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In Debate with Evolutionists

by Rachel D. Ramer

There is more to discussing evolution than debating the age of the earth or the wing breadth of the archaeopteryx. There is value, for example, in examining how evolutionists make their defense. Looking beyond the argument to the arguer's techniques can expose fallacious reasoning which keep many from considering the God of Creation.

If Christians plan to argue from the Genesis account of creation, they must first support biblical authenticity. Although the Bible can be supported, that may be the long way around. When Scripture is introduced, evolutionists launch into one of their "best" fallacies: false distinction -- the banning of "religion" from scientific debate.

A shortcut is to point out how evolutionists engage in logical fallacies such as the "straw man," "bias ad hominem," "false distinction," and "non sequitur" fallacies. The first three are used in attempts to invalidate the creationists' stance; the fourth endeavors to validate macroevolution (the change from one species into another) as legitimate science.

The Argument You So Eloquently Refuted Was Not Mine! A strawman fallacy involves the misrepresentation of an opponent's argument to refute him or her easily. Stephen Jay Gould, in his article, "Evolution as Fact and Theory" in the May 1981 issue of Discover Magazine, attempted to refute creationism by saying, "We have abundant, direct, observational evidence of evolution in action, from both the field and the laboratory." His point: evolution is an irrefutable fact, and creationists ignore this certainty.

Yet, the evidence he cited supported microevolution, involving changes that take place within separate species. Creationists have no contention with the concept of microevolution.

In fact, A. E. Wilder-Smith, in his book The Natural Sciences Know Nothing of Evolution (T.W.F.T. Publishers), makes a case for both negative and positive mutations (microevolution) working against macroevolution. Negative mutations weaken the creature, a tendency that does not support survival of the fittest; positive mutations make it a stronger creature, helping to preserve its own class. In the latter case, the variations are the means that allow the species to survive distinct from other species.

The fact that many evolutionists use microevolution to refute creationism shows the seriousness of this fallacy. Pointing this out can dispel the misconception that Christians do not accept scientific fact.

Religious Bias Disqualifies. A bias ad hominem fallacy has to do with disqualifying someone's argument simply because the arguer has a special bias in the issue. For example, someone with a religious experience or belief is disqualified from having a valid opinion about his or her own religion. It is fitting to check the soundness of a biased person's argument, but it is wrong to reject the argument solely because of the arguer's bias.

In the 1982 trial of McLean vs. Arkansas, which centered around teaching both theories of origins in public schools, questions were