If you’ve never visited the Answers in Genesis website, don’t worry. You’ve missed little.
But this little gem caught my eye. Apparently, a creation believer wrote in to their feedback asking a rational question: why is it whenever I repeat one of the “facts” I learn in creationist literature in internet forums do I get my ass handed to me.
Okay. I’m paraphrasing a bit. But the question is basically saying just that. The person writing in to AiG was specifically concerned with the creationist claim that mutations are not beneficial and do not add information to an organism. The person was also upset that his/her son wrote a paper for school, which was criticized by the son’s geology teacher as “full of inaccuracies.” And the answer provided by this creationist nut site is very telling. Their response was to say the following:
1) people interpret evidence based on presuppositions
2) historical sciences cannot be tested or shown to be repeatable
3) the sciences that give us MRIs, planes, and vaccines are “here and now” sciences
4) historical sciences are laden with “presuppositions” but not “here and now” sciences
5) natural selection provides no new information
6) thus, evolution, is not supported by science
Here’s my comments to these points:
1) The first point is interesting. AiG concedes that bias and preconceived conclusions cloud rational thought and the ability to evaluate evidence. The difference between creationists and those that embrace science over superstition is that they’re open to being swayed by evidence. Creationists are concerned only with that evidence that supports their conclusions. After all, the Bible says its true, and the Bible is right because it’s God’s word, which we know because the Bible says it’s so. Therefore, any evidence obtained through observation and testable hypotheses must be mis-interpreted by mere mortals who call themselves scientists. Indeed, the superstitious will simply toss out such evidence, dismissing it out of hand. And this isn’t a trait found only among creationists. Superstitious people the world over exhibit the same type of behavior whether they be the Fulani of West Africa or the pitcher of a major league baseball team.
2) And this brings us to the second point that evolution cannot be tested or repeatable. In fact, it’s no unimportant fact that AiG specifically mentiones “historical science” as being without any testable or repeatable properties. This, by default, would include their own “creation science,” which is, by their definition, “historical.” Creationists consistently use this fallacy but I think its due to ignorance more than deceit. They simply have a low grasp of how science works and have already separated so-called “historical sciences” from the rest of science.
Geologists, archaeologists, paleontologists, biologists, chemists, geneticists and so on all work with scientific principles and methods and they are each sciences that explore evolution. The most obvious historical science among them is, perhaps, archaeology and it is replete with testable and repeatable science. If not, much of what we know about ancient cultures would be non-existant. Luckily, there are more questions than answers in every science (otherwise science would be boring), but no scientist is sure he has all the answers. The superstitious, however, begin their day with a belief that they already have an answer and if science comes along and challenges that belief then it obviously must be wrong. Testing evolution happens all the time and a simple example is the prediction that reptile arms when seriated in the fossil record shows a steady progression from arm-like to wing-like. Which is what we see. Moreover, the prediction can be made that we will not find wings where they shouldn’t be (potential falsification) such as on oysters or horses. Nor would you see arms where they shouldn’t be, such as a bird with both wings and arms. And these predictions (tests) are reproducible time and again (repeatable).
3) While there are some different methods utilized by different sciences (archaeology might employ different methods of science than astronomy), in general, they are all performing science -that is to say, they all value rational observation of the natural world and do not entertain superstitious and supernatural explanations. So the MRIs, planes and vaccines that creationists are so fond of were developed by the same sort of science used in biology, geology, chemistry, and astronomy. Indeed, some of the exact same principles are involved.
4) Therefore, “historical sciences” are no more subject to “presuppositions” than any other science if the scientist is willing to accept evidence, test hypotheses, and accept that falsification is possible. The “presuppositions” (a.k.a. preconceived conclusions) exist nearly exclusively with the superstitious who aren’t willing to re-evaluate their beliefs in the face of evidence. Mountains upon mountains of it.
5) This completely unfounded and unscientific claim has been busted time and again. So much that there simply isn’t reason to do more than provide a few links:
Apolipoprotein AI Mutations and Information
The Nylon Bug
Are Mutations Harmful?
6) Evolution is almost entirely comprised of science. To say otherwise is to reveal ignorance, a failed education, deceit, or a fear of learning the truth.