Four Fatal Arguments Against Evolution

A powerful creation science essay appears at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia. The title is 4 Tremors That Have Made Darwin Irrelevant.

It was written by Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson, one of ol’ Hambo’s distinguished creation scientists. At the end of his article we’re told that he “has a PhD in biology from Harvard University.” Here’s Jeanson’s write-up at AIG, which says he “formerly conducted research with the Institute for Creation Research.” The Encyclopedia of American Loons says he has “a Medical PhD from Harvard.” Here are some excerpts from his essay, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

In late November of 1859, an earthquake in England struck with such force that the aftershocks were felt around the world. This monumental event wasn’t due to a collision of plates in the earth’s crust. In fact, it wasn’t even a physical phenomenon. Charles Darwin’s publication of On the Origin of Species shook the collective scientific and religious understanding of the world so strongly that the ramifications have been felt to this day. Regardless of our individual positions on the origins debate, all of us have felt the effects of this event.

A wee bit exaggerated, but that’s okay. Then he says:

Since 1859, however, apart from Darwin, several quiet tremors have occurred. Individually, the effects of these tremors have been almost unnoticeable. Together, they have hinted at a future upheaval, of the same scale and magnitude as Darwin’s.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] Tremors! Now the fun begins. Jeanson tells us:

The first tremor was the magnificent increase in our understanding of the diversity of life. Since 1859, we’ve discovered hundreds of thousands of new species. In Darwin’s day, the scientific community knew of less than 15 percent of the species we have documented today. Yet Darwin wrote the “bible” on the origin of species.

So what? Nothing discovered since Darwin’s time has contradicted his theory. Jeanson, however, doesn’t think as we do. He continues:

Imagine if this scenario played itself out in any other discipline. Let’s say I was investigating who killed President John F. Kennedy. If, after my investigation, I claim that Lee Harvey Oswald did not kill JFK, you might be intrigued. You might also ask me for my evidence. If I said that I looked at only 15 percent of the evidence, your initial curiosity might quickly be quelled. In a polarized debate, who insists on a controversial position after examining only 15 percent of the evidence?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! You don’t need us to point out the absurdity of Jeanson’s argument there. Let’s read on:

The second tremor began its rumblings just a few years after Darwin’s first edition of his work. In 1865, Gregor Mendel first published his findings from his experiments with pea plants. Mendel initiated the field of genetics. Why is this significant? Species are defined by their traits. Yet traits are inherited consistently from generation to generation. In other words, species are defined by inheritance.

Yeah, yeah. Darwin didn’t know about genetics. Jeanson pounds away at this point:

No one in the scientific community knew until nearly 100 years after the publication of “On the Origin of Species,” when in 1953 the structure of DNA was solved. … In other words, Darwin took an unprecedented scientific risk when he wrote his book. It’s like arguing over human anatomy and physiology — before anyone on earth has dissected a cadaver. Darwin tried to answer a genetic question before the field of genetics was ever born. If Darwin had no genetic data, how could he have dominated the scientific community for 150 years?

[*Groan*] Genetics and DNA don’t contradict the theory of evolution — they complement it.

Then Jeanson gives us his third “tremor,” which he presents with a ghastly analogy:

By analogy, it’s like arguing over which individual was the first US president. For example, I might hypothesize that Thomas Jefferson was the first president. Scientifically, I could support my claim by disproving the hypothesis that Paul Revere was the first president. At this stage, the weakness of the scientific method should begin to emerge. It’s not hard to see that Revere never was president. But there exist many, many more hypotheses on the identity of the first US president. The most important hypothesis is the one that we all know — George Washington. Simply disproving Paul Revere doesn’t automatically mean that my Jefferson hypothesis is correct.

We told you it was ghastly. From that he concludes:

Darwin eliminated the primitive creationist ideas of his day. But creationist thinking has dramatically matured since the 19th century. This is the third tremor to have rumbled since 1859.

Okay, those are three of Jeanson’s four “tremors.” Here comes the last one:

The fourth tremor is the emergence of comprehensive, full-fledged explanations for the origin of species that are working. They are making accurate, testable predictions about the real world. It’s like proposing a new idea in physics — and then watching the application of this idea in a successful trip to and from Mars.

