Debating Evolution: Define your terms FIRST!

Evolution is a dying theory.  Like many tyrants, however, the final throws of it’s fight will not be gentle.  No, evolution will not go quietly into the night.  Much like the T-1000 dying in a pool of hot liquid metal, evolution and it’s adherents will brutally and maliciously try to remain relevant in a modern, informed society.  As a soldier in this battle it is important- nay- essential that you recognize the tools of their attacks the most effective being the definition of terms.

In debating, you must understand that your debate will most likely not change the mind of the person to whom you are directing your apologetic but to the readers/viewers/etc.  Your sites, therefore, should be focused on influencing those who are listening-rather than those who are arguing.  As such, you owe it to your audience to your make clear your position on the terms being used.  Otherwise, the wily evolutionist will use them against you and may sway others to the position of ignorance.  Below are a list of terms of which to be conscious and how to use them in a debate:

1.  Evolution

Evolution has come to mean many different things.  Perhaps the most popular definition of evolution is “change over time.”  However, this definition is worded in such that to challenge evolution or that “change over time” has occurred is akin to being a wacko.  Again, the evolutionist has cleverly included a definition that disables it’s credible falsifiability.  What they really mean is that life evolved from simpler forms of life similar to the model proposed by Darwin in his 1850 publication.  This is easily refuted although not the topic of this blog.  Instead we will focus on the assumptions of the term “evolution” and examine it’s use in the debate.

Evolution (or descent) from simpler forms of life is also referred to as “molecules-to-man” evolution.  In The Fossils Say No, Duane T. Gish writes, “the general theory of…the evolution model, is the theory that all living things have arisen by a materialistic evolutionary process from a single source which itself arose by a similar process from a dead, inanimate world.”  This definition is dead on.  When the evolutionist uses this term, it is to this they are referring. They are not simply referring to “change over time” which has been observed to occur in a given species and is limited to the genus or familae classification (some refer to this as a “kind” although secular scientists largely reject this term for is Biblical implications).  They instead refer to the unobserved process of one species turning into another species and so forth.  Obviously for this to have happened a number of assumptions must be in place namely water, rock, electricity, a planet, a sun, oxygen, gravity, physical laws, and a universe to name a few.  When the evolutionists refers to evolution, they are assuming- without justification- that all these things have taken place.  You must not be so foolish to accept the term or to use the term without first clarify how you will use the term.  For example, make clear that evolution has 6 different unproven and unjustifiable assumptions attached:

1.  Cosmic evolution- the idea that physical laws brought into being all physical laws via the Big Bang (that’s right- a circular argument from the get go).  This idea directly contradicts all known evidence and scientific knowledge regarding the laws of thermodynamic, angular momentum, and more.

2.  Stellar evolution- the idea that stars and planets form by compressed gas and swirling hydrogen (the Nebular Hypothesis).  Also contradicts the laws stated above and has never been observed (no one has ever seen a star form).

3. Chemical evolution- the idea that chemicals floating around are intrinsically attracted to one another and can bond to form more complex chemicals.  This idea stands in direct contradiction to the 2nd law of Thermodynamics (that life gets less complex not more) and has been shown to be impossible without intelligent intervention.

4.  Organic evolution- the idea that life somehow arose from non-life or that consciousness arose from chemistry.  Dawkins refers to this step as a huge “gap” in evolutionary thought.  This step also stands in direct contradiction to the law of biogenesis which states that life always comes from life (not from non-life IE: a rock).

5.  Macro-evolution- the idea that one species of animal can arise from another species of animal (the most common assumption of the word “evolution”).  Directly refuted by the non-existence of transitional forms in the fossil record along with the Cambrian explosion speaking to a huge impulse of immediate life without ancestors.

6.  Micro-evolution- or adaptations refer to the fact that small changes occur with a species of a limited genus or familiae IE: blond hair, brown hair, green scales, blue scales, small beaks, large beaks, etc.

Note that of 6 different examples of the assumptions of the word “evolution” only 1 has ever been shown to be empirically valid.   Every example of macro-evolution you will find in textbooks will use micro-evolutionary examples as Darwin did.  For example, the use of changes in the color of a peppered moth, the size of finch beaks, or the enzymes in bacteria are all used to “prove” macro-evolution.  Each of these examples however, demonstrate small changes in a species limited to the genus or familae classifications; the moths remained moths, finches remained finches, and bacteria remained bacteria.

2.  Science.

Science comes from the French “sciencia” and has historically meant “knowledge” as it refers to a certain line of study.  Whether that study be the arts, mathematics, cooking, etc.  Webster’s dictionary defines science as “knowledge attained through study or practice,” or “knowledge covering general truths of the operation of general laws, esp. as obtained and tested through scientific method [and] concerned with the physical world.”  Largely when something is “scientific”it is said to be subject to the scientific method.  In other words, something is scientific if it is

a.  Observable
b.  Falsifiable
c.  Repeatable (in a lab, for example)
d. Useful in predictions.

