Faith & Self Defense

Building Confidence Through Evidence

Of Mice and Men, Kangaroos and Chimps

98 Percent Human?Atheists are always asking me for evidence that proves God exists. They usually bring up evolution as proof that God does not exist.

Evolution. Really? Well, I have some questions for them.

First, some background.

I used to believe in evolution. That’s what I learned in public school and some churches I attended as a child and teen taught that God could have used evolution to “create” the world. So, what about now? I believe God created the heavens and the earth without the use of evolution. Why do I believe that? God said He created the heavens and the earth in what appears to be a short period of time (Genesis 1) and evolution is a weak theory of why He didn’t.

A former atheist/evolutionist who becomes a theist/creationist can be a real pain-in-the-neck. I know because I am one and atheist/evolutionists tell me I am. Even though I love talking about lots of other things, creation/evolution comes up most often in discussions with atheists. They see that as one of the fastest ways to shut me up and prove their point. What they don’t know, but soon find out, is that the “theory” of evolution is one of the reasons I became a Christian.

Here’s an example of the kinds of discussions atheist/evolutionists like to have with theist/creationists. It’s the one about humans and chimps evolving from a common ancestor. I accepted that theory without question for years, but is it true? And if it is true, what impact does that have on Genesis 1?

Using the Bible to argue with an atheist is pretty much a waste of breath. Why would someone who doesn’t believe in God believe in “the Word” of God? They wouldn’t and don’t. So, what can we use as common ground? Truth. That includes facts, evidence and proof. Atheists put their trust in “science” as being truth. The problem with that is science “evolves.” It changes. Things that were thought to be scientific fact years ago are no longer fact. Something else, often the most recent finding, becomes fact. Atheists like to throw in our face that we believe in a 3,500-year-old book because, they say, it’s so out of date. No, what’s out of date is science books printed more than 10 or 20 years ago. The 3,500-year-old “book” Christians believe and trust is never out of date because of Who wrote it.

Back to the so-called “common ancestor” of humans and chimps. The theory used to be that humans and chimps share about 98.4% of their DNA. With that much genetic similarity you might wonder why chimps don’t look and act more human. How can 1.6% DNA differential make humans and chimps so, well, different?

One of the problems with that high number of 98.4% is that it is wrong. Evolution-believing scientists have more recently lowered those numbers based on newer research. Evolutionist Jeremy Taylor wrote in his book, Not A Chimp: The hunt to find the genes that make us human (Oxford University Press, USA; 1 edition, August 31, 2009), that the view that chimps are practically human based on their genetic similarity is “nonsense.”

Here’s how Taylor’s publisher describes the book:

“It is one of the best-known pieces of scientific trivia–that human DNA and chimpanzee DNA differ by a mere 1.6%. But are we then just chimps with a few genetic tweaks? Are our language and our technology just an extension of the grunts and ant-collecting sticks of chimps?

In Not a Chimp, Jeremy Taylor describes one of the great scientific quests of our times–the effort to discover precisely what makes humans different from other primates, especially our closest evolutionary relative, the chimpanzee. Drawing on state-of-the-art science, Taylor convincingly debunks the assertion that our two species are nearly identical genetically. He sketches the picture now emerging from cutting-edge research in genetics, animal behavior, and other fields to show that the so-called 1.6% difference is effectively much larger, leading to a profound divergence between the two species. Indeed, he explains that the evolution of the human genome has accelerated since the split of chimps and humans from a common ancestor more than six million years ago. In fact, at least 7% of human genes–almost one gene in ten–have accumulated changes within the last 50,000 years. Some of the genes that have changed orchestrate entire sets of other genes, and recent studies show that it is this complex interaction–rather than the action of individual genes–that underlies speech processes, brain development, and a host of other mechanisms that make humans unique.

We humans are far different, genetically speaking, than chimps. More than that, we have been the architects of our own evolution through the same processes that have produced our farm animals and crop plants. We are the apes that domesticated themselves.” (Amazon.com)

I don’t agree with Taylor’s view about humans and chimps having a common ancestor, but find it interesting that an evolutionist can see what has been promoted as evolutionary “science” is not based on settled scientific fact. There is more research to be done on the part of scientists to “settle” the question.