What “comprehensive, full-fledged explanations for the origin of species” is Jeanson talking about? Here it comes, right near the end of his essay:

Modern creationist ideas are advancing our knowledge of modern genetics — and going far beyond what Darwin ever proposed.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! And now we come to the dramatic end:

Could another massive earthquake in science be on the way?

Well, dear reader? Now that you’re aware of those four “tremors,” which clearly show the hopeless inadequacy of Darwin’s work, what do you think?

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

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34 responses to “Four Fatal Arguments Against Evolution

  1. Whew! Critical thinking at its creationist best! The mind boggles at Jeanson’s understanding of evolution and genetics. Hard to believe he has a Ph.D. degree, but then he’s not the only fraud out there with a doctorate.

  2. Jeanson’s arguments are so bad they’re not even wrong.

  3. Charles Deetz ;)

    I bet he wrote this joke, but not as a joke:

    Q: What is the difference between an orange?
    A: A pencil. Because a vest has no sleeves.

  4. Michael Fugate

    Jeanson’s dissertation title is “Metabolic regulation of hematopoietic stem cells”. It is interesting that he used mice as a model system believing his findings to be applicable to humans – while believing the two species do not share common ancestry.

    His narrative on genetics is comic; Darwin based his thesis on the work done in plant and animal breeding. It was long known that traits were inherited. If they weren’t then selection wouldn’t work.

    The question that creationist “genetics” can’t answer is if shared alleles are a consequence of common ancestry within species, then why aren’t they a consequence of common ancestry between species?

  5. Isn’t it odd that people still believe in Newton’s F=ma?
    Just think of the small amount of data that was available to people in Newton’s day. Why do we believe in F=ma (or rather F=dp/dt) holds outsdie the Solar System? All that we can directly test are within 1/1000 light-year, while the realm of the galaxies is beyond billions of light-years, which means a volume of 10^12 times that of the Solar System. And the sub-microscopic world!

  6. What, he claims that creationists have made a major biological discovery – that’s a first- about the origin of new species, but he doesn’t tell us what it is? I guess we have to buy his book Replacing Darwin: The New Origin of Species to find out!

  7. Michael Fugate

    then there is Dalton’s atomic theory – how could Dalton “take that risk” given all he didn’t know? Atoms can be split after all.
    and the cell theory, how did they know all organisms had cells, when, as Jeanson claims, they couldn’t investigate every species?

    I am curious though when Genesis is your only source, how creationism could advance? Doesn’t Ham keep telling us that “God’s” word doesn’t change?

  8. “In other words, Darwin took an unprecedented scientific risk when he wrote his book.”
    Yes, he did. Exactly because the risk paid off we call him a genius.

    “But creationist thinking has dramatically matured since the 19th century.”
    Too bad that I haven’t noticed – Paley’s False Watchmaker Analogy has remained the same, despite the numerous variations.

    “the emergence of comprehensive, full-fledged explanations for the origin of species that are working.”
    Now only if Jeanson could tell us which ones …. My bet? More variations on “goddiddid”.

  9. I think of three major changes in anti-evolutionist writing since the 19th century:
    1. Intelligent Design. Removal of what little substance there was in creationism: Nothing about the agency in the analogy of the watchmaker. Nothing about the time scale.
    2. Young Earth Creationism. In the 19th century, “youg earth” was largely confined to a few small variants of Christianity, such as Seventh Day Adventism.
    3. Baraminology. Accepting the reality of evolution within a “kind”, “someting like a taxonomic family”, certainly including speciation.

    What has remained the same, what was pointed out by Herbert Spencer’s “The Development Hypothesis” of 1852: there is no alternative to evolution.

  10. TomS,
    Would James Shapiro’s “natural genetic engineering” count as an alternative to evolution?
    His whole concept of intelligent cells directing their own mutations is laughably ridiculous, but it at least seems testable (and of course he claims he has “proof”). I am in no way trying to advance Shapiro’s silliness, just wondering what would be required to make “natural genetic engineering” a viable alternative?

