Creative Challenge #42: The Missing Factor

Creationists are always telling us that evolution by natural processes is impossible, because for anything new to appear, something they call “information” must be added to the organism’s genome — and only the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — can accomplish this. They never explain what “information” is, or how they can detect it, or how the magic designer can deploy it, but they insist that it’s necessary — otherwise no evolution can occur.

We debunked the concept in Phlogiston, Vitalism, and Information, but they all use it, and their drooling followers seem to accept it.

A good example is at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog. They just posted Materialist Origin-of-Life Solutions All Depend on a “Free Lunch”, by Klinghoffer. Briefly, he says, with our bold font:

This from Nature Reviews Chemistry caught our eye – an unexpectedly candid admission of how far origin-of-life research is from shedding real light on its subject.

He quotes a bit from Studies on the origin of life — the end of the beginning, and then announces:

In other words, they’re nowhere near a solution, if purely materialistic processes are taken for granted as the only possible means toward life’s beginning.


It remains the case that the only known source of the information needed for abiogenesis is intelligence.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] Information — which only the intelligent designer can provide.

Okay, that’s the background. Now for the challenge. If creationists can invent the imaginary factor of “information” and declare that it’s essential for evolution, then we can identify a factor — which need not be imaginary — that is present in all creationist writings, and is essential to make their peculiar “science” acceptable to their drooling fans. And no, the essential factor isn’t mere ignorance. Professional creationists know what they’re doing, but they add something that makes their writings so uniquely bizarre. What is it?

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

What factor is present in all creationist writings that makes them so contrary to reality yet believable to their fans?

You know the rules: 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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15 responses to “Creative Challenge #42: The Missing Factor

  1. Charles Deetz ;)

    References to liberal atheistic elites, because they are the enemy of godly men. Who’d ever want to be a liberal atheistic elite? Heh heh heh.

  2. Ross Cameron

    When you share a delusion, nothing else matters. No contrary literature, no physical evidence, no demolition of the delusionist`s user guide, no recognition of the benefits of man-made science, nothing counts but the belief

  3. There is the idea with some popularity that humans need a shared belief – one which is impossible – to form a society. It needs to be impossible in order to distinguish between people who honestly belong to the group and those who are faking it. That explains why the thing which isn’t at all like a floating refuge for great numbers of animals – that it was deliberately built, at great expense, not to be like an Ark – that will separate the true believers from everyone else. That explains why creationist arguments are constructed to be self-defeating. That is why they say that they are dependent, solely and totally, upon the Bible, when the Bible doesn’t say anything about an alternative to evolution.

  4. Michael Fugate

    Like Charles, slagging on atheists.

  5. iamamonkey2

    The unreferenced secret factor is an image. God the creator somewhere up above. Long white beard leaning over his work bench doing something. He might be ‘adding information’ or poofing something into existence. We can’t tell. Any guesses as to his methods, however contrary to reality, are believable. Any materialistic theory, that suggests that he is not needed in the business of creation, is obviously wrong as it would spoil the image.

  6. Faith-based belief.

    Once you accept that faith-based belief is equivalent to evidence-adduced belief – often presented as knowledge of different kind – then reality no longer arbitrates it and nothing from reality can counter it.

  7. It is the inherent blocking of knowledge that leads to conspiracies, and in this instance the conspiracy of creationism, and religion. The same holds true for those who adamantly believe in UFOs, Yeti, the Bermuda Triangle, fake news, etc. Once given the conspiracy idea, it becomes embedded in the mind and is immune to change, i.e., in the vast number of cases it becomes hardwired in the brain. rguments and evidence have little, if any, impact on this blockage of thinking. But also, there are people who recognize what is happening, though they themselves may not believe in it, and take advantage of the situation by supporting the conspiracy and milking the believers. Creationism, fake news, anti-vaccine, etc., all are similar.

  8. Omission. They leave out the opposition of evidence and logic that easily refutes their arguments. True scientists, ones that seek reality, and not, “The Truth” ™ directly address and confront such evidence, but creationists do not.
    They pretend they’re not omitting anything, but when was the last time any one of them mentioned the strengths when they say that they want the strengths and weaknesses of evolution taught.

    Interestingly, it is often those confrontations of the opposition that real scientists make that creationists find as rich veins for their quote mines.

  9. @JR
    More critical, what they omit is any substance, anything positive.
    Even if any. or all, of their arguments against evolution and against natural explanations were correct in exposing fatal flaws, they fail because they don’t even attempt to offer an alternative.
    For example, what is the account for what goes on that humans are so near to chimps and other apes? Couldn’t supernatural agency, intelligent design, or omnipotent god(s) make humans totally different from all other living things, or more like some other living things, or each human unique wrt their relationship to other living things?
    For example, why design the eye so that its operation depends on everything obeying the laws of optics (and other laws of nature) when we could be given sight without resort to contrivances?
    Why did the design of the laws of nature include laws (entropy, conservation of complex specified information, probability) which make life impossible? Why did the Earth turn out to be uniquely fit for life in the vast universe, yet still needing special intervention for the last step?

    Intelligent design as we know it has proved inadequate to make life, so how is it that we should think that that intelligent design can do it? Actually, intelligent design as we know it is never enough on its own to produce anything. It takes materials and work to actually produce something. What materials and work (or their replacements) are there?

    “Necessity is the mother of invention.” What necessity was faced in order to design things?

  10. What factor is present in all creationist writings that makes them so contrary to reality yet believable to their fans?

    Flattery, pure and simple.

    Are you poorly-educated, maybe struggled in school or dropped out, and feel a bit intimidated when other folks use fancy $20 words you don’t understand? Feel you’re at the bottom of the heap, working—when you’re lucky enough to find some work—at minimum wage while a bunch of high-falutin’ East Coast intellectuals are paid big bucks for reviewing one another’s philosophical tomes in the New York Times?

    Well, cheer up, because those so-called ‘smart’ folks are actually the dumb ones because they can’t grasp what you can using nothing more than your God-given intuition! They’re so pig-ignorant they can’t just open their eyes and see what you can: the world is far too complicated to have just happened!

    And there’s more! Not only are you smarter than those folks that put you down, you are especially beloved by the Great Sky Daddy, who made you and a world for you to live in! You are privileged and so special! And you sure ain’t no kin to monkeys!

  11. “What factor is present in all creationist writings that makes them so contrary to reality yet believable to their fans?”
    Sooner or later every single creationist starts to lie.

  12. What factor is present in all creationist writings that makes them so contrary to reality yet believable to their fans?

    To Quote John Sebastion:
    “Do You Believe In Magic?”

  13. Dave Luckett

    Privilege and flattery, is right. People need to believe it, especially as the evidence piles up that they are not privileged and are, in fact, common as muck. It is very much in the interests of ruling elites that people in that situation believe in their own entitlement and privilege – for if they understood how they have been systematically deprived, they would get stroppy. This explains the occasional alliances between the super-rich and fundamentalism.

  14. Eric Lipps

    All creationist writings I’ve seen include some (stated or implied) version of Paley’s watchmaker argument, which can be expressed this way: Anything complex which we know to have been designed must have had a designer (this would be the watch); therefore anything complex must have had a designer. And since, if only one looks deep enough, everything is complex (ask quantum physicists), everything must have had a Designer. And we all know, don’t we, who that Designer is, no matter what we might say in a courtroom (wink, wink).

  15. Put JR/mnbo and Megalonyx in a hat and pick one.

    And if Eric Lipps is talking about an argument from incredulity, throw him in, too.