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What do you do when talking to creationists?

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What do you do when talking to creationists?

Postby Dubnium105 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:08 pm

Hey all,

I am currently a senior in a Christian high school in the States in which most of the students (and some of the teachers and curricula) is pro-creationism. I only recently came to the conclusion that evolution made sense and I'm trying to convince other people I know to at least think critically about it. I've had a couple of constructive discussions on the topic with two of my teachers, and although I didn't convince either of them, I felt I had a decent amount of knowledge to discuss with. However, I'm still in the process of teaching myself (since I've never been taught evolution in school), so there are a lot of things for me to familiarize myself with and understand more fully.

I usually look to show how it is illogical to think (in today's day with our modern science) that the book of Genesis could possibly be literal, then bring to the point that the Bible has been used to defend totally incorrect science before, and then bring them to the fact that there are Christians who accept evolution, and then discuss the evidence for evolution/flaws in creationist/ID "theories."

I'm mainly looking for tips others have for discussing evolution with people who have varying amounts of creationist "arguments" and science knowledge in general.

In particular I'd appreciate help arguing against the following two points:
1. Irreducible complexity disproves evolution.

I generally try to refute this by bringing up the most common "example" of irreducible complexity, the bacterial flagellum, and then telling the person that if you remove many of the parts from a flagellum, you have a structure quite similar to the toxin injector used in bubonic plague bacteria (Type III Secretion System). Another thing I use is the idea based on the mousetrap argument- that a mousetrap without some parts can be used to shoot spitballs, clip a tie, make a clipboard, etc… but I can always use more to argue against this, so what do you use to argue against irreducible complexity?

2. Scientists don't have evidence for macroevolution, only microevolution.

I usually point to webpages of transitional fossils such (I like the fish-tetrapod transitions a good deal), and I also have a TalkOrigins claim file I like to reference for this one. Any specific, well-documented favorite cases of macroevolution in the fossil record or other sources would be appreciated- what transitional fossils and examples do you like to use?

*I am a Christian, so I'm not arguing for the nonexistence of God (not something evolution really proves anyway), just arguing against the literal interpretation of Genesis. If you believe in God and accept evolution I'd love to hear why too, I like to hear people's beliefs and views and why they hold them…

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to thoughtfully contribute, I really appreciate it.
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Postby FriarBroccoli » Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:40 am

Dubnium105 wrote:I am currently a senior in a Christian high school in the States in which most of the students (and some of the teachers and curricula) is pro-creationism.


Any risk of being expelled if you push too hard? Just asking - think before you jump.

I usually look to show how it is illogical to think (in today's day with our modern science) that the book of Genesis could possibly be literal,


Have you noticed:
Gen 1:20 And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures ...
Gen 1:24 And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures ...
That "Let" looks like God let it happen (by evolution?).

then bring to the point that the Bible has been used to defend totally incorrect science before,


OK so you already know that scripture clearly says the earth is fixed AND that the sun goes round the earth.
Ecclesiastes 1:5 - The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.

I assume you also know that distant starlight is the best way of dealing with Young Earth (YEC) arguments?

In particular I'd appreciate help arguing against the following two points: 1. Irreducible complexity disproves evolution.


If IC disproves evolution then why does IC's best known proponent (Michael J. Behe) accept common descent? I assume he also accepts Natural Selection (not sure) but denies "random" mutations.
References:
http://ncse.com/rncse/27/1-2/review-edge-evolution
http://books.google.ca/books?id=HGuwiG7 ... &q&f=false

You also need to learn about the Nested Hierarchy model of groups within groups - so bats are in mammals and have all the mammalian characteristics (no DNA in red blood cells, in/out lungs, hair, live birth, etc). Although there are many species of bat not one has a bird characteristic (feathers, bill, eggs etc). How does creationism explain this? Descent from a common ancestor is a natural explanation. What is the creationist explanation for such natural groups?


I generally try to refute this by bringing up the most common "example" of irreducible complexity, the bacterial flagellum, and then telling the person that if you remove many of the parts from a flagellum, you have a structure quite similar to the toxin injector used in bubonic plague bacteria (Type III Secretion System). Another thing I use is the idea based on the mousetrap argument- that a mousetrap without some parts can be used to shoot spitballs, clip a tie, make a clipboard, etc. but I can always use more to argue against this, so what do you use to argue against irreducible complexity?


I personally think IC is nonsense and that there are no IC characteristics, but when talking with Christians I don't try to refute it. Rather you can suggest that the development of many characteristics are clearly not IC like say the path from fins to wings:
fins -> legs -> arms -> wings
with lots of little steps in between. In cases where a step is too difficult maybe God steps in?


2. Scientists don't have evidence for macroevolution, only microevolution.


Scientists have all the evidence that is possible for them to have. What additional evidence could they obtain that is possible?

I usually point to webpages of transitional fossils such (I like the fish-tetrapod transitions a good deal), and I also have a TalkOrigins claim file I like to reference for this one. Any specific, well-documented favorite cases of macroevolution in the fossil record or other sources would be appreciated- what transitional fossils and examples do you like to use?


Two points:
(1) There are some clean examples of fossil groups that should (in the YEC model) be found together - like trilobites and crabs or large mammals and dinosaurs. Why are large concentrations of mixed species mammalian bones often found together, but never mixed with dinosaur bones? The flood model should have produced lots of such mixtures.

(2) Argument form is also important. Excluding a literal *interpretation* of scripture and explanations that are accounted for at least as well by evolution/plate tectonics there are no positive arguments for a young earth, or instant creation. All the arguments suggest problems with evolution and then posit biblical creation as the only alternative.

Knowing this when someone argues that Archaeopteryx, Australopithecus afarensis, or Tiktaalik is not a transitional, you must ask what that fossil *is*. Creationism has no model to explain many well known elements of the fossil record. Even if you concede that the dating could be wrong creationists need to be able to say what the various hominin fossil *are*.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hu ... on_fossils
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Re: What do you do when talking to creationists?

Postby editorb » Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:33 pm

Don't use a dogmatic approach. Thus, some fossilized questions for a transitional debate, for instance: is there evolution if there is no time? How will evolutionary biology meet new physical paradigms about time, space and so on? Will new conceptual changes deny evolution? Or on the contrary, will it become a more extraordinary process, full of astonishing implications? If so, will past human beings and the rest of living beings become different as science progresses? After all, is life something fix-finite-defined? That is, can one understand it by means of using a fleshy brain and its limited words? Does the whole of life fit into a bone box? Indeed, will science add indefinitely without understanding completely? Anyway, is it possible to understand something completely? Along these lines, there is a different book, a preview in http://goo.gl/rfVqw6 Just another suggestion in order to freethink for a while
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Postby Dubnium105 » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:42 pm

Thanks for the replies. They certainly have given me some good pointers for my future discussions with creationists.

Any further input is welcomed, I appreciate the time people have contributed in helping me out so far.
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Postby animartco » Wed Feb 05, 2014 7:40 pm

What is irreducible complexity? If it is another term for biodiversity there is certainly nothing irreducible about it! It is being reduced by tens of species as I write this. A good argument would be looking at a foetus. Every creature goes through a mini-evolution as it grows from the egg.
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