Strawmen, Bible-Wallopers, and CSI

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, May 21, 2015 0 comments

by Steve Risner

Hopefully, this will wrap up my blog post series on facts and opinions and how they relate to historical vs observational science. If this is the first post you’re reading on this by me, please take a moment to read this blog post and this blog post to get caught up with us. It’ll hopefully avoid confusion while reading this one. Today we’ll explore some interesting things that atheists/secularists and other evolutionists may say about this whole debate. It’s odd that we have such a hard time finding one of them that will accurately and/or honestly describe what creationists say or believe. You’ll see what I mean in a moment. Here’s a short recap on some primary points: A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation. “Historical science" is a term used to describe sciences in which data is provided primarily from past events and for which there is usually no direct experimental data, such as cosmology, astronomy, astrophysics, geology, paleontology, and archaeology. Notice how the first definition excludes the second from actually being a viable scientific study. A theory demands observation, experimentation, and repeatability. “Historical science” by definition has no direct experimental data. Oops.

Last week, I wrote briefly on forensics as it is quite frequently brought up as some sort of gold standard for “historical science.” This is ironic since the argument from evolutionists is often that there is no distinction between the two types of science—historical and observational. In the same discussion, after claiming there is no distinction, they’ll cite a form of historical science and try to defend it. I’m sure you can see how futile it often is discussing this stuff with them with the talking in circles, strawman arguments, name-calling, and rants about deception and stupidity. In the case of forensics, we have several points to make which I touched on last week—that we have a pretty good understanding of the basic conditions surrounding a very recent event, we often times have an eye witness that, at the least, can help shape the story we allow the evidence to tell, and it’s far from being solid science as is made clear by the atrocious statistics we have from the FBI concerning error rates. Overstating claims is also an issue that crosses over to the origins debate in a grand way. We’ve seen the story over and over where a “new find” is heralded as some great triumph for evolution only to have it very quietly retracted weeks or months later. This, of course, doesn’t stop evolutionists from using it as support for their “theory.” Haeckel’s embryos is a classic example of a bad find—in fact it was fraudulent—and could be found in textbooks nearly 100 years after he published his work. Yet the creationist is claimed to be anti-science and dishonest. Let’s take a quick look at something PZ Meyers writes about this debate—historical vs observational:

“It’s got that delightful combination of arrogant pretense in which the Bible-walloper gets to pretend he understands science better than scientists, and simultaneously allows them to deny every scientific observation, ever. This is the argument where they declare what kinds of science there are, and evolutionary biologists are using the weak kind, historical science, while creationists are only using the strong kind, observational science. They use the distinction wrongly and without any understanding of how science works, and they inappropriately claim that they’re doing any kind of science at all.”

This small paragraph is full of misinformation. But, as many of us have discovered, misinformation is the general method by which the evolutionist will get his or her point across. That may seem like a bold and even a harsh statement, but after being involved with this study for over 20 years and actively involved in these discussions for quite some time, this is really how I’ve come to conclude they operate.

He starts by referring to the creationist as a Bible-walloper. Name-calling is generally not showing us that you have a strong argument. Again, look at the comment section of my recent blog posts. He goes on to say that creationists “pretend” to understand science better than scientists. This is a curious statement. It’s true that many creationists are not scientists. But many are scientists and do some pretty great things for humanity in this capacity. It’s equally true that there are many who believe in evolution and are not scientists. He’s really just trying to make a distinction between creationists and evolutionists claiming that one is a religious fool while the other is an intellectual and a scientist. Such a hollow claim is easily shown to be fallacious. He moves on to claiming creationists are allowed, then, to “deny every scientific observation, ever.” This statement is so nonsensical and unsupportable I feel it’s a waste of time to elaborate. He continues by indicating creationists believe there may be different types or kinds of science (which there clearly are). This is the only thing he’s stated that’s remotely close to reality. But he makes such an untruthful statement to follow up that distinction I find it hard to take him seriously. He alleges that creationists claim evolutionists are using the “weak kind” of science while creationists are using the “strong kind.” Creationists make no distinction in origins science. We both use the same information—all the data is available to us all. It has been the argument by myself and by many creationists for a very long time that the origins debate is not a scientific debate but a philosophical debate. We both have scientific information we can draw from, but our starting points—our presuppositions—are what cause us to arrive at different destinations. It’s really quite simple. He wraps up with “they inappropriately claim that they’re doing any kind of science at all.” The tired and demonstrably false argument that creationists aren’t scientists is so worn and pitiful. Take a look at this blog post from last year exposing how crazy such thinking is. Science stands on the shoulders of great men of God who studied the world around us seeking to “think God’s thoughts after Him” as Kepler said. I believe I may have given credit for this to Isaac Newton in the past. I correct that here.

In case there is a skeptic reading who would suggest I’m making up an argument here—that atheists will not commonly use forensics as an example of historical science (after saying there is no such thing), I offer up a quote from Donald Prothero, who claims to have aided Bill Nye in preparing for his debate with Ken Ham. He states, in prepping Bill, that they focused quite a bit on this argument and how to refute it. This is funny because Bill did no such thing. Mr. Prothero says, “When we prepared Bill for the debate, we knew this [the distinction between historical and observational science] was coming, and gave Bill several examples to refute it. The best one is the example of CSI, or forensic science.” He then asks the question, “If a crime is committed and no one saw the criminal, does the CSI just shrug their shoulders and say, ‘We can’t solve it’?” This is a strawman argument—a made up argument against a position that doesn’t exist. No one says we can’t piece together clues about the past. But he, as others have done, has bought into the Hollywood version of forensics rather than reality. To claim this makes a creationist anti-science is disingenuous. I pray you’ve found this series helpful. Keep in mind that most of the arguments you hear or read against creationism is not based on creationism at all but a skewed version of it. This is similar for Christianity in general.

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