Godspell Follies

Refuting the illogic of "intelligent design" and creationism. An illustrated guide to fallacies of logic.

Radio Daze

Googling 'radio-dating' will pull up far too many websites promoting creationist ignorance, where ignorance can be defined as "a lack of knowledge, or a willful lack of desire to improve the efficiency, merit, effectiveness or usefulness" of one's beliefs.

Fact: radiometric dating places the solar system's age at around 4.6 billion years (based on meteorites which formed from the accretion disk at roughly the same time as the Earth). The oldest rock (detrital zircon) found on Earth dates from 4.4-4.3 billion years ago.

Not only are creationists ignorant of the facts of science, they are guilty of logical fallacies in :

● assuming that denial of facts provides good grounds for cogent arguments when, in fact, an argument from incorrect or false premises will never constitute an acceptable argument. For example,

Dogs are blue (false even for the "Australian Blue")
Your pet is a dog
Therefore, your pet must be blue

It would also be fallacious (though less obviously so) to argue
All dogs are black (mistaken 'universal')
You have a pet
Therefore, your pet must be black

(Your pet could be a black cat, though the argument stumbles onto the truth of blackness based on a different species, or your pet might be a White Alsation or a Yellow Lab. If your pet were a Black Lab, the conclusion would be correct for the wrong reasons and the argument remains a fallacious example of ignoratio elenchi)

The Earth was created by God in six days,
Bishop Usher calculated that the Earth is 6,000 years old based on the Scriptures
Therefore, scientific measurements must be wrong,
Therefore, God must have created our "young" Earth in six days
Therefore, God must exist and is our Creator

or, the other version:
Scientists are all atheists
Therefore, scientists have falsified the age of the Earth
Therefore, God must have created our "young" Earth in six days
Therefore, God must exist and is our Creator

(not all scientists are atheists, and even if scientists were atheists, if the evidence indicated a young age for the Earth then scientists would follow the facts)

● circularity (as above), which is an argument chasing its own tail : claim that A → B, B, so A.
Scriptures tell us that God created the world in six days and the Bible states (by Bishop Usher's calculation) that the Earth is only six days old
(We deny scientific dates and claim that) the Earth is very young
Therefore, God created the world

(Even if the Earth really were very young (it isn't) it would not necessarily follow that God created the Earth because some other cause might have operated.)

● argument from denial (as above)

● fallacy of false dichotomy employing an either-or dichotomy : The basic dichotomy created by Young Earth Creationists is that either God created the Earth in six days and it is only 6,000 years old, or scientific measurements are correct. This argument ignores the very, very, very remote possibility that God exists and did create the very, very, very young Hadean Earth in six days, but that He did so 4.6 billion years ago. Further the false dichotomy ignores the possibility that God exists but did not bother Himself with the creation of planets. Obviously other possibilities exist and it is uneccessary to list all possibilities to make the point about false dichotomies. Creationist arguments are false dichotomies as soon as two alternative explanations (one claimed to be correct and the other claimed incorrect) are provided as the only possible explanations when more than two possible explanations exist.

tu quoque attacks on any who accept the facts of scientific evidence that run along the lines of, "No, it's you who are wrong, you just don't want to see the Truth!"

● 'ass-backward' arguments – creationists begin their reasoning with a firm belief in God's existence (not a priori, but received) and an insistence that the Bible (internal contradictions notwithstanding) must be literally true, then they decide that any fact that runs counter to their firm, emotionally based beliefs must necessarily be false, and then they set about ridiculing or denying that fact. Unfortunately for those who insist on believing in Biblical metaphysics, scientific facts run counter to most of their received beliefs.

As I said – ignorant.


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