Creative Challenge #22: Killer Question

The curious absence of creationism from the news requires that we present you with another Creative Challenge. This one is similar to a few previous challenges, including:

Challenge #19, in which we asked: What one fact, or what one zinger of a question, would you present to a creationist?

Challenge #16, which showed up as Creationist Wisdom #523, in which we asked: What can be said (in a paragraph or less) to change the mind of a creationist who claims that all the evidence of evolution is better explained by a miracle?

We’ve also asked the opposite side of the question. In Challenge #7, in which we asked: Credible evidence for the intelligent designer’s existence would be: _________.

You know that we are opposed to debates (or even conversations) with creationists, because Debating Creationists is Dumber Than Creationism. And we’ve advised against single-fact arguments, because there is no one piece of evidence that “proves” the theory of evolution. — see Where’s the Proof — Evolution’s “Smoking Gun”?

Nevertheless, we can’t help wondering: If you were asked for help by someone who had agreed to debate a creationist, although you know that professional creationists are adept at sliming their way out of any logical contradiction, what one killer question would you suggest that he ask his drooling opponent, or what one undeniable fact should he use to confront his opponent?

Note — we’ve previously proposed A Few Questions for Creationists, and then A Few More Questions for Creationists. Those two posts and the comments to our previous challenges offer useful suggestions, and it’s okay if you repeat the best of that stuff, but we’re hoping you can come up with a new killer question or verifiable fact that would — or should — stop a creationist cold.

The form of today’s challenge is that you must tell us, with reasonable brevity:

What one fact, or what one killer question, would totally confound a creationist?

You know the rules: A successful entry should be self-explanatory. You may enter the contest as many times as you wish, but you must avoid profanity, vulgarity, childish anatomical analogies, etc. Also, avoid slanderous statements about individuals. Feel free to comment on the entries submitted by others — with praise, criticism, or whatever — but you must do so tastefully.

There may not be a winner of this contest, but if there is, your Curmudgeon will decide, and whenever we get around to it we’ll announce who the winner is. There is no tangible prize — as always in life’s great challenges, the accomplishment is its own reward. We now throw open the comments section, dear reader. Go for it!

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27 responses to “Creative Challenge #22: Killer Question

  1. davebookcampdirector

    I would ask a Creationist why their creation “scientists” never do any original research? Why is all of their written work based on the research done by evolutionary scientist?

    I also would ask why they never do field work. If they want to prove evolution is not true, why don’t they go out and find on carnivorous dinosaur fossil with the remains of a modern deer or bison in its belly? There are fossils with evidence of T-Rex teeth marks on vertebrae. Find one mammoth, mastodon, giant sloth fossil with evidence a dinosaur gnawed on its carcass. Or vice versa, a dinosaur fossil bone with the marks of a saber-toothed cat, terror bird or even a modern bear.

  2. Eddie Janssen

    Humans are only found in the upper layers of the geological record because during the Flood hey were smarter than other animals and could run for the hills.
    I always wondered what happened to the people who died and were buried just before the Flood.

  3. @Eddie Janssen

    An excellent point!

  4. Humans are only found in the upper layers of the geological record because during the Flood hey were smarter than other animals and could run for the hills.

    Um … how did grass outrun velociraptors?

  5. “Were you there?”

  6. Charles Deetz ;)

    Deetz: So, you believe in intelligent design, right?
    IDer: Yep
    Deetz: What were the first designs created?
    IDer: Sure, the Cambrian Explosion
    Deetz: And the stuff before that
    IDer: Yea, well that too.
    Deetz: What about new species since the Cambrian?
    IDer: That too, of course.
    Deetz: Wouldn’t it be sufficient for the creator to just make DNA and let nature take over?
    IDer: That sounds a lot like evolution, so NO.
    Deetz: So creation of DNA up thru Cambrian, and to any further species?
    IDer: I guess so.
    Deetz: Any science to back that up?
    IDer: Umm. It would be impossible otherwise?
    Deetz: You’ve got nothing, don’t you?
    IDer: Sigh. Ten to a squillion odds! God did it. Ugh, did I say that? I didn’t mean that.

  7. Here’s my own question, which I wish Bill Nye had asked ol’ Hambo:

    If you believe: (1) the theory of evolution is false; (2) there are no transitional fossils; (3) the Earth is only 6,000 years old; (4) the fossil record supports the Flood; (5) radiometric methods of dating rock strata are useless; and (6) rock strata are arbitrarily dated so that fossils will appear to be in the sequence desired by evolutionists, then how did Neil Shubin and his group rely on allegedly false ideas and: (a) predict that a transitional species between fish and land-based tetrapods must have existed; (b) determine from the then-existing fossil record the approximate time when such a species must have existed; (c) rely on geologists who recommended a rock formation of the appropriate age on Ellesmere Island; and (d) find Tiktaalik — the transitional fossil they were looking for — in the rock stratum recommended by the geologists?

