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A Guide to How to Not Talk About Evolution

Students having a conversation: Photo 94424708 © Iakov Filimonov - Dreamstime.com

[Originally published as How not to Talk About Evolution]

Since the Smithsonian published an article in 2018¹ telling people how to attempt to brainwash their evangelical friends and neighbors into believing in evolution, we figured we could educate atheists on how not to talk about evolution. After all, as the saying goes, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander right?

So here is how not to talk about evolution, courtesy of the Smithsonian.

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The primary thing not to do when talking about evolution is exactly what the Smithsonian does in the article:

Equivocate

This is literally the most common way evolutionists talk about evolution and it is one the Smithsonian embraces.  They quote a professor at Mormon university Brigham Young who says about her students,

If they don’t accept it as being real, then they’re not willing to make important decisions based on evolution—like whether or not to vaccinate their child or give them antibiotics.

Notice what this professor has done. She is claiming that vaccines and antibiotics are based on evolutionary advances. This is pure equivocation.

The first vaccine was invented by Louis Pasteur, a creationist, and the man who disproved the long-held spontaneous generation myth that evolutionists still hold to today. Whatever your opinions on vaccines today, claiming they have anything to do with evolution is specious.

The antibiotic reference is slightly more understandable in the evolutionary paradigm as they use antibiotic-resistant bacteria as evidence all the time.

This is where equivocation comes in. There are two definitions of evolution being used here.

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  • One is simply any changes within a population over time. No one disputes this, it happens.
  • The other is the goo to you by way of the zoo evolution which is what most people think of when they hear the word.

By not defining her terms, this researcher is deliberately making people think goo-to-you happens by using an illustration of change over time. The antibiotic-resistant microbes in question remain the same species of microbe, so nothing new has developed. Further, in a normal population, where no antibiotic is present, the bacteria resistant to antibiotics are much less healthy, as their resistance is a result of a broken part of their cell.

Not what evolution needs to move forward.

The Smithsonian article also promotes the partnership between heretical theistic evolutionary group Biologos and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a purely secular science pressure group. They commend BioLogos for advancing evolution among evangelicals. What they don’t mention is the standard BioLogos operating tactics.

Look Down on Your Opponents

Anyone who has been around the origins debate for any length of time knows that theistic evolutionists and secular evolutionists operate out of the same playbook. They assume their opponents are liars, then accuse them of such because they disagree with the consensus. They do this without ever bothering to read creationist literature to understand where creationists are coming from. Worse, they do so in a massaged, academic tone which makes people think they are being charitable when in fact they are dripping venom.

The Smithsonian article then goes on to recommend a conversational approach. Rather than blasting people with facts, ask questions to get a conversation started. This may be the only decent thing in the Smithsonian article. However, for a conversation to happen, you have to be willing to give, as well as take.

In other words, those proselytizing the evolutionary dogma would need to be willing to actually listen to creationist arguments. Since they assume all creationists are ignorant, liars, or both, this will almost never happen. This means that, when they attempt conversation, it will turn out the same way their current preaching does: angry words and accusations of dishonesty, if not outright blasphemy and profanities.

Unfortunately, the problem with the origins discourse is often not that people are unwilling to listen. To be sure, there are creationists who mock evolutionists to their faces or are dishonest. However, in most cases, because of their faith, creationists tend to hold themselves and each other to a higher standard.  Evolutionists tend to attempt to beat down their opponents with logical fallacies, personal attacks, and dishonest statements.

Until evolutionists are actually willing to assume that the people they are talking to are not liars and might actually have something intelligent to say, the origins discourse will not change, no matter what the Smithsonian says.

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Footnote:

  1. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/how-to-talk-evangelicals-evolution-180968839/

Written by Emory Moynagh

I graduated from Pensacola Christian College with a B.S. in Biology, then worked as a high school science teacher for two years before transitioning into a quality assurance role. I now do science and apologetics research. My personal interests in apologetics stem back to high school when I was introduced to the teachings of Ken Ham, ICR, CMI and others. This created a passion in me for Creation Science, the Bible, and all things science related. You can find my friends and me at In His Image.blog

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Comments

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  1. Good article.
    On line, when I get attacked by a True Beleiver in Evolutionism (TBE) I ask them to post their VERY BEST proof of evolution. From there, it is easy for an amateur to expose that they have no real scientific proof.

  2. One thing the “from the goo to you by way of the zoo” Evolutionist never deals with is where did man’s SOUL come from? EVERYBODY KNOWS we have one because our souls are what contain our self-consciousness (awareness of our own existence)….mentality (ability to think, reason, take in and assimilate data, remember, look up and down and all around, look at the human body and see God’s other marvelous creation for ourselves as well as KNOW that no mere human was capable of such accomplishments, nor was it as a result of accidental evolution, etc.)… free volition (ability to make our own decisions and choices)…emotions, sometimes called ‘feelings’ (NO ability to THINK and REASON whatsoever….only to respond or react to whatever we do think, right or wrong)…a conscience (born with basically an empty one that perhaps has a ‘sense’ that rights and wrongs exist but has to be taught what’s actually right or good and what’s wrong, sinful and evil) THINK children and why is it that little ones are forever one way or another being told, NO….NO….NO…don’t do that……you’ll hurt yourself or someone else,…don’t stick your finger in the electric plug…sphagetti doesn’t belong on your head,…don’t jerk the toy out of your sibling’s hand and start a war…stop pulling the puppy’s tail and for crying out loud, why did you put the cat in the microwave and zap him (which I understand has happened 🙂 etc. ! WHY do they do such things? Because at young ages, they don’t know right from wrong.

    We have no control over exactly when our SOULS depart our bodies in physical DEATH, but when it does the body ceases to function on it’s own, even though the brain is still intact. The body is made up of physical material matter but the SOUL is non-material…so we can see the brain but we can’t see the soul. Autopsies are done on the dead and they don’t care…they don’t feel a thing or have any idea what’s going on because the soul is no longer in that body and we KNOW this also. I don’t need to go into the gory details of an autopsy but only a psycho would begin an autopsy on someone they believed to be a living person. So, next time an evolutionist wants to have a conversation with one of us ‘believers’ , you might try asking them WHO they think breathes our souls…the breath of life that animates our bodies and gives us human life… into our bodies and WHO withdraws our last breath from our bodies? NOT US and it didn’t get there by osmosis. It’s either there or it isn’t. …so there must be someone in existence that ‘s aware of His own existence and has a LOT more intelligence and power than any human I’ve ever known or heard of 🙂 Just a thought.

    • Along those lines, chapter 10 of Lee Strobel’s “Case for a Creator” is excellent. The chapter is titled The Evidence of Consciousness: The enigma from the mind. How did consciousness evolve? How could that lay latent in the cells? Excellent chapter and excellent book too. William

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