Creative Challenge #48: Anti-Evolution Argument

We’ve challenged you before to present good creationist arguments, most recently #47: Best Creationist Argument. But all you’ve done is give us the arguments that creationists actually use, such as: it’s in the bible, it’ll keep me out of the Lake of Fire, evolution isn’t nice, it’s the devil’s work, etc.

All of that stuff is fine — for creationists — but it doesn’t begin to do the job of persuading rational people. Today we’re looking for a serious intellectual challenge to evolution, not merely something that will satisfy a drooling idiot.

Creationists sometimes attempt to make serious arguments, but the best they can do is to point out something not yet explained — origin of life, consciousness, etc. They fail to grasp that something not yet explained doesn’t disprove evolution, it’s just a research project that needs to be worked on. What creationists need is something that literally can’t be explained because it demonstrably contradicts the laws of nature. We discussed this before in Advice for Creationists.

Creationists attempt to do that by citing the 2nd law of thermodynamics, but they obviously don’t know what they’re talking about. They also cite what they claim are the “odds” against something, but they fail to grasp that the odds are literally against everything — see Discoveroids: The Odds Are Against Evolution.

So we’re challenging you once again, and this time we want you to think like a scientist, not a creationist. The form of today’s challenge is that you must tell us, with reasonable brevity:

What is — or could be — the best logical, scientific argument against evolution?

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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31 responses to “Creative Challenge #48: Anti-Evolution Argument

  1. I’ll be entering this competition just as soon as I finish the blueprint for my Perpetual Motion Machine, and have patented my cold-fusion powered Angel Dectector…

  2. The one which has been suggested by a prominent scientist, Haldane:
    The fossil of a Precambrian rabbit
    But, lacking such a fossil, we have to be satisfied with Piltdown Man.
    Other theoretic difficulties were the impossibility of the transition between “normal” location of eyes to the eyes on the same side of the head, as with flatfish (Mivart).

    Another difficulty which was accepted for a long time by many scientists::
    The lack of a credible mechanism for random variation. Of course, this is not against evolution per se, but against natural selection. Similar objections were the neutral theory (Kimura), the symbiosis theory (Margulis), etc., all accepting common descent with variation.

  3. Our Curmudgeon errs in claiming

    There is no tangible prize.

    Wrong.

    Anyone who could produce a credible “scientific argument against evolution” would be a slam-dunk for a highly-tangible Nobel Prize.

  4. I’d like to say I’m with Megalonyx, but the best I can do, which isn’t original, is that all of what we perceive as reality is produced by the code of someone’s vastly complex video game. Given all the brilliant minds of the last 150 years
    who have failed this long-standing challenge, I doubt SC will have a winner any time soon, or later. Both creationist and evolutionary literature is filled with failed hypotheses to replace evolution. But that doesn’t mean SC shouldn’t try from time to time.

  5. @Scientist
    filled with failed hypotheses to replace evolution
    I am not aware of any attempt to replace evolution. Yes, there are many replacement mechanisms, but for common descent with variation? Please, does anyone know of any?

  6. I do not have an argument against common descent, but against natural selection as a plausible mechanism, at least for humans, which is what creationists really care about.
    Consider that the evolutionary success of an individual depends on the number of its surviving offspring. For a human in historical times, this has been mostly zero, but with decreasing frequency one, two, three, up to maybe a dozen or so, then a very few outliers with maybe hundreds, even thousands. As an amount of information, this reduces to, at a generous guess, three bits per individual. Now, we know, from various lines of research, that each individual human carries on average about at least a hundred novel mutations, so rather more than six bits of information per individual. Therefore the information transmitted by the individual’s reproductive success is far from adequate to overcome random variation, so selection is impossible.
    Checkmate, atheists!

  7. Hans Weichselbaum

    Prove that the world is 6,000 years old – Evolution will be dead.

  8. Jim…yawn.

  9. och will … I think you need to back that up a bit.

  10. @Hans
    According to evolution, the Earth was created by a big bang billions of years ago, starting from a very hot, dense state. But in that dense state, the evolutionary theories of special and general relativity claim that time would be very different from time as we experience it today. Therefore 6000 years is as good a value for the age of the world as any evolutionary guess.
    Checkmate again, atheists!

  11. Holding The Line In Florida

    A la Monty Python, The clouds open up in plain view of everyone in the world and God, complete with crown and bushy eyebrows and beard announces to everyone in their own language, “Silly Humans, Tricks are for kids! And by the way, I did it all! But don’t grovel, I hate groveling!”

  12. Evolution Theory is a consistent and coherent theory. So the only way to challenge it logically is by rejecting its assumptions.
    There is no evidence against Evolution Theory either.