  11. These nuts have been touting ‘fatal arguments’ against evolution for a very long time. They uniformly fail and disappear without a trace, never to appear again. I’m reminded of Mark Twain’s quip when he said something to the effect that “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” We can say the same thing about the reports of the end of the theory of evolution.

  12. Hans Weichselbaum

    If you read this article in isolation you would (correctly) have to assume that humanity and its intellect are going downhill.
    When I read “Since 1859, we’ve discovered hundreds of thousands of new species” I couldn’t help thinking of poor Noah and his ark.

  13. Thats an awful lot of verbal preparation for ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,zero support.
    However, it is an excellent sermon. This man is a closet pastor for a primitive Baptist church somewhere.

  14. Our Modest Curmudgeon: “Genetics and DNA don’t contradict the theory of evolution — they complement it.”

    Genetics and DNA don’t just complement the theory of evolution — they validate it.

  15. @Scientist: “Hard to believe he has a Ph.D. degree, but then he’s not the only fraud out there with a doctorate.”

    Medical Doctors are scientists to about the same extent that engineers are scientists.

    Exhibit A: Dr Benjamin Solomon Carson, Sr.

    I like this bit about Jeanson from The Encyclopedia of American Loons: “The fact that he apparently painstakingly obtained the degree in order to disregard every piece of knowledge obtained in the process sole[l]y for the purpose of lending an air of authority to anti-science makes his degree meaningless, of course, but the Creationist movement still tout it as evidence for their claims.”

  16. One fatal argument against Creationism:

    All its “fatal arguments” against evolution are mere rhetorical or philosophical objects that use poor analogies and ignore the scientific process.

  17. Michael Fugate

    Here is a good review of Jeanson’s “genetic” work:
    http://www.evoanth.net/2016/05/23/invent-mutation-rate/

    I am wondering if the creationists have used molecular clock data to estimate the number of species on the Ark. If you know the mutation rate, then it should be possible. I bet it is really big – unless you fudge your data.

  18. @TomD
    There are different mechanisms of evolution. But is there any explanation of the nested hierarchy of taxonomy which does not involve common descent with variation?

  19. Christine Janis

    “But is there any explanation of the nested hierarchy of taxonomy which does not involve common descent with variation?”

    Creationists just say that, as humans can arrange things like transportation vehicles (clearly created by intelligent design) in nested hierarchies then such hierarchies are not evidence of common descent.

    If anybody has come across a cogent argument against that (yes, of course it’s absurd, but *why* exactly) I’d be most grateful to see it. One I saw somewhere (and have since forgotten where) made the point that features unique to one lineage do not cross over into another, whereas in automobiles designs of engines, etc., can “leap” across taxonomic boundaries.

  20. That is not an explanation for the pattern. It is an attempt at finding a flaw in the argument. (It doesn’t work, because it misunderstands the argument.) At best, it is saying that we don’t need to explain the pattern.

  21. @Random
    Generally agree about doctors (physicians) as scientists. But, as with engineers, there are exceptional M.D.s (without the Ph.D.) who were/are outstanding scientists (Arthur Kornberg MD won the Nobel prize for his work on DNA replication). Jeanson is said to have a Harvard Ph.D., so I expect much more by way of scientific rigor. But, as you note, he’s in the catalog of loons.

  22. Regarding the creationist argument against common descent, when they claim that the designer likes to re-use his designs, Christine Janis says: “If anybody has come across a cogent argument against that (yes, of course it’s absurd, but *why* exactly) I’d be most grateful to see it. One I saw somewhere (and have since forgotten where) made the point that features unique to one lineage do not cross over into another, whereas in automobiles designs of engines, etc., can “leap” across taxonomic boundaries.”

    Difficult to do in a quickie response. It’s easier to do in cases of convergent evolution — for example, insects, birds, and mammals (bats) have all evolved flight — but it’s never the same “design.” The designer doesn’t pluck a feature from birds and stick that feature on a mammal, resulting in a Pegasus. Also, we never see mammalian breasts on a spider, although the designer — blessed be he! — could do it if he were so inclined.

  23. “we never see mammalian breasts on a spider”
    So the black widow spider does not have boobs?
    Those males are getting totally cheated.

  24. Modern creationist ideas are advancing our knowledge of modern genetics — and going far beyond what Darwin ever proposed.