  8. I’m not sure why it would be curious that Creationist Inc. would take August off. The lobby arm doesn’t need to work because this is also when most legislatures are out for summer vacation. The propoganda arm doesn’t need to work because let’s face it there is very little imposition in them NOT working. It isn’t like any of them are essential personnel .

  9. @SC

    If you believe: (1) the theory of evolution is false; (2) there are no transitional fossils; (3) the Earth is only 6,000 years old; (4) the fossil record supports the Flood; (5) radiometric methods of dating rock strata are useless; and (6) rock strata are arbitrarily dated so that fossils will appear to be in the sequence desired by evlutionists, then how did Neil Shubin and his group rely on allegedly false ideas and: (a) predict that a transitional species between fish and land-based tetrapods must have existed; (b) determine from the then-existing fossil record the approximate time when such a species must have existed; (c) rely on geologists who recommended a rock formation of the appropriate age on Ellesmere Island; and (d) find Tiktaalik — the transitional fossil they were looking for — in the rock stratum recommended by the geologists?

    God guided them to it, of course.

  10. Charles Deetz ;)

    Deetz: “Archeopteryx, dinosaur or bird?”
    Creationist: “Bird, Ham says so.”
    Deetz: “A bird with teeth?”
    Creationist: “Early birds had teeth, but are still a bird”
    Deetz: “But it doesn’t have a beak even.”
    Creationist: “It still looks like a bird and has feathers.”
    Deetz: “The neck connects to the skull from behind, that doesn’t look like a bird.”
    Creationist: “Its still a bird.”
    Deetz: “Okay, how about a tail? Archeopteryx has a tail.”
    Creationist: “The fossil was probably faked anyway.”
    Deetz: “Sheez.”

  11. The two crucial questions already were asked by Adam Lee.

    Question #1: What evidence would falsify your chosen variety of creationism?

    Question #2: What evidence would you accept as provisional proof of evolution?

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/essays/the-two-questions/

    I have asked them myself and never got an answer.

  12. ‘Creationist’ is rather a loose term, I prefer ‘Hamist’ when referring to the disciples of our Ken (also the term might annoy them).
    Hamists would claim that everything that ever happened would fit into a time-scale close to that determined by Archbishop Ussher. ‘Evolutionary scientists’ would claim a time in billions of years. These two views are mutually contradictory. Much has been published in support of both sides. Hamists claim that science supports their position but rejects the claims of ‘secular scientists’ on the grounds that they are doing ‘Historical Science’.
    What I would ask the Hamists is:
    “There is an unbridgeable gulf between the two ‘world-views’, one would expect that almost every test would come down firmly in support of the same side. Notwithstanding this, could the Hamist come up with just one single scientific test that would support his claim unambiguously?”

  13. If you believe: (1) the theory of evolution is false; (2) there are no transitional fossils; (3) the Earth is only 6,000 years old; (4) the fossil record supports the Flood, then:

    How did African elephants end up in Africa, Siberian Tigers in Siberia, raccoons in North America, tapirs in South America, kangaroos in Australia, etc. etc. ? Did Noah secretly create Federal Express long before the Wright Brothers invented controlled flight of heavier-than-air machines???

  14. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    @Hideo Gump

    I’ve answered that right here in the past in a similar way to Ham by inserting things not the narrative that do not exist in the scriptures. To paraphrase Ham “the scriptures do not rule out …”

    Noah had a very very large catapult on the deck of the ark.

    I felt as comfortable in making such a claim as Ham does using the six story high wooden crane one can see in the Ark Encounter advertisements. I assume the catapult would have been built from the dissembled crane once it was no longer needed. The scriptures do not rule this out, my logic undeniable.

  15. @Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    It would be interesting to calculate the energy required to catapult a 300 pound polar bear from the alleged resting place of Noah’s ark to a polar-bear-friendly spot within the Arctic Circle. I also wonder how well adapted the average polar bear is to enduring many G’s worth of acceleration, climaxing in super-sonic flight. Methinks this would be “not your average bear.”
    NASA in the 1960’s would have treasured, nay recruited, such a creature.

  16. What one question would confound a creationist? Ummm, all of them?

  17. This would be a question for the Hamists [I like that term, Alan(UK)] and all YECs for that matter —

    “How can you reconcile the undeniable fact of plate tectonics, a process that had to take millions of years to open up the Atlantic Ocean, with a 6,000 year-old Earth?”

    There is absolutely no denying the fact that the African and South American plates were once connected, and that the sedimentary layers on either side of the Mid-Ocean Ridge are progressively older with increasing distance from the ridge, and that the plates are currently moving at about 2-3 inches per year. If they had been moving at the MUCH faster rate in the past necessary to get them to their current positions, the decelerative force force necessary to get them down to their current speed would have caused unimaginably destructive earthquakes throughout the world. If these earthquakes could have been survived, they surely would have been mentioned in the Bible.

