Answers in Genesis: The Slime Cube

YES, our title seems like an all-too-easy play on the famous Time Cube website, but by the time you’ve finished reading this post we think you’ll agree that it’s appropriate.

You all know Answers in Genesis (AIG). They purport to be a deeply religious, highly moral, young-earth creationist enterprise staffed by diligent creation scientists. In a desperate attempt to appear credible, they have a clever feature — a small list of Arguments that should never be used.

On that page, AIG lists a few of the absolute worst, and most easily debunked creationist arguments. We’ve written about it before. See Creationist Wisdom #129: Bad Arguments Rejected!

But their little list is a meaningless gesture. While they make a shabby show of intellectual integrity by casting aside some of the worst of the creationist canards, the rest of their website promotes all the other nonsensical notions that make up the “science” of creationism. Watching them hide behind their list is rather like watching King Kong wearing the Lone Ranger’s mask and imagining that he can’t be recognized.

As long as AIG promotes young-earth creationism as science, they can’t fool anyone into thinking they’re a a serious and scholarly outfit merely because they reject a handful of idiotic arguments — certainly not when, at the same time, they’re clinging to and promoting so many other idiotic arguments. Their little list of lies they won’t use is a pathetically ineffective gesture, given the immense quantity of lies they routinely do use.

Today they’re playing with their little list again. Check out this new article at their website: Didn’t Darwin Call the Evolution of the Eye Absurd?

We find this one especially interesting because AIG used that very argument about Darwin and the eye less than five months ago. We wrote about it here: Answers in Genesis: Shameless Chicanery.

Now — at least for the moment — AIG is apparently abandoning the “eye” argument. Here are some excerpts from their article, with bold added by us:

Many people today insist that even Charles Darwin did not really believe his own ideas about evolution. They claim that he saw many flaws in the idea of natural selection as the agent of evolution, and that in his writings he expressed these misgivings. Some even claim that Darwin’s own words show he ultimately abandoned his belief in evolution. This is plainly not the case.

Yes, whenever we see creationists purporting to quote Darwin’s own words as “evidence” against Darwin’s theory, it’s an absolutely perfect indication that they’re either crazy or else shamelessly quote-mining. Let’s read on:

One very frequent “evidence” used to show that Darwin did not believe his own theory involved the human eye. In The Origin of Species, we read:

[Quoting Darwin:] To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.”

That’s the quote they all use — including AIG. It’s the way Darwin starts his section on explaining eye evolution. Now what? Are they finally going to give it up? We continue:

If our reading stopped here, then yes, we might argue Darwin had given up on his theory. However, reading further we find the following:

Amazing! It only took 150 years, but they actually got around to reading Darwin’s next paragraph. But how should we react when a creationist — after generations of error — finally figures out one obvious fact about which they’ve been wrong? We can’t really rejoice, because at this rate the sun will burn out before they’ll make any serious progress. Well, let’s at least give them credit where it’s due, right?

Here’s how they quote Darwin’s next paragraph, and we’ll put some of it in red for a reason which will soon be explained:

When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei, as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certainly the case …

That first sentence — the one we put in red — isn’t in the first edition of Origin of Species, it shows up in the 6th. We hadn’t seen it before, but Darwin was right to add it because it improves his argument. The “common sense” method of thinking — used for millennia to support the geocentric view of the universe — was eventually proved to be unreliable. Moving along in the AIG article:

Now we see, by reading Darwin’s entire statement in context, that he in no way abandoned his theory. He did, indeed, indicate that the evolution of the eye was “absurd.” Nonetheless, his “reason” led him to accept that this “absurd” thing could actually occur by means of natural selection.

Aaaargh!! Those people are bathing in their own vomit — and loving it. Even while rejecting a bad creationist argument they can’t resist lying about Darwin’s work. Here are a few more excerpts from their article:

Darwin indicated that even though he was troubled by this concept, his “reason” would prevail. … His presupposition that evolution was true, led him to believe that the increasing complexity of the eye was due to natural selection, and he left it at that. … Darwin did describe the concept of human eye evolution as seemingly “absurd,” but his worldview caused him to accept natural selection as an adequate explanation.

Then — to no one’s surprise — they cite some of their own essays which claim that the evolution of the eye really is impossible — so they’re not conceding that at all. Well, what are they conceding? Their final sentence tells us:

Did the eye cause Darwin to doubt evolution? No, it didn’t. The “doubtful Darwin” is another argument Christians should not use.

So there you are, dear reader. If you didn’t already have good reason to be contemptuous of AIG and all its works, now you do. After this, there are no excuses. There really never were any.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

4 responses to “Answers in Genesis: The Slime Cube

  1. SC – the section in red is in the 6th edition. I don’t know in which edition it first appeared.

    The rest of your post is spot on. It’s incredible how anyone could read that passage and get “presupposition” out of it. Its very obviously a rhetorical preamble, the author’s way of telling the reader he’s about to explain something to them they might otherwise disbelieve. AIG, in fact, uses the the same rhetorical device. That first blue section (the one above “Evidence”) is basically the same structure.

  2. eric says: “SC – the section in red is in the 6th edition.”

    Hey, you’re right! Thanks. I’ll fix up the post.

  3. as is certainly the case …

    Something tells me that those three dots start where Darwin was about to show “numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect … each grade being useful to its possessor.”

    I might be wrong though.

  4. Oh but this “concession” is mere weaselling. They actually use this quote a lot to demonstrate, not that Darwin doubted evolution, but that Darwin noted such a big problem with his theory himself.

    Same they do with the starting words in that chapter about fossils (“… the fossil record should be filled with gradations …”). They mention only the caveat. “Darwin himself said that the fossil record should contain innumerable transitional forms, and there is none! Darwin recognized that unless these fossils were found his theory was invalid!” But they never mention that Darwin gave an explanation to the problem, and why it was irrelevant …

    So, here they are hypocritically saying that this should not be used to say that darwin doubted evolution. Nothing about not using it to say that Darwin recognized a big problem still to solve …

    Weasel is definitively in their DNA.