    This claim richly deserves the Curmudgeon’s BWAHAHAHAHAHA! If creationists are advancing our knowledge of genetics, it’s hard to see how.

    And this is a perfect example:

    Species are defined by their traits. Yet traits are inherited consistently from generation to generation. In other words, species are defined by inheritance.

    Well, duh! But inheritance is mutable; genetic mutations were known in Darwin’s day, and are much better understood today, not to creationists’ advantage.

    I could go on, but why bother? Jeanson’s arguments are so bogus it’s hard to believe that even he takes them seriously.

  25. Isn’t it interesting that when the designers want living things to be very, very similar, they resort to cloning, a natural process. When things are very similar, they are, because of nature, they are in the same species. And when they are rather similar, that is because of the natural process of micro-evolution and they are in the same “kind” (“baramin”). But when we know that the non-natural is involved, then things are not so similar.
    So designers are not described as wanting to make things similar, nor different, but sort of silimlar (like different birds), or as different as sponges and bacteria and trees, that’s what designers do.
    Alll electrons are the same, except for changeable properties like energy or location – how does that fact fit with the way that designers work?

  26. @ChristineJ “Creationists just say that, as humans can arrange things like transportation vehicles (clearly created by intelligent design) in nested hierarchies then such hierarchies are not evidence of common descent.

    If anybody has come across a cogent argument against that”

    At one hand the argument follows this scheme:

    Transportation vehicles are designed by humans;
    nested hierarchies are designed by a Grand Old Designer.

    This is just Paley’s False Watchmaker Analogy.
    The flaw is that humans belong to our natural reality while Grand Old Designers belong to a supposed supernatural reality.

    At the other hand the argument the argument follows this scheme:

    Transportation vehicles are not evidence for common descent;
    nested hierarchies in biology aren’t either.

    This analogy is based on the false assumption that common descent is based on similarities in morphology alone. It isn’t.

  27. Did anyone notice the fatal mistake made by idiot boy here? He argued that disproving something (that Paul Revere was president) does not prove something else (that Jefferson was president). In one swell foop he destroyed the largest, single, fundamental argument that creationists have used for decades: that creationism can be proved by disproving evolution. This guy is stupid squared.

  28. The best, simplest, truest way to argue against the nested hierarchy in manmade technology is to note that there is NOT a hierarchy. At best, there is mere categories. A nested hierarchy implies a great deal, and modern technologies do NOT meet the requirements of a nested hierarchy. Not by a long shot. indeed, using modern technology is a great way to disprove the common designer fallacy. There are other ways as well.

  29. Christine Janis

    “The best, simplest, truest way to argue against the nested hierarchy in manmade technology is to note that there is NOT a hierarchy”

    Ultimately true, but many of us teaching science use man-made objects to get students to order into some sort of phylogeny based on shared derived characters. I used to use different types of candy (sweets) —- the best thing was that we could all eat them afterwards!

  30. There is one example of human manufacture which has a nested hierarchy:
    maniscripts of a text.
    The fact that manuscripts fall into a pattern of nested hierarchy even though they are made by humans, this means that they are in that pattern because they are examples of common descent with variation.
    Manuscripts are made by copies – that is the descent – and they are made with variations – because there are mistakes.
    This is not merely an analogy. The very same computer algorithms which have been made to analyze the ancestry of DNA have been used with manuscripts. The case which I recall in particular was The Canterbury Tales.

  31. Christine Janis

    “There is one example of human manufacture which has a nested hierarchy:
    maniscripts of a text.”

    As seen in repeated and reworked creationist quote-mines?

  32. Seems like the most obvious example of nested hierarchy of manuscripts of a text would be the Bible and the myriad of alterations, deletions, and additions (both intentional to fit dogma and accidental).

  33. @danimationmi “He argued that disproving something (that Paul Revere was president) does not prove something else (that Jefferson was president). In one swell foop he destroyed the largest, single, fundamental argument that creationists have used for decades: that creationism can be proved by disproving evolution.”
    Exactly! I wanted to say the same, but you beat me to it.

  34. Yes, but even worse …
    As if creationism’s explanation is: there’s something wrong with evolution.