One of the more irritating things that rational people encounter in the old Theory of Evolutions vs. Creationism/Intelligent Design topic is that the Creationist and ID proponents bring up the same old points which have long ago been refuted and proven to be completely wrong.
Hence the reason for this page, a quick run down of those ignorant arguments and a brief rebuttal to each. Why? Just very useful to copy and paste when you see someone trying to use them. These rebuttals are not meant to be full of scientific terms or what-not, they are designed to be understood by someone with little to no scientific understanding (which, let’s face it, covers creationists and ID Proponents almost universally).
If you wish to suggest an edit to a response, write a rebuttal yourself or have another contribution to make, feel free to leave it in the comments section below and I’ll add it. If you happen to find yourself attempting to use one of the arguments listed below, then it is a strong indicator that you need to do a lot more research.
The Laws of Thermodynamics/Entropy make the Theory of Evolution impossible
Appeal to a misunderstanding of the Laws of Thermodynamics. These laws apply to what is known as closed systems, which organic life certainly is not. A person can refute this argument simply by looking in a mirror; you were once a much simpler form of life and have since changed into a much more complex one. If this argument were true, you would never have become more than a small puddle of liquid and maybe not even that. To state it another way, overall entropy can increase in a closed system (and undoubtedly will) yet there is nothing stopping localised pockets (such as planets, galaxies and so on) becoming more ordered.
For a more detailed explanation see Pharyngula entry titled ‘Entropy and Evolution’.
Which is Easier to believe? A creator being or that your ancestors were monkeys/rodents/jellyfish?
Just because you find something easier to believe, it does not make it true. Primitive man believed such things as the Sun was pushed along the sky by a giant Dung Beetle or that Demons caused mental illness. Why? Simply because it was easier for them and it was what they could comprehend. Likewise, I might believe that my car is run through the power of Leprechauns because I do not have a full understanding of automotive mechanics but that does not make it true. This entire argument falls under the logical fallacy known as the argument from incredulity and is therefore worthless.
No Transitional Fossils have ever been found.
It could be argued that every fossil ever found is a transitionary fossil, since it belongs to a species that was once one species and is continuing on to be another species. Examples of found transitionary fossils (apart from human remains) include Haasiophis terrasanctus, Pachyrhachis, Mososaurs, Pezosiren portelli, Runcaria and Halkiera just to name a few. The fossil record of whale evolution is also rather complete, including the movement of the blow-hole and the recession of hind legs.
Evolution has never been observed.
Evolution has been observed many times across many different species. Evolution happens with a lot of little changes over almost geological amounts of time. You could never expect, for example, a dog turn into a horse in a laboratory. That being said, new species have been observed and verified. A new species of mosquito evolved from an old one in the London Underground, The apple maggot fly, Faeroe Island House mouse, Goatsbeard Wildflowers and so on. The examples of new species emerging are many indeed.
Evolution is not science as it can not be observed, falsified and/or measured.
Evolution has been observed many times across a wide number of species and forms of life; from bacteria changing to better resist drugs and new environments, insects developing and losing physical attributes, the different breeds of dogs and general genetic change that can be seen all the time. Evolution can falsified very simply; Darwin himself even penned things would destroy his theory if they were ever found. Such finds include such things as irreducible complexity and (as the old saying goes) rabbit fossils in the pre-cambian.
Evolution is only a theory.
The Theory of Evolution is a scientific theory, which is somewhat different to how the term ‘theory’ is often used in wider society. In science, the term refers to ”a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena” to put it rather simply. Scientific theories need to meet certain criteria to be considered as such; being observable, testable and so on. Scientific theories must undergo rigorous testing and verification which is what the Theory of Evolution has passed time and again. There is no ‘heirachy of truth’, a scientific theory is not worth less than a ‘law’.
Evolution does not explain the origin of life or how the Universe began.
No, it does not and it is not intended to. The only thing that the Theory of Evolution explains (and does so quite nicely) is the diversity of life that we find on the planet we happen to call Earth. The scientific theory dealing with the origin of life on Earth is known as the Theory of Abiogenesis. The event which created the Universe as we know it is called The Big Bang.
I believe in Creationism because the Bible says it is so.
The Bible is not an historically accurate record by any measure of the term but that is not even the main reason this point is wrong. Instead this claim is guilty of appealing to nothing but circular logic; Creationism can only be true if the Bible is true. The 100% truth of the Bible only exists if Creationism is true. To extend the logic a little further, God is true because the Bible says he is while the Bible is true because God says it is. It is the same attempt at logic and falls down for exactly the same reasons. It is akin to trying to fly by picking yourself up by your own shoelaces.
Intelligent Design is Science/Evolution is not Science.
Intelligent Design fails to classify as science for several pretty reasons. Some of these include that it is not falsifiable like every other Scientific Theory must be (that means that it can be disproved through evidence or research). It is also not based on evidence or the scientific method; instead being based from the rather odd method where a conclusion is thought up and evidence sought for it which is the opposite of the scientific method (which entails looking at the evidence and forming a testable conclusion from it).
The Theory of Evolution is a scientific theory as concluded by the incredibly vast majority of the scientific community (and if anyone should know, it is scientists). It is falsifiable through several means as written by Charles Darwin roughly two hundred years ago including finding a case of Irreducible Complexity or, as some have quipped in more modern times, ‘finding rabbit fossils in the pre-Cambrian’. Needless to say, none of these have ever been found.
I have nothing to lose if I believe in god. If I don’t believe and am wrong then I’ll go to Hell.