  18. You know what? I’m feeling a bit… persnickety… this evening, so I’m going to expand upon my previous trite answer. Creationists are not confounded by our questions. They simply cannot handle the cognitive dissonance to properly process them. Whether we want to call it brainwashing, or simple stupidity, the result is the same. Most of them have no desire to change their beliefs to accept the evidence regardless of its veracity. Let’s be clear here: It’s not ignorance. Ignorance is lack of knowledge. They’ve been provided the knowledge. But since it doesn’t mesh with their “worldview”, all processing stops. The brain does a core dump followed by a BSOD, followed by a reset to the previous “good” state, which is that Godddit. It doesn’t matter whether they’re YEC, OEC, or simply refuse to accept evolution. They will refuse any and all evidence contrary to their deeply held beliefs.
    I’ll add one more thing. The Internet has not helped. Instead, because of the volume of information, people are easily able to find “their own people” (such as we do here) and form their own echo chambers. Did you hear something you don’t like? No problem. Retreat to your echo chamber. The difference between us and them is that I don’t need to listen to anyone here. I can read the scientific literature myself and see for myself that, yes, the Earth is over 4 billion years old and, yes, the universe is over 13 billion years old and, yes, we ARE related to monkeys and chimps and bonobos. Despite the fact that I’m an engineer, I accept the science that the same science that allows me to surf the internet from a coffee shop down the street also is the EXACT SAME science that provides all of the evidence for the above examples. That’s our difference. We will follow the evidence, not some authority figure. Which probably upsets them even more. Independence can be truly annoying to those who do not possess it.

  19. Cardinal Gary:
    “Despite the fact that I’m an engineer, I accept the science …”

    It’s too bad there are some engineers out there whose education was so narrowly focused that it’s necessary for you to make that disclaimer. And as has been noted many times on this blog, it’s not just engineers, but MDs, dentists, and if Jason Lisle can be used as an example, astrophysicists as well.

  20. Dave Luckett

    I think the implications of previous posters are correct: there is no question and no fact that can stump a genuine creationist. The last retreat into Omphalos is always available, after all. The only useful outcome is to force that retreat, and then point out that it has been taken. That won’t bother the creobot, but it might make watchers pause.

  21. The only useful outcome is to force that retreat, and then point out that it has been taken. That won’t bother the creobot, but it might make watchers pause.

    I don’t want a “Like” button for this; I want a “Oh, h___ YEAH!” button.

  22. I’d choose the internal telomers of human chromosome 2, sticking together the analogs of two chimp chromosomes, and indeed the entire human-ape genetic homology story. It’s what convinced Dennis Venema, formerly creationist and now one of my favourite writers on evolution; he writes about this at http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2010/PSCF9-10Venema.pdf and http://biologos.org/blog/denisovans-humans-and-the-chromosome-2-fusion

  23. I like Hideo Gump’s biogeographical approach. You can take that quite far, for example with Order Xenarthra restricted to South America, Central America, and southern North America; that applies to their fossil record as well. It applies quite well to plants, too.

    So there’s an argument that is difficult to explain from the perspective of a geologically recent global flood (GRGF). Just keep mentioning example after example, including many animal and plant families that the Creationist never heard before. Write them all down, as the discussion progresses; the list is staggering.

    You now have more than merely a good disproof of a GRGF. You now have an elementary basis for evolution, with many cases at the family level that the Creationist pretty much has to accept. Take that up a notch, and the Creationist is hard pressed to explain why relatively small differences between closely related families (or “clades,” if you prefer) require Creationist explanations over evolutionary ones.

    I realize that this isn’t the “killer question” that SC requested. Like some others here, I don’t believe that such a question exists. Rather, the challenge is better expressed by a mass of data easily explained by evolutionary theory that the Creationist accepts, then proceeding from there.

  24. Craters on the moon AND even more but less obvious craters on Earth…….if they were from collisions 6,000 years ago then everything would still be molten.

  25. I believe it is impossible to confound someone who is not honest.
    We can point out inconsistencies, however, to a liar , these things are
    irrelevant.

  26. Holding The Line In Florida

    To the true believer no amount of evidence is acceptable. The brain dead are exactly that, brain dead. I see it often down here in the Ark of Florida.

  27. My question would be a three-parter:

    If everything that exists must have a creator, and God exists, who created Him?

    And if God is taken to have always existed, and so to have no Creator, why may we not say that the universe has always existed in some form, God or no God?

    And if we can say that, why do we need to assume that living things were “created” rather than arising naturally?

    Of course, nothing will really convince a truly committed creationist, for whom nothing really matters but what the Bible says.