Godspell Follies

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

Refusal vs Refutation

Refusal to believe theories that logically follow from evidence does not constitute refutation. This point is missed by creationists when they deny the evidence that led to evolutionary theories, or when they fail to understand that there is not one single theory that seeks to explain the fact of biological evolution, or when they mistake acknowledgement of incomplete explanation for a complete failure of explanation.

There are undoubtedly numerous explanations for the cognitive errors and illogic of collective creationist positions. Most obvious is the impact of poor science education in those areas of the U.S. in which fundamentalism is deeply entrenched.

Individuals who have been raised with insistent belief in special creation experience dissonance when faced with scientific facts, so they are likely to close their minds to those facts. The handfull of scientists who make their living through the advocation of anti-science promotion of ID theory cannot be accused of lack of science education per se, so their motivation in promoting creationism must stem from cognitive bias founded in inculcated religious convictions.

The problem of dissonance is, of course, compounded for most creationists by anti-science policies adopted by those in charge of education in Bible Belt states. Such policies lower the standards of science education to deplorable levels for a supposedly advanced nation [NSTA, NSES, 8th grade, PISA]. For example, US students ranked between 20th and 27th of 4o nations in a 2003 comparison of scores on science testing (Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD PISA (Program for Student Assessment) 2003 database.)

The low level of science education of many creationist debaters is compounded by their repetition of information found in books and on websites with pro-creationist/anti-science bias. With little apparent comprehension of the scientific principles under discussion, and without apparent awareness that the information that they parrot is incomplete, biased, or inaccurate, creationist debaters are ill-equipped to refute the logic of science. They remain blissfully, if irritatingly ignorant of the theories that they attack, and most show no signs of willingness to acquaint themselves with those facts or to subject their own beliefs to scrutiny.

One glaring example of creationist ignorance of evolutionary science is illustrated by an insistence upon treating all evolutionary theory as beginning and ending with Darwinism coupled with an apparent lack of awareness of any form of mutation other than the point-mutation. They alone know whether they adopt this position of anti-science ignorance out of lack of acquaintance with scientific principles and/or with insistence upon the safety of attacking straw men. However, considering the anti-science education position espoused by the ID platform, coupled with poor standards of science education and evident antipathy to science and to intellectualism, it seems probable that most of the cognitive errors and illogic displayed by most creationist debaters stem from obdurate ignorance of science (at the very least).

Another example of ignorance in creationist debaters relates to their failure to distinguish between abiogenesis – the theory that life arose in primordial chemicals – and biological evolution, those events that altered the frequency of alleles down through successive generations of live organisms. Although biological evolution acted upon the products of biopoiesis (abiogenesis), the two are no more the same than rusting is equivalent to automobile manufacture.

Index Refuting ID

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