decay.)[12]
    • Saturn’s rings are acknowledged to be young. How can that be in a universe that’s 13.7 billion years old? They cannot be billions of years old (just as people don’t live to be that thousands of years old), the rings would long ago have collapsed if they formed with the rest of the solar system 4.7 billion years ago. Additionally, there is no known viable method for their (later) creation.[13]
    • If Dinosaurs have been gone for 65 million years why is dinosaur tissue (which can only last thousands of years) being found in dinosaur bones supposedly 65-80 million years old?[14]
    • If the universe is 13.7 billion years old, many stars should have been born and died leaving super nova remnants (SNRs) which are very visible. The amount of visible SNRs are consistent with a universe a few thousand years old, not billions of years old. Where are all the super nova remnants? [15]
    • Earth’s Magnetic field is steadily decaying. At the rate it’s decaying, it should have decayed away long ago if the earth is 4.5 billion years old as claimed. The fact that it’s still here points to the fact that the earth is not 4.5 billion years old. [16]

Of course you should be able to refer them to longer lists as well such as this one or this one. But don’t be surprised if after presenting these, they remain unconvinced. Christians are called to  testify to the truth (John 15.27 ), not convert people (which is the work of the Spirit) (2 Thess 2.13). Our job is to simply speak the truth of the good news, which they’ve probably already heard, invite them to live according to the truth, and finally remind them of the destiny of all men:

 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
1 Pet 4.5

A sobering thought for anyone who considers it seriously.


Notes
1.  Rees, Martin “Our Cosmic Habitat“,  Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press 2001, p.xi

2.  For more on the argument from Contingency, see: William Lane Craig “Argument from Contingency” Reasonable Faith,  http://www.reasonablefaith.org/Argument-from-Contin

3.  Plantiga, Alvin in “The Ontological Argument“, Published (YouTube 6/28/2009)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCXvVcWFrGQ (starting at 3:55)

4.  Richard Dawkins in Conversation with Peter Boghossian,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNcC866sm7s starting at 12:30, accessed 1/30/2016

5.  For more, see: Hitchens’s razor https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitchens%27s_razor, accessed 2/2/2016

6.  For example, the writings of the first century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (e.g. The Antiquities of the Jews, The War of the Jews), see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus

7.  A little Christian theology is needed here: Jesus said “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matt 16.18
The Church (capital C) is a collection of all those with saving faith in Jesus.
The church (smalll c) is the local church, or a collection of local churches, or the physical building, or a number of other related concepts other than the collection of those who believe and are saved by faith and kept by the indwelling Spirit.

8.  E. M. Blaiklock – referenced from: Josh McDowell “Evidences of Jesus Christ’s Resurrection“, accessed 9/28/2014,  http://focusonjerusalem.com/evidencefortheressurrection.html

9.  Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Fallacies, accessed 9/28/2014,  http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/#AdHominem

10.  Prof Steve Jones, President, Association for Science Education, “Questioning Darwin“, HBO documentary, 2014 ~about 53:20

11.  Simon Turpin,  “New Testament Scholar Says Creationists Are Honest But Not Truthful“, AIG October 27, 2015  https://answersingenesis.org/countering-the-culture/creationists-honest-truthful/

12.  Caldwell, Duane “Diamonds – A Girl’s and a Creationist’s Best Friend” 11/29/2014  http://rationalfaith.com/2014/11/diamonds-a-girls-and-a-creationists-best-friend/

13.  Caldwell, Duane “Saturn’s Rings are Young!” 12/22/2015  http://thecreationclub.com/saturns-rings-are-young/

14.  Caldwell, Duane “Fallacious Evolutionary Arguments Part III: Misconstrued Evidence“,  1/27/2016  http://thecreationclub.com/fallacious-evolutionary-arguments-part-iii-misconstrued-evidence/

15.  Jonathan Sarfati, “Exploding stars point to a young universe“, CMI, accessed 7/7/2011 http://creation.com/exploding-stars-point-to-a-young-universe

16.  Caldwell, Duane, “Earth’s Magnetic Field, Testament to more than a Young Earth“, 12/8/2015
http://thecreationclub.com/earths-magnetic-field-testament-to-more-than-a-young-earth/

 

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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.
Duane Caldwell

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9 Comment

  1. One question I’d ask is “How can a Big Bang create an orderly universe if the laws of thermodynamics say otherwise?”

    • Good point. It can’t. That’s why we believe God created an orderly universe. It didn’t just “happen.”

