Monday, April 04, 2005
Dear creationists: Hit me with your best shot.
(This article has been deliberately post-dated so that it remains here for at least the next week. Newer articles are regularly posted below this one.)
(UPDATE, Sun, Apr 3: Apparently, someone tried the "here's my best arguments against evolution" strategy over at Pharyngula, and got pasted for his trouble.)
(FINAL THOUGHTS, Mon, Apr 4: Well, that experiment was a dud. Apparently, no creationists were willing to step up to the plate. Pity.)
In what might prove to be an embarrassing example of bad judgment on my part, I am going to turn this site over to the advocates of creation science and Intelligent Design Creationism and let them submit what they consider their best -- their absolute best -- piece of evidence, either for creation science or ID, or against biological evolution. But there are going to be rules, so pay attention.
When it comes to creationists, there's a depressing tendency to try to defend creationism or discredit evolution using what is called the "shotgun approach"; this involves spewing numerous (generally illogical or just plain stupid) arguments out at high speed, hoping your opponent just can't keep up. The idea is to leave the impression with a gullible audience that, since you have so many pieces of evidence, well, some of them have to be valid.
A perfect example of this kind of tap dancing is creationist Walter Brown who published a 1983 book entitled, "The Scientific Case for Creation: 108 Categories of Evidence," a wretched little piece of dishonesty that was thoroughly eviscerated here. But it's not the quality of Brown's scholarship that's even the issue -- it's his obvious strategy to inundate the reader with various "evidences" to the point that you might start to think, gee, there's got to be a pony under all that manure somewhere. No, sorry, it really is all just manure.
And it's to that end that I'm challenging supporters of creationism or ID, if they're feeling ambitious, to submit what they think is the best, most compelling and most irrefutable single piece of evidence they can come up with to support their position. And note the emphasis on "single". I don't want to see Brown's scattershot approach -- "Well, there's this, and if you don't agree with that, well, I got this, too ..."
Bottom line is, you get one shot at this so take your time, do your research, write it up as if you're functionally literate and post it to the comments section. However, before you get all excited, let me give you some advice to keep you from embarrassing yourselves.
First, I've been looking at this stuff for years so chances are good I've seen pretty much every popular argument that's ever been presented. What this means is that you really shouldn't submit something that's been thoroughly debunked for years. That means I don't want to hear about the shrinking sun, the amount of dust on the moon, the amount of helium in the atmosphere, dinosaur and man tracks together in the Paluxy River, trees embedded in multi-layer strata or how radiometric dating is unreliable. (And, related to that last point, I really don't want to read submissions where you don't even know the difference between radiometric and radiocarbon dating. If you submit something like that, I will hold you up to unlimited scorn and ridicule. Trust me.)
And, even more importantly, you shouldn't even think of submitting an alleged evidence that has already been rejected by other creationists. That would be an unspeakably bone-headed thing to do, especially since I just told you not to, capische?
So, with the ground rules out of the way, go wild. Remember, you get to submit and defend a single piece of evidence. Any submission that violates that rule will be either deleted without comment or left there and made fun of, depending on what kind of mood I'm in.
Let the games begin.
UPDATE, Wed, Mar. 30, 6:40 AM: Hmmmmm ... response a little disappointing so far. Apparently, creationists are not keen on the idea of having to actually make a claim and defend it.