It’s also interesting to note that mice and kangaroos also have most of their genes in common with humans. Have you heard that before? Probably not because mice and kangaroo genes being similar to human genes doesn’t fit the evolutionary model most scientists like to use to prove their theory. Chimps have more physical characteristics that are similar to humans than mice and kangaroos, but it could be that mice and kangaroo DNA is more similar to human DNA.

Here’s a report about the similarity of mouse and human DNA from the National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health.

“Overall, mice and humans share virtually the same set of genes. Almost every gene found in one species so far has been found in a closely related form in the other. Of the approximately 4,000 genes that have been studied, less than 10 are found in one species but not in the other.”

Here are a couple of quotes from an interview that appeared in Australian news reports several years ago.

“There are a few differences, we have a few more of this, a few less of that, but they are the same genes and a lot of them are in the same order,’ center Director Jenny Graves told reporters in Melbourne.

‘We thought they’d be completely scrambled, but they’re not. There is great chunks of the human genome which is sitting right there in the kangaroo genome,’ Graves said, according to AAP.” (“Kangaroo genes close to humans,” Reuters, November 18, 2008)

So, what will evolutionists do with that scientific hurdle? They’ll come up with something else to talk about. The most recent is endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). Atheists have new ammunition and believe they’ve found the magic bullet to shut up creationists. Here’s how I responded to an atheist who presented ERVs to me as the final, settled science on the matter.

“Thank you for sharing the links to studies and reports about the ERV evidence for common ancestry. I think it’s too early to call the issue “resolved” as many evolutionists have claimed, but it’s definitely worth researching.

Some creationists question the methodology and what section of the genome was used in determining the findings about the ERV insertions. Here’s what one of them wrote about it.

‘Just like the appeal to human genetic testing, the analogy to literary plagiarism relies on a hidden—but critical—assumption: The ability to spot shared mistakes assumes knowledge of the language used. Hence, the claim that humans and chimps share DNA mistakes assumes that scientists speak the ‘language’ of DNA well enough to identify errors reliably.

Is this assumption true?

The shared ‘mistakes’ between the two genomes are most often found in the region of the genome previously labeled ‘junk.’ Evidence has been accumulating that ‘junk’ DNA is, in fact, functional. These data clearly indicate that the assumption behind the evolution claim is false—we do not speak the language of the genome well enough to reliably separate shared ‘mistakes’ from common design features. Hence, the claim that shared ‘mistakes’ prove common ancestry is invalid.”  (Dr. Nathanael Jeanson, Ph.D in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard University)

Very interesting. I’ll keep an open mind on this to see what comes from ongoing research and presentations from both evolutionists and creationists.

The most recent estimates I’ve seen about the time frame for the Chimpanzee-human last common ancestor (CHLCA) is 5-7 million years ago. I seem to remember during my investigation of evolution while still an atheist that the time frame was somewhere between 20 and 30 million years ago, so genetics research has cut that time significantly. However, I haven’t seen any evidence of what that CHLCA was and how long it existed from whatever it evolved from. Shouldn’t there be a mountain of evidence given the theory that these creatures existed for many millions of years? And what about whatever type of creature they evolved from? Where are the trillions of skeletons that should be easily found all over the earth that would prove conclusively that chimps and humans came from a common ancestor? That is one of the questions I asked during my investigation as an atheist. Where are the bones?

Where are the evidences of human-like creatures from millions of years of living? Millions of years should have brought trillions of human-like creatures into the world. Where did they live? How did they live? Did their living leave any evidence trails researchers can find and follow? Given that macro-evolution is supposed to have taken many millions of years and just the last 5,000 years have produced many billions of humans with great mounds of evidence of their living, I would think that millions and millions of years would have produced trillions and trillions of human-like creatures with even greater evidence of their living than what has been proven from just 5,000 years of recent history.