This argument is known as Pascal’s Wager and might be an argument of minor worth if there were not hundreds of different religions and thousands of deities throughout human history. For this argument to even approach validity, you would have to be sure that you have selected the right deity; since if you do not choose the right deity (if one even existed at all) out of the various thousands, the result you hope for won’t be happening. After all, for example, there is no more evidence or proof for the Christian god than there is for Zeus, Wotan, Mithras, Xenu or even the fabled Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Atheists have no source of morality
Atheists do not have an external source of morality in the same way that religious people believe they do, that much is correct. Of course, the argument is flawed since it assumes that humans gain their sense of morality from one deity or another. If the argument were true, then all those people who have never heard of or do not follow that particular deity would go around raping, pillaging, stealing and what-have-you. This argument is actually quite telling, from it can be assumed that if there was no threat of divine punishment then the religious followers in question would go and perform the afore mentioned bad deeds.
So where did our sense of morality and such come from? In many ways, morality in evolutionary in nature; we have seen our sense of justice and ethics change in just the past few centuries with the abolition of many acts that were once considered just and right (burning of heretics, slavery, etc). Where did it all start? Most likely with very early social groups; those that co-operated and acted a cohesive society tended to survive much better than those groups that fell to infighting and self destructive behaviour (murder, theft, etc). Altruism has also been seen in various animal species (primates, dolphins, etc. It’s quite common in species thought as possessing some form of higher order thinking) and they certainly do not follow any known deity – they do it simply because it increases the survival rates of the species.
Mention of a ‘global flood’ often comes along, despite the notion of it being rather silly to anyone who understands even the most basic levels of science. Some of the reasons (but far from all) it is silly are;
The listed dimensions of the Ark would have been far too small to house the number of animals necessary for the venture to work. This does not include the room needed to store feed, let the animals move and thus gain exercise, waste disposal, corrals for stopping animals eating each other and so on. The ark would have also been structurally unsound and would have collapsed under its own weight.
The ark is listed as having only the one window which makes survival of crew and cargo highly dubious at best. Look at modern sheep ship which transport live sheep across the globe; their design is based on an open deck philosophy to allow maximum possible ventilation and the cargo is tended to by trained Vets. However, despite this infinitely better ventilation and medical care, quite a number of sheep die on every trip.
The mixture of salt and fresh water would have killed pretty much every form of marine life known to humankind. Marine life tends to be highly specialised in living in certain conditions; change those conditions (such as massively decreasing salinity or PH levels) and you will get instant mass fish death. It is highly dubious that the Ark contained large aquariums which could replicate the multitude of ocean environments.
There has been no model proposed for the origin of the trillions of tons of water which it would take to cover the Earth so that all land masses would be covered. The arrival of such amounts of water so quickly, assuming it magically appeared from somewhere, would have in fact caused the water itself to boil the water away and thus turn the surface of the planet into one giant super heated steam cooker.
A much more localised flood of the Black Sea area is most likely the basis of such a story; it could easily have appeared to such primitive people that their ‘world’ had indeed flooded since their perception of the world would indeed be underwater.
The Exodus from Egypt
The story of Moses leading his people out of Egypt also gets raised now and then and is only marginally less silly than the Global Flood tale. There is one simple way to know that it is false; the number of people who left (as listed) was actually greater than the population of native Egyptians at the time. Such an exodus of a labour force would have left Egypt in complete social and economic ruin; yet such an event is not recorded, even by nations/forces that were hostile to Egypt at the time. Nor did any nations take advantage of this weakness to simply invade and conquer Egypt, which would have been a proverbial walk in the park if the exodus had happened.
The Bible is validated because the New Testament fulfils Old Testament prophecies
The prophecies listed in the Old Testament given are generally extremely vague and wide open to liberal interpretation. They are fulfilled only in the same way that supposed modern day mediums speak with the dead, using open questions and vague statements/questions to gain information from audience members in such a way as to make them believe it is real. It would actually be more remarkable if those old prophecies were not fulfilled since they were bound to happen sooner or later; especially when you consider the hundreds of people who were proclaiming themselves to be the fabled messiah when Jesus was walking about. Such prophecies, as pointed out, also tend to be self fulfilling; if you wished to present yourself as a messiah figure then you would do your best to follow the predictions laid out previously to improve the chances of people believing in your stance.
What about the Cambrian Explosion?
What about it? It certainly does nothing to negate or weaken the Theory of Evolution. The term ‘explosion’ is somewhat misleading since it applies to an ‘event’ that lasted five to ten million years (possibly more). The soft bodied animals that existed previously simply did not fossilise well while the harder bodied ones which evolved did, thus a greater number of fossils for post-Cambrian organisms but it is not indicative of a greater number of overall species. That being said, there are many scientific explanations on why an increase of complexity of species may have occurred at this time; increase in oxygen levels, the Earth coming out of an ice age for just two reasons.
Have you read Lee Strobel’s work?
Strobel is often cited by creationists as some sort of authority figure, though the reasons for this are sometimes unclear to say the least. His book The Case for Christ has been reviewed and found to be less than adequate in a lot of areas. Some examples of the critiques of Strobel’s work can be found at the following URLs:
What about Anthony Flew’s conversion to Deism?
What about it? Once he was regarded as an intellectual but that reputation is no longer anywhere near as strong as it once may have been. Flew has admitted that he has not kept up with modern research, findings or arguments in both science and theological. Flew’s mental faculties have also come under question, with considerable questions being asked about his exact role in writing the works released under his name. In short,; whether Flew is a Deist, Christian, Atheist or wears tea pots on his head while singing ‘Yellow Submarine’ is of no importance at all. He is one man who is free to choose his own beliefs; but his arguments and credibility leave much to be desired.
Other sources of ‘Answers to Stupid Arguments’: