Fallacies of Evolution

I was given this list of fallacies that were claimed to be used by science to defend evolution. I responded. 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.

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 listed some 20 odd pieces of evidence, none of which use evolutionary theory as a prerequisite, for common descent. Yes, anyone 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.

Homonid 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 IBIG (for example) knows 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 (cough, IBIG, cough) 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.)

IBIG refuses to even look at any link provided to him. In effect refusing to look at science.

Scientists here have reviewed science, theology, and biblical history with IBIG.

This fallacy only applies to creationism and intelligent design.

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

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~ by OgreMkV on September 21, 2010.

9 Responses to “Fallacies of Evolution”

  1. Interesting to be reminded of so many of the fallacies that pop up over and over in the Evo/Creo/ID flame wars.

    For me the article was spoilt by your repetitive (and inaccurate) claim that “This fallacy only applies to creationism and intelligent design”.

    Are you seriously claiming that nobody on the Science side of the debate has ever used a straw man caricature of a creationist? Or appealed to the authority of ‘Respected Scientists’

  2. “Am I saying that no one in science uses fallacious arguments”?

    Hmmm… There have probably been a few. But keep in mind the whole point behind science is that: YOU CAN DO THE SCIENCE YOURSELF. If you think someone is wrong, then go get their paper and repeat their experiment yourself. Write up a paper in response submit to journal. You and I can both repeat Mendel’s, Lenski’s, or anyone elses work.

    If a scientist is considered an ‘authority’ then it’s because he has spent decades working on his/her subject. However, it doesn’t automatically mean that his/her work is accepted by everyone else. It doesn’t automatically mean that anything they do or say is right. And that’s OK. It’s OK and encouraged to question authority… in science. In comparrison, I’ve had an open question to Dembski and his hangers-on for 6 years. All I’m asking is for the formula to calculate specifiec information. Him and Meyer have written about it for almost a decade and yet, there still isn’t a formula for calculating it.

    All C/ID have is false arguments. At least, in over 20 years of looking, I haven’t found anything that counts as an exeriment or even hypothesis from a C/ID proponent. Actually, I think that Behe made a statement that was testable early in his ID career… it was almost immediately shown to be incorrect.

    Let me ask you: Even if a scientist used a fallacious argument against C/ID, does that change the fact of the matter in any way? How does it help support C/ID?

    That’s the one thing that almost no one on the C/ID side understands (well, some do, but they are very careful NOT to mention is). No amount of disproof of evolution will create support for any C/ID hypothesis.

  3. Hey – don’t get me wrong, I’m a paid up, card carrying member of the ‘reality based community’.

    I was really only commenting on your rhetorical device of repeating “This fallacy only applies to….” at the end of each section.

    Re-reading your first sentence I see you’re comparing *science* with creationism/ID. I was reading in the light of the evo/athiest/creo/ID internet ‘discussions’ which brought me to your blog in the first place.

    I agree with you that properly carried out science should, and mostly does, avoid the errors you listed.

    On the internet blog wars that’s less true. The rationalist bloggers and commentators may burn fewer straw men and make fewer appeals to authotity than the religionist ones do, but they’re far from perfect. That was the thinking behind my first comment – my mistake.

  4. i think you’ve missed the whole point in your debate. As a “card carrying creationist,” I will absolutely guarantee you that no one will ever be able to “prove” creation/intelligent design. Those who claim to are disputing the very foundation of their faith; The Bible. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” “He” even went so far as to make it a requirement that all who come to Him must do so “by faith.” He is, after all, “The Invisible God!” And because “creationism” must be an initiative of faith it is not, and should not, be taught as scientific fact in schools. Contrast that with the equally “unprovable” hypothesis of natural selection; or Darwinianism; which is taught in most schools even though it absolutely cannot be proven according to the laws of scientific theory. Why, then, do we afford one “proposed hypothesis” preferrential treatment? The answer is that we lack integrity. We are determined to disprove “God” and will resort to whatever tactics necessary to do so. Why not simply acknowledge that we cannot prove where we came from scientifically and allow people to draw their own conclusions? I, for one, am confortable with it. How about you?

  5. You might like to visit here: ogremk5.wordpress.com

    And you are simply wrong. Evolution is observed on a daily basis. Evolution is falsifiable. There is sufficient evidence for what you would call macroevolution to say with confidence that it did, indeed, happen.

  6. @william hilley
    you said “the … “unprovable” hypothesis of natural selection; or Darwinianism; which is taught in most schools even though it absolutely cannot be proven according to the laws of scientific theory.”

    To echo ogremkv – “you are simply wrong”. You are also confused about the difference between Evolution, Natural Selection, and Darwinism.

    Evolution (change over time) is a fact. Species existed once that do not exist now. Species exist now that did not exist in the past. Therefore change (evolution) happens.

    Natural Selection (differential survival/reproduction rates) is a fact.
    Every day some organisms die, and other very similar organisms continue to live. That is natural selection at it’s simplest : The organisms’ environment ‘selects’ some to live and some to die. Again – this is observable and repeatable. Whether it’s antibiotics selecting bacteria, kids selecting kittens, or predators selecting prey – it happens.

    ‘Darwinism’ (aka Evolutionary Theory) – is also real. It is a field of study that attempts to uncover and understand the details of why and how Evolution, happens. Thousands of papers are published each year in the field and while no one is claiming that we understand everything about the processes involved.

  7. Kan ik gewoon gewoon zeggen wat een opluchting hulp te zoeken naar iemand die eigenlijk is zich bewust van wat theyre spreken over op het internet. Je zeker weten hoe brengen een probleem te zacht en het belangrijk te maken. Meer mensen moet leren en zien aspect facet van het verhaal. Ik geloof dat cant overwegen niet meer wijdverspreide omdat je positief hebben het geschenk.

  8. You are so full of shit…

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