The evolutionist, however, has a much different meaning of science.  For the evolutionist, science is naturalism or preternaturalism; that is, the philosophical belief that “nature is everything that is, or was, or will be” to paraphrase the late evolutionist radical Carl Sagan.  In his book, The Devils Dilusion, David Berlinsky writes that, “In many respects the word naturalism comes closest to conveying what scientists regard as the spirit of science…. a general metaphysical position.” What the evolutionist/naturalist does here is take a substantive, unproven, philosophical presupposition and loads it into a general term in order to sway the debate in his favor. In this manner, there is no way they can be wrong.    To illustrate, take evolutionist Richard C. Lewontin in a review of Carl Sagan’s book, “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.” Richard Dawkins further illustrates this point in an email letter to Phillip Johnson when he wrote, “Our philosophical commitment to materialism and reductionism is true...”  What they are saying is “science” is “all there is” and “naturalism” is assumed as a truth.  However, this argument is circular and therefore illogical. So when Eugenia Scott from the NCSE claims that “evolution is scientific” what she means is that evolution is a naturalistic explanation based on an apriori commitment to an unproved philosophical position.  She does not mean that evolution is science in the traditional form for the following reasons:

a. Observable- no one has ever witnessed organic, cosmic, stellar, chemical, or macro- evolution.  The only type of “evolution” that has every been observed is that within a species at the genus or familae level.  The evolutionist will argue that evolution takes too much time (billions and billions of years) which is why no one has seen it.  Regardless of their justification, observation is an essential part of what science has come to mean.

b.  Falsifiable- evolution has been shown to be biochemically and genetically improbable to a degree of 10 to the 117th power- way beyond the scientific probability of a miracle and more than there are atomic particles in the universe.

c.   Repeatable- no lab experiment has ever been show to create one species from another species (macro-evolution) simply by the naturalistic mechanism of chance plus mutation.  On the contrary, experiments have largely demonstrated the inability of a given species to develop outside of it’s existing genetic code and be viable outside of the laboratory.

d.  Useful in predictions- even if evolution could be shown to be feasible it wouldn’t matter predictably since we have no way of forecasting the results of time plus chance acting on random mutations on a given species in a given environment.

Evolution has nothing to do with science.  It is a faith position.  Physicist and Information scientist Hubert Yokey writes, “the belief that life on earth arose spontaneously from nonliving matter is simply an article of faith in strict reductionism and is based solely on ideology.” Evolutionist and co-discoverer of DNA, Francis Crick sadly offers, “Every time I write a paper on the origin on life I swear I will never write another one, because there is too much speculation running after too few facts.” Evolutionist, mathematician and astronomer, Chandra Wickramasinghe agrees when he observes, “The emergence of life from a primordial soup on the Earth is merely an article of faith that scientists are finding difficult to shed. There is no experimental evidence to support this at the present time…”

As Creation or Design Theorists, we love science but not evolution.  Evolution has nothing to do with science.   As Philip Johnson wrote to Richard Dawkins,  when you “separate the philosophy from the science, the proud tower (of evolution) collapses.”  Therefore, when debating an evolutionist, be sure to qualify your use of the term “Science” as early as possible.  It is embarrassing to have assumed their definitions before realizing this, backing up and starting again.  You will appear fragile and inconsistent.  Rather, approach their definition up front and refute it (easily).  For more information on refuting naturalism see my blog on “refuting naturalism” (coming soon!).


One Response to “Debating Evolution: Define your terms FIRST!”

  1. Anthropology 100: Day 1 « The Apologetic Says:

    […] Neither did the author or instructor quote any creation or design theorists.  Rather he only quoted the opponents to said theories.  Further he neither consulted the logical connection between his own fields and other evolutionary-bent fields before decrying “intelligent design” as unscientific.  He may have wanted to check with SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) whose main goal it is to search for “intelligent design” in radio waves.  He probably should have checked with Archaeologists whose goal it is to determine whether a piece of clay is just dirt or a pot shard from an ancient civilization.  He may want to ask leading scientists like Chandra Wickramasinghe, Stephen Hawking, or the late Francis Crick (co-discoverer) of DNA- all three of these brainiacs subscribe to the theory of Directed Panspermia- a substudy of Intelligent Design professing that life is too complex for Darwinian evolution and must have been “seeded” by alien life forms. I guess that this junior college professor is more aware then the aforementioned.  For more on the evolutionists definition of “science” please click here. […]

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