User:Junggai/RationalWiki "So you think you've been brainwashed by 'creation science?'"
| The divine comedy|
If you've clicked here, it's quite possible that you've come into some contact with or, goat forbid, been sold a full bill of goods by the quacks who call themselves "creation scientists." Perhaps at some point in your life you've even felt comforted by the possibility that a benevolent creator is directly responsible for everything you see and can imagine, rendering all of the universe's infinite complexity easier to grasp.
If so, there's no reason to be ashamed; if you've grown up in certain parts of the USA, you may not have been given a choice in what you were taught in science class. This has indeed long been the explicit agenda of several organizations on the religious right (See the Wedge Document), not merely to promote the presentation of evolution and creationism in school science classes as two equally plausible theories for the variety of life on Earth, but to make it the only game in town wherever possible.
At RationalWiki, we're incensed and exercised by this state of affairs, and as we consider it our stated mission to refute pseudoscience, have spent many collective hours patiently refuting the main points that creationists tend to use, even some which have been refuted very often in the past. This page serves as a portal for many of these articles.
ABC's of the case against "Creation Science"
The first thing to understand if you've ever heard a church lecture, youtube video, or born-again science teacher that bandies about the term "creation science" or "intelligent design," is that there is no science to be found worthy of the name. This is simply a legal smokescreen that old-fashioned creationists use in an attempt to have biblical fundamentalism taught in public schools.
Yes, we realize that charming characters such as William Dembski speak in scientific language, and that they run experiments and number-crunching exercises that at first glance look like valid science, but it is not overly harsh to say that creation scientists have not produced any scientific proof that the universe and life on Earth were "designed" by a creator.
In fact, their results are not science at all, strictly speaking, since science is the the process of forming a falsifiable hypothesis and testing it to see if it holds up, and then drawing conclusions based on the results. In contrast to this, what creation scientists and intelligent design advocates do is to begin with a conclusion (i.e., that certain phenomena cannot have occurred without input from a creator), and then to "prove" this by designing an experiment whose results will seem to support the conclusion. 
By taking on the name and veneer of science, creationists hope to capitalize on the average person's respect for the kind of real-world benefits that science has brought, but they also hope to exploit the layman's fuzzy understanding of the boundary between belief and assumption. This is done in order to lead their audience to accept that the assumptions required in science (i.e. the stability and predictability of natural forces like gravity and radioactive decay) are on the same level as the belief that all of these forces were put in place by a deity. Commonly-leveled truisms like "evolution is a religion" are typical of creationists' willful obscurantism.
If we can make one thing clear, it's that there is nothing wrong with believing that God, or Nyx, or even Haneullim created the universe. At the same time, even the most devout adherent of a particular religion must be willing to admit that such beliefs are not science, nor are any science-ish attempts to justify one's preferred creation myth deserving of being called as such.
RationalWiki articles about evolution and creationism
Have you had trouble refuting the well-oiled arguments of creationists? The following provides a short list of RationalWiki articles which detail and disarm these typical rhetorical strategies, often with a healthy serving of snark.
Intelligent Design Arguments
Since intelligent design proponents at least attempt to argue in scientific language, these can be the most insidious. Their arguments often avoid explicitly biblical references, but attempt to "disprove" evolution by "proving" that it evolution can't work. Here are some of the typical arguments:
- Argument from beauty
- Argument from design
- Banana fallacy (a favorite of creationist kook Ray Comfort)
- Baraminology (See also Fun:Barmyology
- Bumblebee argument
- How come there are still monkeys?
- How do you know? Were you there?
- Hoyle's fallacy
- Hydroplate theory
- Irreducible complexity
- Omphalos hypothesis
- Lack of transitional fossils
Finally, RationalWiki has a whole page devoted to this goal, Disproving Intelligent Design.
- See also Fun:Unintelligent design
Young Earth Creationist Arguments
On the deep end are the creationists who explicitly argue that the Earth and universe must be around 6000 years old, because the Bible (or rather James Ussher's 19th-century calculations based on a literal interpretation of the Bible) says so. This line of argument of course has many problems, which are addressed in the following articles:
- Branches of science you have to ignore to believe in young Earth creationism
- Evidence against a recent creation
- Flood geology (For a humorous take on this, see Lunar bukkake theory)
- Starlight problem
Those are just a few problems from a scientific standpoint, but in case you're curious, we also have an article explaining the internal problems in the Bible that make a literal reading problematic. See Problems with biblical inerrancy.
Old Earth Creationist Arguments
Though becoming rarer as a result of increasing polarization between science and religion, there are also creationists who argue that there is no conflict between a belief in both the Bible and the scientific account of the age and origins of the universe. RationalWiki also has articles about some of these arguments, not refutations in the sense that the above articles are, rather offering some issues to think about if this is what one chooses to believe:
- Non-overlapping magisteria or "NOMA" (See also Debate:Is_Non-overlapping_magisteria_merely_political_correctness?)
- Theistic evolution
- Day-age creationism
- God of the gaps
RationalWiki's overview on this issue can be found here.
One of the unique features here at RationalWiki is the "side-by-side" article type, which takes a particular text or video and discusses each claim in a format which is easy to take in one glance at a time. This is an especially useful tool in refuting creationist arguments, which, like all propaganda, usually seek to overwhelm the reader/viewer with several arguments and/or plausible-sounding but ultimately misleading (or outright false) claims which they had not previously considered. Our side-by-side articles involving well-known creationist literature include the following:
- 101_evidences_for_a_young_age_of_the_earth_and_the_universe, by Creation Ministries International
- The Edge of Evolution, an interview with Intelligent Design advocate, Dr. Michael Behe
- Evolution:A_Christian's_Faith, an anti-science text found in, we kid you not, a science textbook used in some Christian high schools
- Expelled:_Leader's_Guide; Ben Stein's recent film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed includes a "leader's guide" intended to steer classroom discussion.
- The nuttiest creationist of them all, Kent Hovind (whose doctoral dissertation is so inane that its first sentence would alert even a sympathetic reader that that what follows is something less than serious scholarship), has produced seven two-hour videos promoting creationist beliefs. We've watched them all, so you don't have to! #1, #2,#3, #4, #5, #6
- Question_Evolution, by Creation Ministries International
- The_Positive_Case_for_Design, by Casey Luskin
- The_Search_for_a_Search_-_Measuring_the_Information_Cost_of_Higher_Level_Search, by intelligent design poster boy William Dembski
- What_is_intelligent_design?, by the Discovery Institute
- There is a name for this tactic, the Texas sharpshooter fallacy if you're interested.
- For more on this, see Gish gallop, named after a prominent creationist who is especially known for this technique.
|Evolution Articles on RationalWiki|
|- Acceptance - Cladistics - Common descent: the incontrovertible evidence - De-evolution - Dinosaur - Eugenics - EvoWiki - Evolution - Fossil record - Human - Microevolution - Natural selection - Niche - Palaeos - Phylogenetics - Phylogeny - Signal detection theory - Social Darwinism - Stephen Jay Gould - Theory of Evolution - Uncommon Descent - Evolution -|