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Feedback archiveFeedback 2001

Wrong to attack individual arguments for evolution?

8 October 2001

From A.C. of the UK, who declined permission for his full name to be used. His letter is printed first in its entirety. His letter is printed again, with point-by-point responses by Dr Jonathan Sarfati, interspersed as per normal email fashion. Ellipses (…) at the end of one of the paragraphs signal that a mid-sentence comment follows, not an omission.


I have read with interest your various arguments against established scientific theories and methods, and have the following point to make.

You always seem to take on one detail or isolated issue at a time. In this way, it is relatively easy for you to introduce some level of doubt in a scientific method.

Your dismissal of the dating methods is a prime example.

If you take one dating method on its own, it is quite easy to say it is based on assumptions. However, when you take several different dating methods and use them on one sample and find that each gives the same date, this makes their results irrefutable.

What you seem to ignore is the fact that there are many different fields of science involved in the theory of evolution. Arguing against one of these scientific fields in isolation is far easier than taking them on as a homogenous whole. For example, evolution and old Earth ‘theory’ are backed up by plate techtonics [sic], genetics, the fossil record, chemistry, physics, astronomy and pure logic/common sense. These all mesh together to form a very compelling argument.


I have read with interest your various arguments against established scientific theories and methods …

Where exactly have we argued against an established scientific theory, as opposed to refuting just-so storytelling about the past masquerading as science?

… and have the following point to make.

You always seem to take on one detail or isolated issue at a time. In this way, it is relatively easy for you to introduce some level of doubt in a scientific method.
Of course—what you really can’t stand is that we refute specific claims point-by-point, while all you can produce are vague generalities. If you want to break a chain, you don’t need to melt it whole, but merely need to break one link—a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. We have actually done much more, by breaking lots of links, including many which are claimed to be the strongest links!

Your dismissal of the dating methods is a prime example.

If you take one dating method on its own, it is quite easy to say it is based on assumptions. However, when you take several different dating methods and use them on one sample and find that each gives the same date, this makes their results irrefutable.

This is simply not so, as documented on our website under Q&A: Radiometric Dating and in the book The Mythology of Modern Dating Methods (where hundreds of papers on the subject are reviewed). One clear counter-example comes from the Crinum Mine in Queensland, Australia, where some wood was buried by a basalt lava flow, as can be seen from the charring. The wood was ‘dated’ by radiocarbon (14C) analysis at about 45,000 years old, but the basalt was ‘dated’ by the K-Ar method at 45 million years old. So these ‘dating methods’ certainly can’t both be right (of course, they could both be wrong)! This is documented in the article Radioactive ‘Dating’ in Conflict! (or see the technical paper Conflicting ‘ages’ of Tertiary basalt and contained fossilised wood).

What you seem to ignore is the fact that there are many different fields of science involved in the theory of evolution. Arguing against one of these scientific fields in isolation is far easier than taking them on as a homogenous whole.

Because of a simple arithmetical calculation: 0+0+0+0+ … =0—that is, no number of invalid arguments add up to a valid one. If you read our whole website, or the full gamut of creationist publications, you will find every component argument refuted, so your ‘homogenous whole’ still adds up to zero.

For example, evolution and old Earth ‘theory’ are backed up by plate techtonics [sic], genetics, the fossil record, chemistry, physics, astronomy and pure logic/common sense.

I have a Ph.D. in physical chemistry as well as being trained in formal logic, so please inform me how chemistry, physics and logic support your view. As for the other areas you raised, we actually cover them thoroughly as well in the Q&A pages on Astronomy and Astrophysics, Plate Tectonics, Genetics and Fossils. So please try to refute the specific points raised in the articles in these pages.

These all mesh together to form a very compelling argument.

But you have yet to demonstrate the cogency of even one of the component arguments. Bald generalisations won’t do—it’s just a lot of bluff.

(Dr) Jonathan Sarfati
Brisbane, Australia


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