It’s interesting with the millions and millions of years of theorized macro-evolution that humans began writing only thousands of years ago instead of millions of years ago. Some of that writing from 5,000 years ago demonstrates intelligence, knowledge and cleverness at a high level. That includes cave drawings. I don’t draw as well as they did. Why haven’t we found writings, crude as they may have been, from millions of years ago? or even hundreds of thousands of years ago? If evolution is true, shouldn’t there be proof of life prior to several thousand years ago? And by proof, I mean proof of evolved writing, evolved tool making, evolved community, evolved clothes making, evolved pottery making, etc. Archaeologists get so excited when they find a buried village dating several thousand years ago because they can follow the transitions of living from one century to another to another to another. Why aren’t archaeologists finding thousands and thousands, maybe even millions of villages with proof of human-like creatures living, eating, building, hunting, planting, harvesting? With all the digging archaeologists have done for hundreds of years, why is there no proof of life prior to thousands of years ago? Where is the proof of life from millions of years ago? Where’s the evidence?

There are too many unanswered questions and too many unproven claims about evolution for me to believe it any longer. That’s why I left that theory behind more than 40 years ago and nothing I’ve seen yet has turned me back to it.”

I don’t think for a minute that the debate is finished for one side or the other. I do think it’s important as Christians who believe that God created the heavens and the earth and all living things to stay informed and vigilant in the battle for truth. True science (science which is settled as true) will not be in opposition to biblical truth and biblical truth will not be in opposition to true science.

As the Apostle Paul wrote almost 2,000 years ago – “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.” 1 Timothy 6:20-21

Faith&SelfDefense

Advertisements

Single Post Navigation

18 thoughts on “Of Mice and Men, Kangaroos and Chimps

  1. Atomic Mutant,

    You are such a wonderful source of amusement it’s hard to know where to start in refuting your arguments, so let’s just grab a few at random.

    First, assertion is not a sound from of argumentation, so it would be wise to cease using it. Simply asseriting someone does not understand the subject does nothing to support your position. Besides, how do you know how well someone does or does not understand the subject? Simply because he does not agree with you does not equate with ignorance of the subject. In fact, it has been my experience that the one who resorts to saying their opponent does not understand the subject is demonstrating clear proof it is they who does not understand of what they speak.

    Secondly, how does a court ruling disprove the truth of Intelligent Design or Creation? Why do those who adhere to evolution always bring up court cases as though they somehow prove the truth of evolution? Please, inform us how court decisions determine scientific fact.

    As for your appeal to ‘real experts’ have you not heard of the No True Scotsman Fallacy? You imply the only ‘real experts’ on the subject of evolution are those that agree with you. Seriously wrong. And please, do not respond by using the fallacy of appealing to the majority.

    Your criticism of Newton is also very laughable. It’s a very good idea when getting into these types of discussions to understand history. Yes, Newton was an alchemist. So too were many of his contemporaries, due to the fact that at the time alchemy was seen as a legitimate form of scientific investigation.

    So in short, it would be wise to take your own advice and take a little time to research the subject at hand.

    Gerry

  2. Chavoux on said:

    There is no such thing as “good people”. If you do evil, you are no longer “good” per definition.

  3. Let’s start out easy: I have not once heard an atheists say that evolution is proof that god does not exist. First of all, because most atheists I know understand what the word “proof” means and thus talk about “evidence” and second because it simply doesn’t.

    Evolution does not have anything to do with god. Creationism tries to put up some strange version of god that isn’t compatible with evolution, true, but that’s not a religious problem. Many Christians have no problem accepting evolution and simply believe that god, instead of, in a child-like manual way, creating every animal by hand, simply started everything, knowing how it would turn out without him having to interfere in every step. The advantage of that belief is, that it doesn’t try to contradict reality (at least, not at the moment). Creationism does.

    And let’s face it: You may have been an atheist, but only in a very lazy, don’t-know-what-I-want fashion. You obviously have not been an informed atheist, having weighted the different arguments against each other, searched for evidence, etc. You lacked faith, possible. And no, you were no evolutionist, because if you had understand evolution, you wouldn’t have become a creationist (and everything you write proves beyond reasonable doubt that you understood nothing). You never asked question, so so didn’t understand it but simply accepted it. So, you were a kind of no-faith-guy who didn’t understand evolution and now you found faith – and still don’t understand evolution, which lead to creationism.

    What do you expect? Being taken seriously by thinking a two thousand year old book taken literally in one random fashion (ignoring parts you don’t like) somehow supersedes reality, fact and evidence? Sorry, no.

