In Debate with Evolutionists
by Rachel D. Ramer
There is more to discussing evolution than debating the age of the earth or the
wing breadth of the archaeopteryx. There is value, for example, in examining how
evolutionists make their defense. Looking beyond the argument to the arguer's
techniques can expose fallacious reasoning which keep many from considering the
God of Creation.
If Christians plan to argue from the Genesis account of creation, they must first
support biblical authenticity. Although the Bible can be supported, that may be the
long way around. When Scripture is introduced, evolutionists launch into one of
their "best" fallacies: false distinction -- the banning of "religion" from scientific
A shortcut is to point out how evolutionists engage in logical fallacies such as the
"straw man," "bias ad hominem," "false distinction," and "non sequitur" fallacies.
The first three are used in attempts to invalidate the creationists' stance; the fourth
endeavors to validate macroevolution (the change from one species into another)
as legitimate science.
The Argument You So Eloquently Refuted Was Not Mine! A strawman fallacy
involves the misrepresentation of an opponent's argument to refute him or her
easily. Stephen Jay Gould, in his article, "Evolution as Fact and Theory" in the May
1981 issue of Discover Magazine, attempted to refute creationism by saying, "We
have abundant, direct, observational evidence of evolution in action, from both the
field and the laboratory." His point: evolution is an irrefutable fact, and creationists
ignore this certainty.
Yet, the evidence he cited supported microevolution, involving changes that take
place within separate species. Creationists have no contention with the concept of
In fact, A. E. Wilder-Smith, in his book The Natural Sciences Know Nothing of
Evolution (T.W.F.T. Publishers), makes a case for both negative and positive
mutations (microevolution) working against macroevolution. Negative mutations
weaken the creature, a tendency that does not support survival of the fittest;
positive mutations make it a stronger creature, helping to preserve its own class. In
the latter case, the variations are the means that allow the species to survive
distinct from other species.
The fact that many evolutionists use microevolution to refute creationism shows the
seriousness of this fallacy. Pointing this out can dispel the misconception that
Christians do not accept scientific fact.
Religious Bias Disqualifies. A bias ad hominem fallacy has to do with disqualifying
someone's argument simply because the arguer has a special bias in the issue. For
example, someone with a religious experience or belief is disqualified from having a
valid opinion about his or her own religion. It is fitting to check the soundness of a
biased person's argument, but it is wrong to reject the argument solely because of
the arguer's bias.
In the 1982 trial of McLean vs. Arkansas, which centered around teaching both
theories of origins in public schools, questions were raised concerning the religious
beliefs of the creation experts. Objections by the defense (creationists) were
consistently overruled. Yet, what the proponents believe is beside the point.
Of course, there are those who combat evolution who are not religious, but even
that is beside the point. Religious belief is not necessarily based on fact, but neither
is it necessarily founded in falsehood. A "religious" view might actually be true. If
we don't allow it to be heard, how can we claim to uphold free inquiry?
...Because Creationism Is Religion. The "false distinction" fallacy relegates
creationism to a different category, thereby falsely nullifying it. To evolutionists,
religion often disregards science (illustrated in the church-motivated condemnation
of Galileo). Science is described as what is observable, repeatable, and falsifiable.
With that definition, creationism is not science. Yet, neither is macroevolution.
The false distinction is between evolution and creationism as "science versus
religion" instead of evidence for evolution versus evidence for creationism. If
the argument never gets to that level, again free inquiry is stifled.
To Believe in the Miracle of Evolution. Suppose evolutionists abandoned the
above three problem areas and debated creationists on equal terms. Would their
position then prove reliable? Not really, because the fallacy known as non sequitur
-- Latin for "it does not follow" -- becomes an immediate issue. Microevolution
leading to macroevolution, discussed earlier, is one example.
The celebrated "missing links" as concrete evidence is another. The role of fossils as
transitional forms is speculative at best in comparison with documented, trackable
microevolution. Yet, evolutionists often use these "proofs" interchangeably as
though the reliability of the one naturally follows the credibility of the other.
Also problematic is concluding from molecular biology that there is a common
ancestry for all organisms. It does not follow that because all life shares a common
biochemical basis, that relationship was brought about through evolution. In
engineering this type of creative diversity from the same basic building blocks is
good design, the result of a designer.
Finally, it does not follow that because religion was wrong about Galileo, it is in
error about creationism. The same evolutionists who insist that their own past
mistakes should not be held against their position (e.g., promoting false "missing
links" such as the Piltdown man) are often unwilling to allow their intellectual
opponents to have human failings as well.
Because the above fallacies are common, many people cannot "hear" the scientific
evidence for creation, they cannot accept the Genesis account, they cannot listen
unbiased to what they consider a biased view. If we can expose these flaws, we
may earn the privilege of leading them beyond God as Creator to God as Savior.
About the Author
Rachel D. Ramer is a freelance writer who lives in Olathe, Kansas.
Copyright 1994 by the Christian Research Institute. (P.O. Box 7000
Rancho Santa Margarita, California 92688-7000). Taken from from the Witnessing Tips column of
the Christian Research Journal, Winter 1994, page 7. The Editor-in-Chief of the Christian Research
Journal is Elliot Miller.
Faith and Reason Forum would like to thank
The Christian Research Institute for allowing us
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