Monday, December 29, 2008

Argument XVII - Equivalent sides?

Here is a simple question, is Evolution, including the theory, and Creationism the same thing?

No, I haven't flipped out. But one of the arguments I have heard a lot of on Topix is that both Science and Religion are using the exact same evidence, they are just arriving at different conclusions/interpretations and each one is as correct as the other.

I don't buy into this one for several very simple reasons. I do understand why Creationists, and Intelligent Design Proponents, like hearing this, I mean after getting your butt kicked in court for years, suddenly someone says you really are equal must get your heart all a-quiver!

But be still your quivering heart, because what we have here is a simple apples to oranges comparison that doesn't hold up. I mean on the surface it does look somewhat reasonable. And the claim is frequently made that they are both simply starting from different books in order to arrive at their conclusions. But is this true? In a nutshell, no! They are not starting from different books, they are not following the same methodology, and they are certainly not equivalent points of view of the same set of evidence.

How many pieces of evidence has been denied and ignored by Creationists and ID proponents? How many times have we heard "There are no transitional fossils", "The Earth is only 6,000 years old", and "the flood actually happened"? I don't know about you, but it seems to me that denial of the evidence is not an interpretation. That filtering your viewpoint based on any presupposition and ignoring evidence to the contrary means that your conclusion cannot withstand serious examination. Therein lies the difference and why the analogy is false.

I am not claiming that science is perfect, but look at the differences. A scientific theory has to be able to withstand scrutiny. It has to address the evidence, ALL the evidence, not just a convenient subset. It has to offer testable and predictable results. That is the difference between the two ideas. Creationism and ID offer nothing but an idea, an idea that has been validated by their religious beliefs. This is not the same thing as an idea that supports all the known evidence, that gets stronger as more evidence is discovered, and that predicts and passes test after test! The scientific side of the whole argument is based on logic, on reasoning, on the work of hundreds and thousands, and on a mountain of evidence that is so overwhelming that the Creationist side had to invent a way to accept a lot of it (micro vs macro). The Creationist/ID side is based on faith and only faith! How can they be equal?

Because Answers In Genesis says so! PZ Myers posted a link to the AIG website "What's the best proof of Creationism?" and that is the basic argument. It suddenly declares victory by co-opting all the evidence for Evolution and claiming that it is also the same evidence that supports Creationism. While it does admit to a certain 'unreliability' with evidences for Creationism presented in the past, but it blows right past those lies and builds a beaut all it's own. It starts simply enough, like most lies, with a kernel of the truth

"Creationists and evolutionists, Christians and non-Christians, all have the same evidence—the same facts. Think about it: we all have the same earth, the same fossil layers, the same animals and plants, the same stars—the facts are all the same."
But then it takes off into flights of fancy and claiming that the presuppositions uses by evolutionists are the same thing as the presuppositions used by Creationists. Now that is a huge assumption! One of the precepts of science is the ability to cast off presuppositions when the evidence doesn't support it. Science does that on a regular basis. In fact it's possible, although unlikely, that all of Evolution might be cast aside for a better explanation. Can AIG say the same for their religious ideas? No they cannot! Everything must match their religious perspective or it is wrong! There is no possibility that their religious perspective isn't perfect! Of course when pressed they fall back on the old stand-by "God!"

This is not an example of two people arguing from the same evidence and simply not seeing each others points of view. One side is based on logic and evidence, the other is based solely on faith and a denial of any evidence that does not support their position. In fact the only evidence they accept doesn't unequivocally support their position, it simply doesn't automatically dismiss it (micro vs macro again)

This paragraph is what really shows me what AIG and little kenny Ham are all about:
"A Christian who understands these things can actually put on the evolutionist’s glasses (without accepting the presuppositions as true) and understand how they look at evidence. However, for a number of reasons, including spiritual ones, a non-Christian usually can’t put on the Christian’s glasses—unless they recognize the presuppositional nature of the battle and are thus beginning to question their own presuppositions."
Of course only the non-Christian is capable of questioning their presuppositions, the Christian, since that's the side that has to be correct -- according to AIG -- their presuppositions are all valid ones. How can anyone actually write this drivel and believe it!

I do think little kenny still seems to forget that the majority of the Cristian world supports evolution and evolutionary theory. He is making yet another assumption and claiming that all Christians see things as he does. Well as PZ Myers put it, the glasses he is looking through are cracked and nearly opaque!

My take is pretty simple. Science looks at the facts and draws conclusions. Little kenny starts with the conclusions and looks for what facts might support it. There is no equivalency here, only the barest most tiny bit of similarity, I mean they each are using facts and conclusions, but certainly not the same methodology.

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