    And again you start with “prove” and show, that you don’t even understand the basics. Science is not about proofs. It’s about evidence. And then the irony in which you somehow think, that the fact that science learns and gets better all the time somehow makes it worse than a religion that claims to be unchangeable (but changes, secretly, without admitting it, over time). 20 year old science books are not completely wrong, we just now know more and thus have improved our knowledge. Look at gravity: Of course today there are even better explanations than Newton’s Laws – but those Law’s are not wrong, they are good enough for many things, just when reaching the speed of light, you need a better way because there Newton’s laws are not good enough. And that’s science. You get better. You learn even more.
    The simple fact, that you do not understand that, is enough to show that you have no clue what science it and proves the claim that you have been an evolutionist a lie. You were nothing. You accepted what was presented to you, but because you never asked, never understood, you never were anything. And this lack of understand now brings you here, posting nonsense on the internet.

    Please, before embarrassing yourself any more. Read up what science does. Read up what proofs are. Read up what evidence is. THEN you can start thinking for yourself instead of bullshitting yourself into believing that you already know anything.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_common_descent

    I know my reply is pretty pointless. It won’t get you starting to think. You are a lost cause. Your existence will end one day and you will never know that you have wasted your mind. I pity you.

    • Hi, Atomic. Thank you for commenting. Let me respond first with points of agreement.

      I agree that “many Christians have no problem accepting evolution.” I disagree with what they believe about evolution. Their beliefs often cause problems with what the Bible teaches about Jesus Christ, salvation and other key doctrines of Christianity.

      I agree that evolution is not proof that God does not exist.

      I agree that evolution does not have anything to do with God.

      I agree that science is not about proofs. It’s about evidence.

      I agree that 20-year-old science books are not completely wrong. Scientists do know more now and have improved our knowledge about the natural world. What scientists know continues to grow and change. Things scientists were positive about years ago are things scientists no longer believe. That’s the nature of science and the science of nature.

      I agree that I am “a lost cause” – to atheism.

      Next, let me respond with points of disagreement.

      I disagree that atheists do not say that evolution is proof that God does not exist. They’ve said it to me and other people who believe God created the heavens and the earth. My primary point with them has been that “proof” does not exist in science. It does in mathematics and logic, but not in science. Evolution should be understood as a scientific theory, even as creationism should be understood as a scientific theory. The question then becomes evaluation of evidence. That’s what I’m interested in seeing – evidence. Evidence builds confidence in what one believes.

      I disagree that I was a “very lazy, don’t-know-what-I-want” type of atheist. I worked very hard at being informed and involved. I was an atheist long before the Internet, so radio shows and public speaking were primary avenues for me to impact the thinking of people as an atheist. As a radio talk show host and producer for other talk show hosts, I worked hard to get leading atheists on our shows to explain why atheism was the best of many worldviews.

      I disagree that I was not an evolutionist. I was a product of the public school system. I accepted evolution as a scientific fact, even though it is really just a theory.

      I disagree that I never asked questions. I asked questions of teachers and professors to better understand the science behind evolutionism. I asked questions of evolutionists and creationists when I was investigating whether God existed.

      I disagree that I didn’t understand evolution, “which led to creationism.” I already believed in evolution, so I compared what I knew against what information creationism offered. I re-read evolutionary text books and other writings to help during my investigation.

      I disagree that I didn’t weigh the different arguments against each other and search for evidence. I’m still weighing arguments against each other and searching for evidence.

      I disagree that I take an ancient Book literally in one random fashion ignoring parts I don’t like, superseding reality, fact and evidence. I embrace reality, facts and evidence. What I don’t embrace are a variety of theories about the same thing. I look at reality, facts and evidence and compare them to various theories about the same thing, then decide which theory seems best.

      I disagree that I have “no clue what science is.” The word science comes from a Latin word that means “knowledge.” Science is knowledge attained through study by using the process of observation and experimentation. Science investigates the natural world to explain natural phenomena. The difficulty with both evolution and creation is that neither can be observed and tested. That’s why both are theories and not settled science. We use the best evidence available and do our best to understand processes which cannot be viewed in real time.

      I disagree that I am a liar. I’m simply writing about my life and what I’ve learned.

