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Creationist’s Toolbox #2 – Evolution is only a theory

Posted by Brandon | Filed under Creationist's Toolbox

If you are an advocate of creationism you may have argued, as to try and discredit evolution, that “Evolution is only a theory.” Unfortunately, what you are implying reveals a dire misunderstanding of the word ‘theory’.

Let me illuminate by showing you a few definitions of the word:

1) the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another
2) abstract thought : speculation

If you are using the second definition, the colloquial sense, then you are not understanding it’s definition from the perspective of science. Here’s another definition that might shed some light on the matter:

5) a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena

What you are implying is that the theory of evolution is a hypothesis (“a tentative assumption made in order to draw out and test its logical or empirical consequences”). So if scientists referred to evolution as The hypothesis of evolution, there would be a point to be had.

I’ll put this a little more plainly as to avoid anymore confusion on the matter. The theory of evolution and evolution itself are two completely different principles of thought. Evolution, the fact that all living things develop genetic mutations whereupon natural selection favors certain traits in accordance to the population’s ecosystem is under no debate. The fact that we have a common ancestor with chimpanzee’s is, as well, under no debate. The theory of evolution and the specifics of how these facts relate to each other will undoubtedly change and advance as this natural phenomenon is studied further and refined by the scientific method. The fact that all creatures evolve will never be disputed. It is akin to denying gravity, or that the earth revolves around the sun.

To put it even more plainly, a theory is a set of observable facts (you drop an apple, it falls to the ground) that form a coherent and testable understanding of how these facts relate to each other. So when you say that “evolution is only a theory” you’re really not saying anything and only proving to your opponent that you have no understanding of the meaning. Hopefully this cleared that up and you will avoid this common pitfall I have witnessed in far too many debates.

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Creationist’s Toolbox #1 – “Descendent’s From Apes”

Posted by Brandon | Filed under Creationist's Toolbox

I have added a new category to my posts that will alleviate some of the common tensions during religious debate. I name it the “Creationist’s Toolbox”. These will be short articles that are an olive branch from me to the fundamentalist community to save them from embarrassment when they are debating. These are in no way meant to be conceited but simply give Christians (and other theologies) a fighting chance since reason and debate are at the core of the human experience. I know that plenty of theists know these things but these “toolboxes” are not for you. They are for those whose only source of information is from their church or community and have warped ideas that end up embarrassing them in public and ruining any further credibility they had. Let us begin with number 1:

It’s a heated debate, the atheist is throwing everything they have at you. Evolution, radiometric dating, continental drift, natural selection! Shit! You’re getting flustered; how will you cope? In a moment of self-preservation you say with desperation “If we came from chimpanzee’s, why are there still chimps around?” Oh no, the atheist has his head in his hands and is mocking you. Now nothing you say will be taken seriously, even if it has a legitimate point.

You must not fall into this ever so common trap of scientific fallacy. Also, don’t you think all these scientists would have pondered this issue by now? That’s beside the point though. Evolution in no way implies that we “come from chimps” or that we “come from apes”. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of evolution. What the evidence for evolution reveals is a common ancestor. That is, there is a common ancestor between chimpanzee’s and humans that split off during natural selection; one becoming modern day chimps and the other homo sapiens. Everything in nature has a cousin in the hierarchical evolutionary tree. The video at the bottom of this article is from evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins explaining this exact point visually and concisely.

That completes toolbox #1. Good luck with your debates!