THIS is the latest in our “Stupid Driven” series, in which we offer disconnected observations we’ve made while reporting on The Controversy between evolution and creationism. These pearls are sometimes taken from our earlier articles, but all of them were inspired by reading and analyzing the “work” of creationists.
You can often spot a cultist by his jargon. They usually refer to others by using some insiders’ term that means “not like us.” We noticed an example in this article from Alabama’s Mobile Press-Register: Well-known evolution defender to make his argument at UAB. The title alone is sufficient, but one brief excerpt will further illustrate our point. We’ll use bold to emphasize the jargon:
Author and renowned evolution defender Kenneth R. Miller will see how his message plays in the Bible Belt when he presents the lecture “Darwin, God, & Design: America’s Continuing Problem With Evolution” Nov. 5 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
That’s analogous to calling a physics professor a “gravity defender,” or a medical school professor a “germ theory defender.”
When a creationist babbles about “the odds” against life, or DNA, or any complex structure appearing as a result of “random” forces, that’s their ever-popular strawman — the Theory of Spontaneous Assembly of Very Complex Molecules from Start to Finish from Utterly Isolated Atoms — commonly known as TSAVCMSFUIA.
A creationist asserts that because everything needs a cause, logic requires us to believe that his magical Designer must have initially caused things to happen. But he then insists that his Designer needs no cause, and he brushes aside the glaring inconsistency by deploying his all-purpose contradiction nullifier: Ah, but that’s different!
If ignorance had mass, the Discovery Institute would be a black hole.
Most kook arguments — including creationism but also many political claims — fail to cross the threshold of the arena for rational discourse. The rational mind blocks out trash by imposing a burden of proof on all claims, which has two stages: (a) The one who raises an issue has the initial burden of coming forward with credible (i.e., objectively verifiable) evidence that actually supports his claim; and (b) if he accomplishes that and gets into the arena, he has the far greater burden of producing sufficient persuasive evidence to make a convincing argument. But creationists — and ideologically-motivated kooks in general — never get past the first step.
Why do you debate with creationists? Do you argue with squeegee men at intersections? Obscenity-spouting winos staggering down the street? Dumpster divers? Napoleons in mental wards?
Getting science information from a creationist website is like getting a recipe from Jeffrey Dahmer’s cookbook.
There are at least three issues to be dealt with in arguing that ours is a designed universe: (1) One way to determine if the fundamental laws of the universe were designed would be to compare them with those in some other universe that isn’t designed, which we cannot do. (2) If everything within the universe were designed, there would be no way to determine this, as there would be nothing un-designed to use for comparison. (3) Finally, even if this universe were designed, it behaves in every particular as if it were the result of natural causes, so the issue of design is utterly irrelevant.
When your highest source of knowledge comes from your inner feelings, what have you got? Can this “information” take us to the moon? Cure cancer? Build better computers? What does it do, except give you the warm, cozy feeling that you “know” something?
[Next in this series: Part V.]
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