      I disagree that I am posting nonsense on the Internet. Many atheists who become Christians would agree that we are not posting nonsense. We know we’re posting information not to the liking of atheists, but that does not make the postings nonsense. Nonsense is spoken or written words that have no meaning or make no sense. People who read our writings and hear us speak understand what we mean. They comprehend the sense of what we’re writing or saying. They may not agree with what we write or say, but they do understand it.

      I disagree that your reply to me is pointless. Every reply causes me to think more about the important issues that stand between us. If I do not agree with everything you write or say or think the way you want me to think, that does not mean your words to me are pointless. I hope that my response to your comments are not pointless to you. I think that is an important part of being fellow human beings in the world – a sense of mutual respect.

      I disagree that my existence will end one day and I will never know that I have wasted my mind. I believe we will all live forever and that decisions made during this lifetime will impact our eternal future.

      I will admit this – if you are right and I am wrong, you are correct to say that I will never know it. However, if you are wrong and I am right, you will know it for eternity. I don’t mean that in an insulting, judgmental, condemning way at all. I only say that because it is true. We look at evidence and make decisions based on that evidence until we take our last breath. Here’s to making the right decision.

      Again, thank you for writing to me. I hope my response will help answer questions you have about me and what I believed as an atheist and what I believe now as a theist.

      Mark

    • To make it short… Sorry, but I don’t believe you. You claim to have informed yourself, but you call Creationism a science, when even courts have shown that ID is just religion trying to masquerade as science (courts are not really important for science, but we do not need to ask what scientists think about ID, because the answer is even more obvious). You call it evolutionism, just to make it an “ism” – ok, at least you don’t call it Darwinism, so you could probably still do worse. Comparing Evolution to Creationism is like looking at a skypscraper and a heap of sand, hammered into a crude form by a child and claim that both are architecture and should be considered equal. You are claiming that you know what science is, but you repeat the old “just a theory” bullshit, implying that it’s just some random idea and not a scientific theory (which is not the same “theory”, used in every day language) that has a ton of evidence behind it (and has been used countless times to understand, predict and manipulate living beings), while Creationism is just the idea (coming from the totally wrong direction by defining what it wants to be true, trying to prove it, instead of taking reality as it is and try to explain that) that has been shown to be nonsense again and again and again (the only thing that may keep Creationism from being PROVEN wrong is it’s non-falsifiable nature). So, sorry, no, I do not believe you. I believe that you think otherwise, true, but I think you are very, very wrong there.

      I have respect for you as a human being, why should I not? But what I don’t respect is your opinion about science. It’s not just “another opinion”, sorry, it’s 100% pure bullshit. And I feel as much need to respect that as a child’s opinion about science. But with a child, I have hopes that it will learn – unless some Creationist succeeds bringing his nonsense into our schools. I know this may sound really hard – it is, actually, but honestly, I don’t have strong feelings about you as a person. I think you are misguided and I don’t think that you will learn, but I really don’t hate you or something like that. I don’t even dislike you, as I don’t think that you are doing what you do because you are a bad person. What you are doing is horrible. It’s wrong and, honestly, if you ask me, it’s evil. It’s killing our children’s future for the sake of your imaginary friend. But I don’t think that you are evil. If it was only your personal belief, I wouldn’t care. Another guy who doesn’t know better. But you and your friends are trying to kill science. You are trying make our children dumber. And this is, why I will not shut up. I respect your right to believe whatever you want. But I don’t respect your wish to force your nonsense onto innocent children who need the truth (which includes explaining them how science works and why it’s not absolute) and not mythology disguised as science.

    • You don’t believe me, think I am evil, misguided and will not learn, and don’t respect my opinion. Is that correct? I don’t sense a mutual respect on your part, which would be helpful to discuss the science involved. Let me know if you think differently because I would be glad to move into more substantive discussions.

      Thanks!

      Mark

    • There is no science involved from your part and I refuse to buy into your delusion of there being one, sorry. As soon as you bring science to the table, we can start discussing it, but as long as you just have religion and mythology disguised as science, we have not really something to discuss substantially. I have shown you many points to think about and you chose to ignore them – a very typical reaction, but not one that somehow changes my opinion that there is any chance for anything meaningful coming out of a discussion at the moment – which is kind of sad, but not unexpected.

