Fallacies of Evolution

I was given this list of fallacies that were claimed to be used by science to defend evolution. I respond with a comparison between these claims and the reality of the situation. All of the quote boxes are the original comments and ‘fallacies’.

Hasty Generalization basing a general statement on too small a sample; building general rules from accidental or exceptional situations. (Microevolution is evidence of macroevolution; origin of life experiments in the laboratory can be extrapolated to the actual evolution of life in the primitive oceans, alleged transitionary forms [Archaeopteryx, Semouria, etc.] prove evolution.)

There is only one book that supports creationist suppositions of the global flood and the 6 day creation.  There are three or four books that support intelligent design and they have all been refuted multiple times.

Since science produces about 15,000 peer-reviewed papers per year over the last 40 years are so (and, in fact) produced hundreds if not thousands of papers per year for the preceding 120 years, this fallacy only applies to creationism and intelligent design.

Begging the Question (petitio principii) reasoning in a circle, using your conclusion as a premise, assuming the very thing to be proved as proof of itself. (Natural selection; paleoanthropology; geologic record.)

God created the universe, therefore god created the animals. Got it, thanks.

In fact, science does not use evolution to support evolution. I have listed (elsewhere) some 20 odd pieces of evidence, none of which use evolutionary theory as a prerequisite, for common descent. Yes, any one piece in isolation, isn’t enough, but all of them together paint a pretty good picture.

This fallacy only applies to creationism and intelligent design.

Misuse of Authority attempting to prove a conclusion by appealing to a real or alleged authority in such a way that the conclusion does not necessarily follow. (All competent scientists declare evolution is a fact!)

God.

In science, all work is subject to revision, double-checking and critique. Work in ID and creationism is not. For example, Mendel didn’t know about codominance. Doesn’t mean that Mendelian genetics is wrong. It also doesn’t mean that we couldn’t change Mendelian genetics to encompass new information.

This fallacy only applies to creationism and intelligent design.

Misuse of Analogy trying to prove something by improper use of a parallel case. (Hominid fossils prove evolution.)

Intelligent design supposes a designer because things ‘look’ designed. The attempt to use anthropology, where we can identify the designers, is misuse of analogy.

Hominid fossils do prove that evolution has occurred. It can easily be shown that certain changes to brain volume and various structures (hips, knees, jaw, etc) can be shown to change over time… therefore evolution.

This fallacy only applies to creationism and intelligent design.

Chronological Snobbery (argumentum ad futuris) attempting to refute an idea merely by dating it, usually dating it very old. (Creationism was refuted long ago.)

Creationists always attack Darwin (150 years ago) when the modern evolutionary theory is much more advanced that Darwin could have possibly imagined.

Science ignores ‘hypotheses’ that have no testable properties, no falsifiable statements, and no way of measuring or determining differences between competing theories. Also, creationism has NOT changed, since Paley. Even Behe and Meyer’s argument boils down to ‘I don’t know how it happened, therefore God’.

This fallacy only applies to creationism and intelligent design.

Argument to Future trying to prove something by appealing to evidence that might be turned up in the (unknown) future. (As science progresses, proof of evolution will eventually be forthcoming.)

Creationism and ID always look to the future when such and such will be proven and Darwin will fall. The 5 year wedge strategy, Nelson’s book ‘in a few years’ almost a decade ago.

Science is perfectly happy with the volume of information currently at hand. That does not mean that science does not continue to experiment and work towards more information. Indeed, part of the point of science is its predictive power. That must be considered a future experiment. Einstein’s work couldn’t have been tested until many years after it was shown mathematically.

This fallacy only applies to creationism and intelligent design.

Poisoning the Wells attempting to refute an argument by discrediting in advance the source of the evidence for the argument. (Creationists are “know-nothings” opposed to modern science; they get their arguments mostly from the book of Genesis.)

Creationists and ID proponentists, do not publish their hypothesis and experiments in peer-reviewed journals for critique. Their books have been found to ignore relevant information in order to present information with a certain bias. It has been shown that most creationists know very little about science.

Science does ignore people who have continually shown that they do not have the requisite knowledge to play in the big leagues. However, the creationist argument is NOT discredited because the proponents don’t know science. There are thousands of reasons that creationism is discredited.

Appeal to Force (argumentum ad baculum) substituting force or the threat of force for reason and evidence. (Evolutionists’ intimidation of creationist students and professors.)

Galileo and the church. Director of Education (Collins was it?) in Texas lost her job because she forwarded an e-mail about evolution.

There has never been a verifiable instance of anyone losing a job because they were a creationist. Notably, in a few cases someone has lost a job because they were harassing coworkers. If students do not learn the material being presented, then right or wrong, they fail.

This fallacy only applies to creationism and intelligent design.

Appeal to the People (argumentum ad populum) trying to establish a position by appealing to popular sentiments instead of relevant evidence. (Everybody believes in evolution, therefore it must be true.)

Creationism constantly quotes statistical studies that show belief in evolution is low.

Science has never made this argument. However, it does poll the people who actually know about a subject (the Steve project) in an effort to show creationism how silly they are.

This fallacy only applies to creationism and intelligent design.

The Fallacy of Extension attacking an exaggerated or caricatured version of your opponent’s position, i.e., to attack a “straw man.” (Creationism is only the religious doctrine of a small but vocal minority.)

Creationism and ID have created their own caricature of evolution then attacked it without mercy. For example, no scientist expects fossils to provide a continuous record of every organism from 4.5 billion years ago to present, yet that’s what some creationists want provided to them.

Scientists, who study this, know exactly what creationism is and have shown it as such in courts of law.

This fallacy only applies to creationism and intelligent design.

Contrary to Fact arguing from “what might have been,” from a past hypothetical condition. (The fossil record.)

Creationists ‘create’ arguments about how certain ‘facts’ of the bible occurred. For example, the confusion about when humans were created, where the water came from in the flood, the parting of the red sea… etc.

Scientists use known examples of modern phenomenon to show that certain things COULD have occurred in the past. There is no claim that this is HOW it DID occur, only that it is possible to have occurred.

This fallacy only applies to creationism and intelligent design.

The Ultimate Fallacy: Pigheadedness refusing to accept a proposition even when it has been established by adequate evidence. (That evolution is false is established by the law of biogenesis, probability considerations, thermodynamics, etc.)

Creationists often refuse to even look at any link provided to him. In effect refusing to look at science.

Scientists tend to be very knowledgeable about both their own subject and many others.  One interesting report came out recently that shows atheists have more knowledge about religion, than any single religious group.  I don’t claim that scientists are smarter are better than anyone else.  I do claim that, on average, they know a lot more than creationists.

This fallacy only applies to creationism and intelligent design.

As you can see… creationism uses the fallacies, but science doesn’t.

This entry was posted in Creationism / ID, Culture, Education, Evolution, evolution, Religion, Science, Skepticism, Society and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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