Monday, August 29, 2011


Alright, I'm going to do something I've never really done on here before:  I'm going to call out an entire website for perpetrating disgustingly false perceptions and entirely inaccurate information on an important matter.  That matter is the debate of Creationism V.S. Evolution.
The website I'm calling out can be found at the following link:
Upon mere minutes of investigation, you can easily see that this is a creationist website designed to discredit evolution; in principle, there's nothing necessarily, morally wrong with that.  The execution, however, is pretty repulsive.
The "facts" about evolution stated on the site only serve to prove that whoever wrote the exhibits has absolutely no extensive knowledge on the subject and, indeed, fails to grasp the very concept of evolution properly.  Multiple times throughout the exhibits, evolution is called out on being based on random chance, of course leading into the overly common creationist argument that everything looks far too designed to have happened by chance, and thus God must have done it.  This argument fails to understand evolution properly and it fails to realize that it's proposed alternative to evolution is far more improbable.  In summation, this argument is profoundly stupid.  The argument makes the creationists look bad, not the evolutionists.
Evolution is not based on random chance.  In 'The God Delusion', author and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins agrees that something as complex as, say, the human eye coming into existence by chance is absolutely ludicrous indeed.  Thankfully, however, anybody who actually understands evolution in the slightest realizes that this presents absolutely no hole in the theory.
Natural selection is most definitely not the same as random chance.  Evolutionary changes are brought about by the necessity of adaptation for the sake of survival.

Of especially comical interest is the website's 'Evolution Test'; a series of 15 questions meant to be unanswerable in the boundaries of evolution.  Of course anyone with even a moderate understanding of evolution, such as myself, can easily answer these questions with evolution theory intact.
You can find the test here:

The logic behind the questions is astoundingly flawed.  The first two questions assume that a creature distinguished as being male had to be totally evolved before one distinguished as female could even begin developing.  Considering there would be actually no need for one without the other, the answer to both questions is simple:  They developed in unison.  Evolution branches species in a way that would be beneficial for their survival in their respective environments.  If one branch benefited from a distinction between sexes, then that would be a playing property in its evolution.
Nothing about the theory of evolution states that every individual change needs to be isolated from any others...and that, as you'll see, is a faulty assumption this test makes multiple times.

Moving down to question #5, we have the same mistake again; a list of different features for an eye to work and asking which came first.  Again, this totally ignores the fact that these changes don't need to be isolated; the question is also presumptuous in seemingly trying to assert that every one of these features are totally inter-reliant which is just plain wrong.  Many animals, particularly in reptiles, do not have eyebrows, eyelids, eyelashes or tear ducts.
With this understanding, question #6, just like #2, becomes totally inert.

(Yes, I know I'm skipping questions.  The one's I'm leaving out are just too inane for me to be bothered with.  I have a notepad file with my personal answers to the entire test that I may post at a later time.)

In question #9, we have one of my favourite, common misconceptions of evolution that creationists just love to boast; in fact, this misconception was even ridiculed in an episode of Futurama last year ("A Clockwork Origin").  The famous "missing link" argument.
To quote directly from the test, "Why is it that the very things that would prove Evolution (transitional forms) are still missing?"
My response to this, directly from the aforementioned notepad file, is as follows:  "Just because you ignore all valid findings and evidence and refuse to keep up on scientific literature doesn't mean that your perception of said things is still valid.  In direct answer to the question:  They're not.  Next question."

Question #10 is one of my absolute favourites because it totally and utterly falls apart upon understanding what I've already explained:  Evolution is not based on chance.  There are improbabilities about it, sure, but that sure as hell doesn't make a designer the only (or even the more likely) alternative.  The nature of the question itself even correctly implies that complex creations must have a more complex creator, thus making a designer for complex life absurdly complex itself.
Once again I'd like to refer to 'The God Delusion' by Richard Dawkins as it has a very well-presented and well-written section on the matter of 'irreducible complexity'.

In question #12, while I can't give a list of 50 off the top of my head, I can ask, "why 50?".  Why does it need to be such a number?
I can name two however; the appendix is not necessary to our survival, thus being a vestigial organ.  And for appendages, our skeleton does have a tailbone that goes nowhere.

Question #13 is a very special kind of stupid, but perhaps only when you understand where the proposed prize money is coming from.  I took the test before investigating the website and assumed the prize was being offered by the type of creationist who refuses to accept valid scientific evidence (just like the one who wrote this test!), but the truth is even more moronic.
As you may have noticed by now, the website does have a page specifically for describing the reward.  If you've visited that page, certainly you've noticed that there's an asterisk by every mention of the word "reward" in the large text.  Find the accompanying footnote and you will read the following:
"*Reward of at least $1,000,000 shall be paid in U.S. dollars. It would be no problem raising this amount of money if you have evidence of Evolution, scientists from around the world will gladly pay dearly for it! An independent jury of Evolutionists and Creationists will review your submission and their conclusion is final."
This is quite possibly the most hilariously naive, presumptuous, ignorant and inane statement I have ever read.
In other words, there is no actual, available reward.  It's totally expected that if you, as an individual, can provide proof of evolution, then you can easily collect the money from scientists desperate for what you've found.
This is honestly such a stupid concept that it's hard to even describe why it is so stupid...but I'm going to try.
First off, scientists aren't individually assigned to find evidence for entire theories.  You will never find any one, single person who can claim to have proven evolution single-handedly.  Scientific research is a collaborative effort.  Oh, and guess what?  They are receiving payment for finding the evidence they find.  It's called "funding".  Why would scientists be desperately paying a million dollars for something that they found and they were paid those same million dollars to find?
These are the top minds on the planet working day in and day out to solve these and many many other quandries.
The next problem I have with it...well, I'd just like to answer the question with another, better question:  Why did nobody ever claim the $1,000,000 that James Randi actually had available, ready in the bank and all, for anybody who could prove any sort of supernatural ability or occurrence?

Moving on...
The final question, #15, takes the misunderstandings beyond evolution and shows a glaring misunderstanding of nature as a whole.  To make it simple on me, here was my initial, and still perfectly valid, answer upon first taking the test: "Different areas are different.  Evolutionary branches under different conditions produce different species.  By the logic behind this question, you may as well ask why humans aren't the only species on the planet and why we aren't capable of living underwater."

Now, for a final message directly to the designer of the website:
"Something else about your website I'd like to address, since it didn't come up in the questions, is your 'House that Evolution Built' exhibit.  It's meant to be satire, obviously, but it fails even as a joke because, yet again, the details of the exhibit only prove just how little you actually know about evolution. If you honestly, truly care about making creation seem like the only plausible explanation for life to any rational, intelligent, self-respecting human being, then you should actually be doing your homework on evolution, which you clearly aren't.
You should also make your goal to prove creation, not to disprove evolution.  Despite how much creationists love to do so, a hole in a scientific theorem is not open to say "God did it!  Don't bother investigating."  Of all the potential solutions to these quandries, creationism is among the very least likely.
And finally, stop calling creationism a 'theory'.  It is not a theory.  A theory results when a scientific hypothesis is tested to show solid merit.  There is absolutely nothing scientific about creationism.  It doesn't matter how much you believe creationism is correct, it is still not science.
Your website is horribly constructed, the information provided on it is unsubstantiated and full of logical fallacies and, if you really want to help creationists, you should feel ashamed for making something that makes creationists look so bad."

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