      But just for the sake of completeness: No, I don’t think that you are evil. Your support of Creationism is, if you ask me, evil, but I doubt that you do realize that or that you do it, because you are evil. Someone once said… “Evil people will always do evil things… But for good people to do evil things, you need religion.” I don’t think that this is true (I think, you simply need a cause that is taken more seriously than your fellow humans, which doesn’t have to be religion – but religion often is), but I agree, that good people CAN do evil things.

    • Am I correct that you won’t discuss science with me unless I agree with your personal interpretation of the scientific evidence prior to discussing the evidence? That doesn’t sound scientific. Scientific evidence is often debated within the scientific community and interpretations sometimes differ. What keeps you from discussing science with someone who looks at the same data and has a different interpretation of the findings? Why is that not within the framework of the scientific method?

    • I know that to you it doesn’t sound scientific. That’s because you don’t know what science is and somehow believe that Creationism has something to do with it. That is not my opinion. It’s the opinion of the overwhelming majority of the scientific world. It’s not some atheists who claim it, it’s simply scientists. You are not playing the same game. You are playing mythology and religion, but not science.

      Creationism has been shown to not be science so often, it takes a very special type of person to not accept that. Claiming that there is no evidence for evolution, for example, is like standing in the rainstorm and claiming that there is no evidence that you are getting wet.

      Every time creationism has tries to force it’s way into being accepted as science it has been proven unscientific. Every. Time. Even in court creationism has no real chance, because in the end, disguising oneself as scientist doesn’t help in the long run.

      So, NO it is NOT the scientific way to discuss things that are inherently unscientific.

    • Thank you for your response. If you change your mind, I’d be glad to talk with you in the future.

      Mark

    • As long as you don’t start to acknowledge what science IS, it would be a waste of time, I’m afraid.

    • Chavoux on said:

      So in you opinion neither Blaise Pascal nor Isaac Newton were scientists? They were both creationists…
      Since you know so well what is science and what not, what is YOUR definition of science? While I am personally not convinced by the the whole creationist theory, the way to refute them is not to simply claim that it is not scientific, but to engage their claims using the actual facts. Or are the “facts” of evolution really too flimsy to withstand sceptical enquiry?
      My biggest issue with the current creationist faction is that they spend too much time poking holes in the theory of evolution and too little time presenting a fully developed, scientifically testable alternative. But that doesn’t mean that their criticisms of evolution (some mentioned in this article) are invalid or “unscientific” (if the claim is made without any real facts to back it up).

    • Newton was also an alchemist. Is Alchemy science? So what? Being right in one topic doesn’t make you right in all others – neither then nor today.

      And sorry, if you base your opinion about what science is and what not on the ramblings of one random guy in the internet… (even if that’s was some really nice, fabulous guy… instead of just me)… No, simply don’t do it. Please. Read it up. Start with wikipedia, go through the references. Read the books, read the articles written by actual scientists, etc.etc. Do not listen to me. Listen to the real experts. Please.

      Same thing with evolution: If you believe that some random guy can poke holes into a scientific theory that neither you nor him fully understand, you will always be baffled. Instead, read the books. Listen to the real experts. Even sources like rationalwiki will offer you a huge mass or replies for the typical creationists “problems”.
      Do NOT think that you understand it enough that you can judge a valid SOUNDING argument if you have no clue about the topic. Instead you HAVE to rely on experts. And these experts are biologists, not right-wing pastors.

    • Chavoux on said:

      In this case it just so happens that I am a biologist. I have learned everything they taught us in the handbooks about evolution… and read up a lot more. I do not need to rely on right-wing pastors. And neither do I consider rationalwiki (or even Wikipedia for most things) as a reliable source.

      In biology (and science in general) you do not rely on the experts: you design your own experiments and do your own research to either confirm or deny what the experts teach. My point about Pascal and Newton is simply that creationist leanings does not automatically disqualify somebody from understanding science (which you seem to imply). Yes, many “creationists” give their opinions about science without understanding it, but the number of atheists using evolutionary theory as an argument without understanding it, easily outstrip them in numbers. How many of the juries and judges that decided that “creationism is not science”, truly understood both evolution and the nature of science?

