Carl Sagan was the unofficial voice for naturalistic atheism for many years until his death in 1997. In one of his last books, The Demon-Haunted World, Sagan lamented that in spite of monumental public education efforts to teach that random chance processes had produced all life, only 9% of American citizens accepted this as true. Sagan’s solution was for people to learn critical thinking skills. However, Dr. Sagan never applied these same critical thinking skills to his own unshakable belief in naturalistic evolution. Professor Phillip Johnson does an excellent job of doing just that in his book, Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds. Here is a summary of some classic distortion techniques used all too often to defend evolutionism.
BLIND APPEAL TO AUTHORITY
This is often the first resort used to discredit those who do not cower to the majority opinion. Yet every major breakthrough in science has happened because some researcher looked outside of the prevailing opinion. An authority stating that something is true does not make it true. When searching for the truth, rely on the quality and quantity of evidence rather than empty claims. In science, experimental evidence must reign supreme – not opinions or appeals to authority.
SELECTIVE USE OF EVIDENCE
Evidence can be found to support any point of view – no matter how absurd. Truth is usually found by examining what most of the evidence supports. For example, lots of animals have similar appearances and features. Is it any surprise that some fossils can be found which combine features intermediate between features of two different animals? Just because a bicycle and motorcycle both have two wheels does not mean random changes in a bike can turn it into a motorcycle. What does the bulk of the fossil evidence reveal? An honest viewing of the fossil record reveals distinctly different types of animals without intermediate transitions.
AD HOMINEM ARGUMENTS
Ad hominem is Latin for “to the man”. Those who publicly defend the scientific evidence for creation are often greeted with personal insults and attacks which have nothing to do with the evidence. The weaker the evidence for evolution, the more vehement the attacks often become. The essence of the attacks are, “Creationists believe in God. Therefore they are biased and anything they say on the subject of origins cannot be trusted.” Everyone is biased. Evolutionists whose jobs and funding depend upon agreement with naturalistic interpretations are also highly biased. It is the quality and testability of the scientific evidence which must determine a theory’s validity.
Learn to distinguish between interpretations and facts. Carl Sagan stated, “The Cosmos is all there is, or ever was, or ever will be.” This is opinion… not science. How could statements such as this ever be tested? On the other hand, creationists make the following type of claims:
• There has been a worldwide flood in the past.
• Random information can not produce ordered complexity by natural processes.
• One type of life is not observed to change into a distinctly different type.
• Mutations destroy rather than create useful functioning features.
These statements are scientifically testable and there is enormous evidence to support each.
STRAW MAN ARGUMENT
A straw man argument is when a position is distorted and the distortion is then attacked. This is repeatedly done by evolutionists. The creation/evolution debate is about determining the truth of the past. Yet evolutionists constantly set up a straw man attack by trying to make this an issue of religion vs. science.
BEGGING THE QUESTION
Begging the question is asking a question to which you have already assumed an answer. Evolutionists start with the assumption that creation is a myth, there has never been a worldwide flood, and all animal life has evolved from a common source. By defining science to exclude supernatural intervention by God, evolutionists have begged the question by eliminating one possibility before starting the debate. No search for the truth or honest debate is possible.
Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds by Phillip Johnson is an excellent book which should be read by every high school and college student who hopes to resist the pressure to conform to the fuzzy reasoning and faulty logic which surrounds evolution.