Who Misunderstands Evolution?
Some pro-Darwin reporters and scientists think that if people just understood evolution, they would accept it.
Occasionally, articles come out in the secular press accusing “creationists” or simpletons in the public of misunderstanding evolution. If the writers of such articles were judged by their own standards, how would they fare? Here’s a test: Paula Kover’s entry on The Conversation, “The five most common misunderstandings about evolution.” Ms. Kover is described as a “reader in biology and biochemistry, University of Bath.” But how well read is she on Darwinism?
Given its huge success in describing the natural world for the past 150 years, the theory of evolution is remarkably misunderstood. In a recent episode of the Australian series of “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here”, former cricket star Shane Warne questioned the theory – asking “if humans evolved from monkeys, why haven’t today’s monkeys evolved”?
Similarly, a head teacher from a primary school in the UK recently stated that evolution is a theory rather than a fact. This is despite the fact that children in the UK start learning about evolution in Year 6 (ten to 11-year-olds), and have further lessons throughout high school. While the theory of evolution is well accepted in the UK compared with the rest of the world, a survey in 2005 indicated that more than 20% of the country’s population was not sure about it, or did not accept it.
She starts off bad with the old straw man tactic. She doesn’t pick any of the leading creation scientists or intelligent design advocates with PhDs in biology or philosophy of science. No; she picks on a “cricket star” and a “primary school” teacher. She follows that with a bandwagon argument, implying that there’s something wrong with anyone who doesn’t go along with something that is “well accepted” as a theory. Well accepted by whom? Is the crowd always right?
Lurching right along, she presents “scientists” as the standard of what must be accepted:
Many studies have tried to determine why evolution is questioned so often by the general public, despite complete acceptance by scientists. Although no clear answer has been found, I suspect the common misconceptions described below have something to do with it.
Here we have quite a conundrum. The very scientists who give “complete acceptance” (a big lie in a bandwagon) to a theory about all life are at a complete loss to understand the majority of their own species, Homo sapiens. The irony appears lost on Ms. Kover.
Next, she stacks up the cards in her favor. The five misconceptions she wishes to debunk are:
- “It’s just a theory.” Her response: gravity is a theory, too. Fallacies in her answer: equivocation, association, either-or, analogy, red herring, best-in-field.
- “Humans are descended from monkeys.” Her response: it was an ape-like ancestor, not a monkey. Fallacies: equivocation, sidestepping, bluffing, subjectivity, glittering generalities, suggestion, circular reasoning.
- “Natural selection is purposeful.” Her response: NS only does the best with what’s available. Fallacies: circular reasoning, infinite regress, personification, reductionism, extrapolation, bluffing.
- “Evolution can’t explain complex organs.” Her response: an eye could have begun with light-sensitive cells. Fallacies: circular reasoning, suggestion, extrapolation, glittering generalities, post hoc, circumstantial evidence, subjectivity.
- “Religion is incompatible with evolution.” Her response: The Pope and the Anglican church accept evolution. Fallacies: bandwagon, plain folks, association, appeasement, half-truth.
Kover’s responses are so predictable from pro-Darwinian boilerplate, and have been addressed so many times in these pages for 15 years, they do not bear lengthy treatment again, except to point out the fallacies. Instead, we will pose the following questions to Kover to see how well she understands the theory she presents as well-accepted fact.
- Can an evolved ape brain apprehend matters of ontology, epistemology and ethics? If not, how do you know evolution is true or even a good theory? Doesn’t a theory that explains one’s mind as the product of mindless impersonal forces refute itself?
- What are the essential differences between apes, monkeys, and humans? Is it a matter of more-of-the-same or fundamental discontinuity in the case of humans? If there is no fundamental difference, how do we know that your selfish genes are not causing you to write this article in order to increase your chances for sex?
- How does the theory of evolution by natural selection differ from the Stuff Happens Law? If it has no better explanatory power, and explains opposite outcomes with equal facility, is it really a theory at all? (see 10/03/15). Are you equally concerned with the evolutionists who misunderstand natural selection, personifying it as a purposeful force (2/11/16)? Would you consider writing another article to rebuke them?
- Please give a detailed Darwinian explanation for the following without a just-so story: (a) the origin of life; (b) the origin of irreducibly complex molecular machines; (c) the origin of the genetic code; (d) the origin of sex; (e) the origin of multicellularity; (f) the origin of animal body plans; (g) the origin of non-adaptive designs, such as the Fibonacci sequence in shells and the geometric shapes of diatoms; (h) the origin of ecological interdependence; (i) the origin of consciousness; (j) the origin of morality.
- Sure there are religious people who accept evolution, just like there are materialists like Dawkins who prefer living in a Christian country. But have you ever considered the contrary possibility that evolutionism represents a rebellion against the self-evident truth of creation as described by David, Jesus and Paul?
If Ms. Kovel wishes to clear up misunderstandings about evolution, perhaps she first needs to understand it better herself. A dialogue with the best Darwin skeptics would be a good start.
We hope you are learning how to respond to the Darwin Party through our pages. Rarely do evolutionists include viewpoints of real men instead of straw men. Here at CEH, we don’t just regurgitate talking points from our side; as you see, we analyze the best of evolutionary scientists and spokespersons, and challenge the bluff of the Darwin propaganda machine on their own turf. Learn Baloney Detecting well so that you can walk on your own feet when you encounter these kinds of one-sided presentations. Try your hand at a short article and video posted by the BBC News, “Why the brain is a marvel of evolution” — that is, if you can avoid throwing up at the cognitive dissonance of watching fantastic evidence for design credited to mindless chance. The brain is a “masterpiece of evolution,” the speaker claims. List the fallacies involved in that statement.