      I am not saying that creationism (as currently propagated) is without its problems, but just saying that these problems should be pointed out rather than just saying “it is not scientific” and “you should rely on the experts” (two common logical errors: poisoning the well and appeal to authority). As you pointed out, the fact that Newton was a creationist does not make it true (any more than alchemy), but neither are creationists claiming that it is true just because they believe it. It is not the person making the claim that matters, but the facts and the logic that they use.

    • When DOING science, you don’t rely on experts – true. When trying to understand a science where you are not an expert in (which would take years and is, for most topics, not really viable for just forming a basic opinion) you have to, because it’s an illusion to believe that you can read a little bit and then form an “informed” opinion. As long as you are not an expert, the difference between a good argument and an bad argument that sounds good is very hard to spot.

      Anyway, appeals to authority are not fallacies automatically. If someone actually IS an expert on a topic about which some kind of consensus among experts exists, it’s ok to do so (and no, a Creationist don’t count as experts on biology, as the consensus there is, that Creationism is not a science).

      In any case, feel free to point out all the shortcomings of creationism. I will simply point to sources that to that better than me, simply because I am not an expert.

    • Journalists interview “experts” in a number of fields to get all sides of an issue in order to write and present a news report that is accurate and fair. We have many ways of determining whether people qualify as an expert in a particular field and include those qualifications in our reports to help viewers/listeners/readers know the source of the “expert information.”

      What criteria do you use to determine whether someone qualifies as an “expert” in a particular science discipline? Does their personal belief or disbelief in God or gods affect, in your opinion, whether they are an expert in their field of scientific study? If so, why? If not, why not?

    • If a journalist interviews one scientist and one expert in fairylogy, where the scientist says “There is not one piece of evidence for fairies, so don’t see any need to assume, until we see some evidence, that fairies exist” and the other guy claims that in some book, some other guy tells that blue fairies are good and red fairies are evil… Is this an “accurate and fair” report? Of course not, it’s giving bullshit too much air. On the one side is science. Everyone can call himself an expert, if his area of expertise is bullshit.

      So, how to determine? First, make sure it IS science, first. After you got that, you only have to ask the people doing it, look who are the people most often quoted, etc.etc. As Creationism fails already with the first step, experts on Creationism are as important for an accurate and fair report about science as experts on unicornolgy.

    • Let me approach this subject from another side so that we’re comparing apples to apples.

      I covered NASA and space engineering for many years, interviewing hundreds of government scientists, engineers, astronauts. private contractors, scientific consultants and university professors. The subject of each story dictated who I would contact for interviews. NASA, private contractors and local universities helped me find qualified people to talk to about each story. Most of the people I interviewed held doctorates in one or more science disciplines. Their education and work experience were part of meeting that criteria. I also read thousands of pages from articles they had written on a variety of scientific topics related to the space program. I got to know many of them well through more than a decade of covering NASA and space news, but their beliefs about matters outside of their scientific expertise were usually not relevant to the interview. What I wanted to know as a journalist, and what viewers wanted to know as citizens paying taxes for the U.S. space program, was what each scientist could tell us about the issues involved in each story.

      That’s how most journalists cover science stories. There are a small number of journalists who are degreed in science disciplines, but most journalists are trained and experienced in journalism and mass communications. We need to talk with many skilled scientists who are qualified in the disciplines that are involved in the story we’re covering to help us understand how to report the facts and how those facts impacted the space program.

      The journalistic method should not change whether the journalist is an atheist, agnostic, theist, polytheist, pantheist or animist. The journalistic method follows a strict set of guidelines to get to the truth of each story whether the journey or outcome is to the agreement or liking of the journalist covering the story.

      Continuing with the apples-to-apples comparison, imagine that we have four scientists who all have doctorates in biochemistry from Harvard University’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. You and I jointly interview all four scientists and ask them identical questions about issues relating to the chemical origins and development of life. As we go through the answers of each of the four scientists, we find that two of them do not believe in God and believe in evolution and two of them do believe in God and creation. Apples to apples, how would you weigh the evidence of each scientist? Would it be based on their views of science or theology?

%d bloggers like this: