Tuesday, 14 July 2009
A favorite creationist tactic is to deny any and all evidence for any piece of science that contradicts their beliefs. But, some take it even further. They will look at the evidence that does exist, declare that it's not enough, then summarily dismiss all the evidence as non-existent. I hope the following example shows how absurd this line of thinking is.
Suppose person A lives in California and person B lives in New York. Let's say that person A and person B run into each other in CA and person A asks how person B got there. B claims that she drove her car from NY to CA. A then asks for evidence.
B remembers that she kept some of her receipts. She has receipts from gassing up a couple times along the way. She has some receipts from eating meals along the road. But, alas she doesn't have every single receipt, so she can't form an unbroken line. Further, she can't account for the gaps in between receipts - for instance, how did she get to dinner from lunch? She can present her car, but this is not enough for A. A claims that due to some missing receipts and not having enough evidence, none of the receipts, the car, or anything else that B presents count as evidence that B did indeed drive across the country.
Clearly, this is a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater though. A has taken the evidence that does exist, and thrown it away as if it did not simply because it did not meet A's demands. Without a full explanation down to some nebulous detail, nothing counts at all toward an explanation in A's eyes. Yet, it's absurd to claim that those receipts do not constitute some evidence of the claim made by B, as we can all hopefully see. Never-the-less, we see this attitude from creationists all the time in denying wide swathes of science, whether it be evolution, abiogenesis, the age of the Earth, the age of the universe, or even modern medicine. In short, the creationist would rather deny reality in order to hold onto her preconceptions than to accept reality for what it is and shape her beliefs around it. Yet, it's a bad argument to make, because it only makes the creationist look silly and uninformed.