      Duane Caldwell
  2. Some refutations of your absurd science claims:

    1.) Diamonds aren’t pure carbon. They do contain nitrogen, and you don’t use C14 dating on things from deep underground (coal, oil, etc) due to uranium/thorium in the surrounding geological material.
    2.) Not according to ‘Saturn’s Rings May be Old Timers’ Nasa’s JPL (2007)
    3.) I’m not into biology, but there is an article about Iron playing a role (And from what I remember, it’s not ‘soft’ tissue in the same manner as you think, a demineralization solution was added
    to the samples beforehand.)
    4.) 166.2+2.5, 180.0-1.7, 189.1+3.0, 279.0+1.1, and 290.1-0.8 are just five undisputed examples of these “nonexistent” remnants.
    4.) The Earths magnetic field is not decaying in a linearly fashion. When it shifts (Geomagnetic reversal) the ‘field’ has reduced strength during a reversal.. Magnetic records from the Atlantic ocean floor confirm this.

    • G.S. – you’ve missed many points.
      1. I never said diamonds are pure carbon. The point is diamonds are supposed to be millions of years old. But Carbon 14 decays to undetectable levels in 80-100,000 years. Why then are we easily detecting Carbon 14 in diamonds supposedly millions of years old? Also did you miss the point about the hardness of diamonds resisting contamination?
      2. Are we going to play my expert versus yours? I read that the Saturn’s rings “… appear to be decaying in a millennial time-frame” Which means they cannot be billions of years old. (http://creation.com/the-age-and-fate-of-saturns-rings)
      3. This article: (http://creation.com/dinosaur-soft-tissue). explains why iron could not have preserved the tissue that Dr. Schweitzer discovered in the dino bones.
      4. I didn’t say “nonexistent”. That’s your word. Do you understand proportions? The number of SNRs is inconsistent with a 13.7 billion year old universe. That doesn’t mean “nonexistent”. That means the number of SNRs given the assumed age (13.7 billion years) is incorrect – way too low. If the universe is truly 13.7 billion years old there should be proportionately more SNRs – but there aren’t. So again I ask, do you understand proportions?
      5. The magnetic field has experienced reversals (like during the flood) but the overall trend of its strength is downward. For more see here: http://creation.com/the-earths-magnetic-field-evidence-that-the-earth-is-young
      DC

      Duane Caldwell
      • 1.) You don’t use Carbon Dating on any fossil fuels or material from the ground. You’ll see bogus results. Ask any other geophysicists and they will tell you the same thing. Simply put, they used the wrong tool from the wrong job. Ask any other geophysicists and they will tell you the same thing.
        2.) I’m not much into astrophysics – but that hardly suggests the solar system is 10,000 years old.
        3.) Interesting, considering Mary, an evangelical christian, is sadden by the misuse of her work in religious circles. But in that ‘link’, there’s no sources in any peer reviewed journal for their rebuttals. Sounds like they are inventing their own science and not having it reviewed by the world’s experts.
        4.) I’m sorry, but that last link is terrible science. The earth is old, immensely old, verified by numerous methods.

        Most of of the things from your ‘sources’ are questionable origins. My sources are the peer reviewed literature, consisting of thousands of papers on geology and geophysics, published by thousands of people. Your sources are published by the same 5 or 6 people, that quote mine legitimate peer review papers and never bother to actually submit anything to the scientific community. You can probably ask why, but I already know the answer. They pretend to engage in science.

