Recently, my mother was having higher than expected water bills. Being a retired bookkeeper, she would notice that. After watching some YouTube videos, I was ready to help her troubleshoot the cause. My plan was to shut the valves in the water lines to all of the sinks and toilets and see if that stopped the water meter from running. Then if it did, open each valve until the meter started running again. Then I would know the problem.
But before I got over there, my mother had a city worker come over. He had my mother put some food coloring in the toilet tank. When the coloring showed up in the bowl, that indicated the toilet was the problem. My mother called me and I had her shut the valve to the water line for that toilet; which stopped the water meter.
The city worker that came out said we needed a universal toilet parts kit to stop the leak. Since he was the expert, I deferred to him and stopped at the hardware store to get one. But as I started working on the toilet, I realized that a universal toilet kit is not universal. Mom’s toilet is a Kohler toilet and while struggling to get it to fit, I accidentally broke off the flush lever.
To give me a break, my mom went to the hardware store herself and talked to their resident plumbing expert. He sold her a fill valve, a new handle, and flush lever. So I tried again including replacing the fill valve. But the new handle and flush lever would not work at all because they were made to go on the front of the tank while Mom’s had the handle on the side. It was back to the hardware store again!
After replacing the fill valve, handle and lever, the toilet was leaking really badly from the bottom of the tank. The gasket for the flush valve was loose. I probably accidentally loosened it in trying to take out the old flush valve. So we went to a plumbing store and got an entirely new flush valve, which finally worked.
Looking back on it, I made my job a lot harder by just accepting the advice of the experts and not thinking about the situation myself before I got started.
- The universal toilet kit was not universal.
- We needed Kohler parts.
- And even when my mother got the correct fill valve from the plumbing expert, we still got the wrong handle and lever.
- At least the store was very good to take everything back!
But I wonder if any of this was necessary. I think the problem may have been as simple as the chain from the lever to the flush valve having tension on it, causing the flush valve to not completely close. But I did not even think to check for tension on the chain because I just went with what the experts said that I needed to do. So I may have easily missed the simple solution.
The city worker is to be thanked. He made an extra effort to come over to my mother’s house and troubleshoot the problem. And he had the best of intentions with his advice. It was my fault for not checking things out myself. I did not have an open mind because of what I had been told by someone who knew more than me.
One of the logical fallacies frequently used by Darwinists is the “appeal to authority argument.”1 This came up in a discussion on Darwinism with some family members when I first started getting into biblical creation. Now I wish I could have that discussion all over again because I would handle it much differently.
No sooner did the discussion start than I was asked, “Are you a scientist?” This is the appeal to the authority argument: since I was not a scientist, I should just accept what the scientists say.
And I was told that “99.99 percent of scientists believe in evolution” —meaning Darwinian evolution. I am pretty sure that person was committing another logical fallacy—“arbitrary statements,” or making something up “out of whole cloth.”2
Scientists are human beings, with presuppositions and agendas, just like everyone else
Before we got married, her doctor kept saying that my wife had “typical migraines.” He would hold her hand and give her something to make her feel better. Shortly after getting married, I took my wife to see another family doctor here in San Antonio. He did blood work—imagine that! It turned out my wife had end stage renal disease (total kidney failure). A normal creatinine level (measure of kidney function) is between .5 and 1.5 – the lower the better. My wife’s was over 19! She should have been in a coma.
How could the first doctor, a medically trained scientist, have missed it? It was because he thought he had the answer and he was not open to any other possibilities. I am not a medical doctor, but I knew something was really wrong, took my wife to a different doctor and got the right answer.
So do not succumb to the appeal to authority argument.
Understand and investigate. As we have already seen, a similar argument is the “appeal to majority.”1 Even if my family member was correct that “99.99 percent of scientists believe in evolution,” that does not make it right. Scientists are human beings and have paradigms.
I agree that Darwinian evolution is the current scientific consensus. But so was spontaneous generation.3 And Darwinian evolutionary thinking is self-perpetuating. It is taught because it is the scientific consensus. But it is the scientific consensus because it is taught. And what is really being pushed on our children—as fact, without question—is that they are just animals engaged in a battle of survival; and the only purpose to life is to pass on our genes to future generations.4 Contrast that to the message that the Bible. I found this when I was in my forties and it looked as if I might not have children:
“Don’t let foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord say, ‘The Lord will never let me be part of his people.’ And don’t let the eunuchs say, ‘I’m a dried-up tree with no children and no future.’ For this is what the Lord says: I will bless those eunuchs who keep my Sabbath days holy and who choose to do what pleases me and commit their lives to me. I will give them—within the walls of my house — a memorial and a name far greater than sons and daughters could give. For the name I give them is an everlasting one. It will never disappear!” Isaiah 56: 3-6 NLT
- https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/make+up+out+of+whole+cloth – The family member was not citing any studies or polls. He was just making up a number to make a point.