Curmudgeon’s Catalog of Creationist Chicanery

After years in your service describing and debunking creationism, it’s time that we produced a summary of what we’ve observed as the most commonly deployed creationist techniques. We herewith present a preliminary summary of our experience. Professional creationists — charlatans all — know these are worthless arguments, and their drooling followers mindlessly repeat them:

1. Hitler. Creationists always claim that Darwin’s theory inspired Hitler. This is a manifestation of what is commonly known as Godwin’s law. According to Wikipedia: “[I]f an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or his deeds.” For rebuttal, see Hitler and Darwin.

2. Fraud. Creationists always mention Piltdown Man, an actual fraud so foolishly contrived that it literally contradicted Darwin’s theory — because man couldn’t have evolved on an island with no pre-human primates. Then they claim that all the evidence for evolution is equally fraudulent. For rebuttal, see Piltdown Man: The Creationists’ Savior.

3. Racism. They always claim that evolution is a racist theory, despite all the evidence to the contrary — see Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin.

4, Were you there? Creationists claim that science can’t tell us anything about the past, for which the only true evidence is the bible — see Were You There? They ignore all evidence to the contrary, such as The Lessons of Tiktaalik.

5. No transitional fossils. This comes up all the time, and for rebuttal we always link to Wikipedia’s List of transitional fossils.

6. It’s all about sex (or depravity, or atheism, etc.). The typical creationist dismisses evolution (or any other scientific theory he doesn’t like) by claiming that it’s a big lie devised to allow its advocates to lead a sinful life; but they have no evidence that scientists are more sinful than creationists.

7. Evolution is a religion. The irony of this one speaks for itself. To support this claim, creationists ignore the actual meaning of religion (a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances), and use the fifth or sixth definition in dictionaries, where the word “religion” can be used for anything believed with ardor.

8. The creationist scientific method. They all use this, which we’ve described several times before. Here it is again:

1. Select a conclusion which you hope is true.
2. Find one piece of evidence that possibly might fit.
3. Ignore all other evidence.
4. That’s it.

There are more devices routinely used by creationists. You’ll find others in The Creationist Troll’s Toolkit, but those listed above are the most commonly seen. We’ve undoubtedly omitted a few, so if you can think of any that we’ve missed, let us know and we’ll add them to the catalog.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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12 responses to “Curmudgeon’s Catalog of Creationist Chicanery

  1. I dug up this transitional fossil: Cdesign Proponentsists

  2. No way it* could all happen by chance!

    *Substitute for “it” the Big Bang, the formation of planets, the origin of life, the origin of Homo Sapiens, ethics, consciousness or whatever the creationist’s favourite gap is to plug his god into.

  3. But never does anyone suggest an alternative.

    Even if there is a fatal flaw in evolutionary explanations – even if any naturalist explanations for such-and-such – no one has offered an alternative explanation which cures the supposed flaw.
    For example, what rules are there for what happens so that human bodies turn out to be most similar to chimps and other apes among the endless ways that it could have happened?

  4. Apparently it cuts no ice with creationists that it was scientists who supported the theory of evolution who first suspected and eventually proved that Piltdown Man was a hoax.

  5. Ross Cameron

    Fresh generations-fresh recycling of all of these arguments. When your head is buried in the latest Xian website, you think what you are reading is —- well — gospel.Then filled with righteous indignation, you head off to the nearest atheist website to slay the demons. Wash-rinse-repeat.Like any contagious disease, we either have to find a permanent cure, or put up with repeated outbreaks.

  6. Scientists use logic, logic was created by God, therefore scientists are acknowledging the existence of God.

    It makes no sense, but it is becoming a fairly common argument, especially by the Kentucky Ham.

  7. Misquotation should also be on the shortlist. The DMS Watson misquotation scam, which was discussed here recently, even has its own Wikipedia section:

  8. Paul Braterman says: “Misquotation should also be on the shortlist.”

    It’s more complicated than mere misquotation. Yes, when a false quote is first assembled and circulated, it’s an intentional fraud. But then, despite its suspicious strangeness (like a “quote” from George Washington saying that he opposed the American Revolution), it’s mindlessly accepted and endlessly copied by a drooling army of believers who never check their sources.

  9. Fair point, if you’re sticking to individual chicanery rather than collective false memories

  10. never check their sources
    This is a widespread habit, not confined to anti-science.

  11. TomS, yes, there is some academic laziness when it comes to citing traditional sources, but only a gullible idiot would blindly copy something that purported to quote Einstein saying: “Relativity is bunk!” or Darwin saying: “An eye couldn’t possibly have evolved!”

  12. I’m certainly not excusing creationists just because others do it too!

    While it might not make a whole lot of difference whether Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, or somebody that nobody heard of who came up with a particular witty comment, I suggest that being indulgent in such a case may lead to encouraging carelessness where it might make a difference.

    I have discovered when trying to pin down the source of many of quotation that there many books and websites which are full of alleged quotations with no citations to back them up. And there are plenty of people who are not interested – or even take offense. One particular source of quote mining that I remember from many letters to the editor, was Nikolai [sic] Lenin.

    BTW, when I was first introduced to creationist quote mines, I often thought that the “quotes” were not so damaging, and that it wasn’t worthwhile to check on their validity. Darwin’s quote on the eye seemed to me to be what someone would write as an introduction to how his theory would account for it. In any case, I would be suspicious that, in the very book that convinced so many people, he would say that his theory was no good. I notice that that is a common reaction by beginners.