  3. G.S.
    As you keep avoiding the
    issues
    and not addressing the specific problems I reference you appear uninterested in the actual evidence, but prefer to throw out red herrings in a transparent attempt to avoid the issues. You have yet to address even the first issue. The first issue is not what technique to use; the first issue is radio-active C14 has been detected in dinosaur bones supposedly older than 65 million years. As C14 is undetectable after 100,000 why is that? Saying they used the wrong technique to date bones does not answer the question.
    It appears to me that you are in the “no evidence will convince me” camp, and so I will follow my own advice above and discontinue further comments until you address the actual issues I brought up.

    If you have peer reviewed papers out there that address these issues, why not stop hiding behind initials and point to them?

    If my claims are wrong show why they are wrong. Talk of Mary (Schweitzer I presume) being saddened is irrelevant. And an appeal to masses of
    scientists
    all using the same wrong philosophy and approaches is unpersuasive.
    When Einstein was an unknown patent clerk, all scientists who disbelieved his theory of special relativity were wrong. The fact that he was a patent clerk and not a published scientist had nothing to do with the truth of his claims.

    Duane Caldwell
  4. You don’t use C14 dating on fossils. There’s no organic material left to date, so you’re dating the contamination/bonded carbon to the minerals. It’s a pointless ‘test’ since there’s no organic material left. (Hence the word ‘fossilization’). Secondary, Radiocarbon ages of the strata where the fossils were located (Hells Creek) give an age of ~65Ma.

    I don’t have peer reviewed papers out there because they have been covered quite extensively in the past by many others, so it would be futile for me to submit any such data for review. RMD works when you use the proper tool. It has been shown to work by blind testing – Case in point: Mt Vesuvius Eruption was dated to 1925(+/- 94 years). The actual age of the flow in 1997 was 1918 years. (Dalrymple, 2000)

  5. A rather confused article. “Evolutionary arguments” make no reference whatsoever to gods, scriptures, or creationists. Evolutionary arguments consist of applying reasoning to the evidence. Having said that, here is an FAQ I created with creationists in mind, explaining one of clearest lines of evidence for evolution. I would go so far to say that it puts evolution beyond any reasonable doubt. Unreasonable doubt, no, but nobody can be expected to overcome unreasonable doubts. See http://barryhisblog.blogspot.fr/p/endogenous-retroviruses-frequently.html

    And before anyone bleats, “But dey haz funkshun!”, yes, we know. Geneticists found that out and published their results. It has no bearing on the matter.

  6. Actually, your evolutionary worldview blinders keep you from seeing some plain truths. Here are a few plain truths you’ll probably not see, but for the benefit of other readers I offer them:
    1. Evolutionists arguing the case for Evolution regularly refer to gods, scriptures and creationists. If Dawkins wasn’t referring to God and defending evolution, what was he talking about when he wrote “The God Delusion?”
    2. Your case for evolution based on retroviruses has more holes than Swiss cheese. Let me point out just a couple of problems.
    a) Viruses contain DNA. DNA contains 2 things evolution can’t produce: information, and a way to code that information. My short cut for that is “coded information.” Neither your nor any other evolutionist can explain the origin of coded information using only evolutionary processes. For more, see DNA and Windtalkers
    b) Viruses contain proteins. Evolutionary processes cannot explain the origin of proteins using simply chance and evolutionary processes. For more see: Mt. Improbable and other impossible evolutionary dreams

    In passing, I didn’t miss your not-so-veiled ad hominem attack on creationists by mocking their intelligence and ability to write with your comment ““But dey haz funkshun!” So you yourself are guilty of the type of ad hominin attacks the article references. But of course you likely won’t see that either because as Paul Simon sings “a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”

    So if you want to persist in wearing your blinders and attacking creationists, that is your prerogative, but please don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you’ve proved evolution is true. The only thing you’ve proved is that evolutionists refuse to look at and account for all the evidence.

    Duane Caldwell

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