(I apologize for the title of this post, but I couldn’t help myself. I’ll go and hand in my English license immediately…)
Yesterday I had a bit of a run-in with one Sirius Knotts, Creationist extraordinaire. Knotts is a classic example of a (presumably) intelligent person who’s become so addled by religion that he’s become a Creationist living inside a three-foot mental box. (This would exlain why linking to informative websites is taboo on his blog, whose comment section is a comedy goldmine.)
Knotts posed three questions to me, all of such magnitude and insight and that my worldview was shaken to its very core. Here they are, along with my modest replies:
1. darwinism is not science. It’s dogma. I certainly expect you to dogmatically defend it. Funny thing though, despite Dobzhansky’s “reluctant” equivocation of macro- and microevolution, the macro “molecules to man” sort of evo has never, ever been observed. It’s all been inferrred from micro-evo. Cuz ya gotta have faith, a-faith, a-faith!
Okay, so I was lying about the magnitude thing; this one sits pretty low on the Creationist Richter Scale. We’ve got the macroevolution fallacy, for a start. (Of course evolution has never been observed on the ‘molecules to man’ scale; I have to wonder why anybody would think this is a shocking revelation.)
Ah, our old friend the Quote Mine also shows up. A note to Creationists: don’t try to quote Dobzhansky. It always turns out badly for you, if only because he wrote a fairly famous essay entitled Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution. Dobzhansky described himself as ‘both a creationist and an evolutionist’ because, while he absolutely accepted that evolution occurred and that it occurred over the course of billions of years, he believed that God was ultimately the one who controlled it. He has also stated that Knott’s form of Creationism leads to blasphemy, because ‘the Creator is accused of systematic deceitfulness’.
I’m not sure what ‘quote’ Knotts is working off here, but given that Dobzhansky more or less kick-started the modern synthesis, I doubt he had too much of a problem with the micro/macroevolution side of things.
2. A lot of Darbot websites and textbooks contain misinformation. Eugenie Scott makes a career out of convincing folks through such misinformation! But no one’s bothering to correct it. Why?
Knotts’ deep hatred of links makes it a bit difficult to reply to this, since I have no idea what exactly he’s talking about. I’d never done much reading into Eugenie Scott before, but a quick Google search informed me that she once made false claims about a Creationist, only apologizing after she was called out on it. Shame on her, but that doesn’t really equate to a ‘career’ of convincing people through misinformation. Some more specifics on this one would be nice.
Of course, it is inevitable that some ‘Darbot’ (cute) websites and textbooks will contain misinformation, in some cases intentional. There are unscrupulous people on both sides of the fence. Given that Knotts frequently lists the peppered moth cliche as evidence of ‘evolutionist’ deceit, though, I’ll go out on a limb and say that this isn’t going to amount to much.
(The entire text of Dobzhansky’s excellent essay can be found here.)
3. Science is not determined by majority opinion, credentialism or court decisions. Saying that Creationism is in decline is wishful thinking OR YOU WOULDN’T HAVE TO BLOODY DEFEND IT ALL THE TIME.
Wow, fallacy central! And bad grammar, too.
It is of course correct that science is not determined by opinion or court decision, but Creationists are the ones who act like it is, or else they wouldn’t be so eager to get their untested psuedo-hypothesis taught in science classrooms before convincing the scientific community of its veracity. Creationism in all its forms, and particularly the AiG-produced nonsense that people like Knotts live on, runs counter to the scientific process. Every time a Creationist tells you that the theory of evolution is dogma or religion, they are attempting to drag it down to the murky depths of their own ignorance.
My point in this post was not that Creationism was in decline, but that it has already had a major ‘victory’ before receeding again, all without altering its status in the scientific community at large. Its success and failure is completely divorced from the world of science, and that tells you everything you need to know about it.