A change in tactics
As empiricism fails them, notable evolutionists are retreating into arguments from analogy
Published: 18 August 2009(GMT+10)
For years, many evolutionists have been making statements similar to this:
Actually, there is superabundant evidence for animals evolving under our eyes: British moths becoming darker since the Industrial Revolution (industrial melanization), insects evolving DDT resistance since World War II, malaria parasites evolving chloroquine resistance in the last two decades, and new strains of flu virus evolving every few years to infect us.1
However, years of withering fire from creationists and ID proponents seems to have caused some of evolution’s foremost promoters to change tactics. We hear less about the “mound of empirical evidence supporting evolution”, with many evolutionists taking cover behind “arguments from analogy”, or “inference”.
Is evolution “obvious”?
Fanatical atheist Richard Dawkins stated:
“Nobody has actually seen evolution take place over a long period but they have seen the after effects, and the after effects are massively supported. It is like a case in a court of law where nobody can actually stand up and say I saw the murder happen and yet you have got millions and millions of pieces of evidence which no reasonable person can possibly dispute.”2 (Emphasis mine)
This is pretty earth-shaking stuff for the average evolutionist who thinks they are on solid intellectual ground.
For the world’s leading “evolutionary evangelist”, this is actually a stunning statement. If no one has seen evolution happening, that means it’s not in the realm of empirical science as such. The evidence he refers to is circumstantial, which means that we’re talking historical science, with the possibility of alternative explanations. Evolution becomes a hypothesis at best. This is pretty earth-shaking stuff for the average evolutionist who thinks they are on solid intellectual ground.
A Dawkins supporter commented on RichardDawkins.net that Dawkins should have added that “many people have seen evolution over a short period, resulting in varieties or similar species, and no-one has found any barrier preventing such changes from accumulating to form greater differences.” 3
See how the “student” still believes “evolution has been observed” while the “expert” admits it hasn’t? But the commonly cited proofs of observed evolution such as the peppered moth,4 insects evolving DDT resistance,5 bacteria evolving6 etc do not demonstrate goo to you evolution,7 as Dawkins admitted before when despite a rash of books raving about Darwinism, he stated: “Evolution has been observed. It’s just that it hasn’t been observed while it’s happening.”8
Above the law?
However, let’s be fair. Creationists have been arguing from analogy for years, so let’s give Dawkins the benefit of the doubt and go through his analogy of a court case to see if it holds up.
In a court of law there is usually a judge (to keep things fair), an unbiased jury (to weigh the evidence) and two sides (the prosecution and the defence) arguing from the same body of evidence, trying to prove their case.
But what kind of court system would you call it if only one side got to present their case? It would be a farce, of course, a travesty of justice. Now ask; “How many ways is the topic of origins explained in most public schools in the western world?” One way! Dawkins claims that when the evidence is analyzed, the case for evolution is so strong that no reasonable person could dispute it. However, is it any wonder that many people believe in evolution when they have only ever been indoctrinated from a materialistic viewpoint?9
Far from the evidence speaking for itself, evolution must be forced upon people10 by exclusion of alternatives for it to be so “obvious”. If a two-model approach were used in our education systems evolution would be crushed relatively quickly by the overwhelming evidence of design in the universe. Even staunch atheists have abandoned the materialistic worldview11 when exposed to alternative interpretations of the evidence.
From empiricism to analogy
Another example of similar back-pedalling was the 2008 talk by Eugenie Scott (director of the evolution-promoting National Center for Science Education),12 at Miami University (September 10, 2008). In it she chided creationists for 1) preferring direct observation to inferential explanation and 2) insisting evolutionists should provide observable evidence for their belief.
So instead of providing evidence of evolution being observed to happen (there is none) she attempted to make the point that scientists can figure out what happened in the past based on observations in the present.
She used the trivial example of cow dung on a road painted over with a highway stripe to how we can logically infer from the evidence conclusions about events never seen; obviously, a cow had defecated on a road and the highway crew then painted the stripe over it.
This is indeed obvious, because it is based on what we do know, not what we don’t. Many people have 1) Seen cows “doing their thing”, 2) Seen painted highway stripes, 3) Seen what happens when paint is applied over a piece of tape left on their wall for example.
Creationists have been citing this type of inference/analogy for years. For example, when you see something that has design features (a motor,13 a robot14 etc.) you can assume there was a designer.15 And our universal experience has been that whenever we see information16 in the form of a code or language it originated in an intelligent mind. So when we see the same types of things in nature (like the ATP Synthase motor, Kinesin and DNA) it is scientifically valid to come to the same conclusions.
When we see originally organic material like fossilized trees standing upright17 through several meters of sedimentary rock layers we can assume the layers were laid down fairly quickly (before the tree rotted away). When we see unfossilized animal tissue18 (containing amino acid sequences)19 within fossils of dinosaur bones, we can assume those fossils to have been formed fairly recently (thousands of years ago, not millions) because of the chemical decomposition rates involved.
All of the logical conclusions based on the above analogies and inferences prove devastating to evolutionary presuppositions. They are direct evidence of an intelligent designer behind the design we see, and against the idea of “millions of years” required for evolution to work. So, for evolutionists to seek cover by retreating into arguments from analogy will prove suicidal for them eventually, as only the most diehard materialists will be willing to abandon their brains and deny such arguments.
The evolutionary strongholds are buckling! Now is the time to press the attack and put the materialists on the defensive for a change. Get the information available from ministries like CMI and distribute it to the people in your community. Let’s turn the tide against atheism and point people to Christ!
- Diamond, J., Who Are the Jews, Natural History 102:11, November 1993. p. 19. Return to text.
- The Genius of Charles Darwin, Series 1, (UK) Channel 4 TV: Sat 11 Oct 2008. Return to text.
- richarddawkins.net/articleComments,2925,On-TV-The-Genius-of-Charles-Darwin-Presented-by-Richard-Dawkins,Richard-Dawkins-Channel-4,page3, 147. Comment #224685 by dave’s on August 5, 2008 at 11:30 am. Return to text.
- The Moth Files. Return to text.
- How do animals become resistant to poisons?. Return to text.
- Bacteria ‘evolving in the lab’?. Return to text.
- The evolution train’s a-comin’. Return to text.
- December 2004 Interview Bill Moyers “Now” Transcript at: pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript349_full.html#dawkins. Return to text.
- The “Indoctrinator”. Return to text.
- Evolutionist: it’s OK to deceive students to believe evolution. Return to text.
- Atheism in decline. Return to text.
- “Science and Religion as Ways of Knowing” www.miami.muohio.edu/news/article/view/5824.html. Return to text.
- Design in living organisms (motors: ATP synthase). Return to text.
- Fantastic voyage. Return to text.
- By Design: Evidence for nature’s Intelligent Designer—the God of the Bible. Creation Book Publishers, 2008. Return to text.
- Information, science and biology. Return to text.
- Polystrate fossils: evidence for a young earth. Return to text.
- Still soft and stretchy. Return to text.
- “From a paleo standpoint, sequence data really is the nail in the coffin that confirms the preservation of these tissues” Dr. Mary Schweitzer: Peake, T. Small, big Impression. North Carolina State University online feature, 24 July 2007. Return to text.