  13. Is this the best you guys can do? The creationists might as well stay with the Lake of Fire. Come on, you’re not trying! How about finding an actual message coded in your DNA?

  14. Our Curmudgeon suggests

    How about finding an actual message coded in your DNA?

    That would be evidence (something Creationists conspiculously lack), but your competition calls for scientific arguments against evolution.

    Anyway, I already found a hidden message coded into my DNA:

    …AGCTTGGACTCAGGCOVFEFETGACGCCACTG…

  15. A fairly short message, such as, “I, the great unknown designer, wrote this.”, wouldn’t take up many bases, and, in the couple of hundred generations since the Fall, would not have decayed much by mutation. There would be quite a lot of plausible coding schemes which the GUD could have used, but probably the message would still be detectable. This is a research program which our creation scientist friends could profitably pursue. Good luck, I won’t hold my breath.

  16. The concept of CHDO (could have done otherwise). If all conditions prior to a chosen action was exactly duplicated, a human being is the only animal that can choose a different action. This concept, if true, is inconsistent within the laws of nature.

  17. Ross Cameron

    I`ve had it up to here with your evolution challenge to my Creation. Back off or I`ll send another Flood. signed GOD

  18. Charles Deetz ;)

    Any animal or plant species that can’t be traced/linked backwards to another species. One bush sitting next to the tree of life would be enough.

  19. Trump could just issues another of his inane Executive Orders, signing it in big black crayon, that abolishes evolution, blaming it on Obama of course.

  20. Michael Fugate

    A big reason creationists are anti-evolution is because they want humans to be special. They could care less if evolution were true for all other species. The problem is the evidence that works for evolution being true amongst the billions of other species also works for humans – so they need deny the whole thing.

    The early efforts on demonstrating common descent relied on phenotypic similarity – and we know that without care study we can be led astray. This seems to be the Bechly’s argument. We know that for instance placental mammal insectivores (moles, shrews, hedgehogs v. tenrecs, golden moles, elephant shrews) do not share a common ancestor and neither to those with reduced teeth specializing on soft insects (aardvarks v. anteaters and armadillos v. pangolins). We know this because of genetic data. Now if creationists could show that the patterns in genetic data were random, then they would might have a case. As of now, they have none.

  21. The Tree of Life, when it gets down to bacteria and archaea, gets rather messy. There is exchange of genetic material which makes the evidence for common descent less clear. And how do we know that we won’t find some isolated place on Earth with forms of life unrelated to us, maybe without evolution operating among them?

  22. Ross Cameron

    We know tin-foil hats will deter zombies and aliens from taking over our minds, but I`d like to find out the truth-repellent barrier that religionists wear to avoid reality sinking in. What seems so obvious to non-believers comes to a screeching halt near those in voodooland. Any thoughts?

  23. There is a book coming out in a couple of months which will analyze the peculiar situation in the USA. Perhaps it will answer your question.
    Oliver & Wood
    Enchanted America: emotion metaphor and magical thinking in US

  24. jimroberts proposes the finding of

    A fairly short message, such as, “I, the great unknown designer, wrote this.”

    Much more fun, however, would be an Epimenidean paradox, viz.

    I, the great unknown designer, wrote this:
    ALL GREAT UNKNOWN DESIGNERS ARE LIARS.”

  25. This is not a message.

  26. We aren’t looking at DNA correctly. You know those big pictures made up of a bunch of little images? If you hold a DNA molecule just right, you can see the ACGT’s align and show a person of indeterminate gender, with a large nose, peeking over a fence with his fingers wrapped around the top of the fence and a message, in Aramaic of course, that says “God was here!”

  27. Or, cunningly encoded in the DNA of a Syngnathus acus, the simple declaration:

    Ceci n’est pas une pipe

  28. A bit off topic, but this week is the 60th anniversary of The lecture that changed biology

  29. A life form with a genome which is 100%, absolutely mutation-proof would be a convincing argument for intelligent design. See the bandersnatchii of Larry Niven’s “Known Space”-universe.

  30. Everyone agrees that there are some cases of evolution: micro-evolution. The only controversy is the scope of evolution. Creationists doubt that there is macro-evolution. It is often pointed out that evolution does not extend to the whole of the natural world. Therefore the evidence for the origins of nuclei, for example of protons, is not by common descent. The standard definition of evolution, “the change of heritable traits in populations over generations” does not apply to nuclei.

  31. Biological evolution doesn’t apply to nuclear physics? Should it? I’m going to assume this was written with tongue in cheek rather than foot in mouth.