Creationists are the Ultimate Skeptics





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Published on May 27, 2007

Creationists are the ultimate skeptics
Creationists are the ultimate skeptics. They will believe in men being raised from the dead and talking ghosts that can impregnate virgins without even a shred of evidence, but when confronted with the evidence for biological evolution they transform into staunch critics upholding the highest burdens of proof ever constructed.
The theory of evolution is actually supported with a wide array of evidence. Evolution is right up there with basic principles of elementary physics in terms of observational support. In the face of such overwhelming evidence, critics adopt standards of such unreasonableness that virtually nothing could be considered true if we applied such standards across all areas of inquiry and knowledge. The creationist's argument is based on selectively raising standards. If other proposed ideas were supported by evidence to the degree that biological evolution is, creationists would certainly not doubt these ideas, for example, the theory of gravity and the atomic theory. However, the theory of evolution is fair game for doubt, because creationists selectively demand implausible degrees of evidence for its truth, and won't accept anything less.
Notice how these facts could only truly be considered criticisms of evolutionary theory if we expected complete and total mathematical proof for biological evolution. The problem, of course, is that empirical sciences do not deal with formal proofs of absolute certainty, and must instead rely on evidence and probability, like much of our every day knowledge.
In normal scenarios, creationists do not have such high standards of proof. If, for instance, they found a half-eaten deer carcass surrounded by wolf paw prints, the reasonable conclusion is that the wolves ate the deer. If subsequently they found wolves near by, covered in deer blood, and analyzed the vomit of one wolf and found that it contained deer meat that would be further evidence in support of the rather obvious conclusion that wolves ate the deer in question.
Now, if some wolf-loving skeptic wanted to protect the wolves from this charge of murder, he could adopt the creationist strategy and utilize unreasonably high standards of proof to shield him from criticism. He could argue, for instance, that because no one "observed" the wolves eating the deer, we could doubt the conclusion.
For this skeptic, all the evidence pointing towards the wolves means nothing to him if we cannot directly observe the event in question. He could also remark that the wolf theory leaves out certain details. For instance, it doesn't tell us exactly how many wolves were involved, or whether the wolves first attacked from the right or left side, or whether the deer happened to be looking down at its feet when the attack occurred. They could argue that deer are faster than wolves so it is impossible. The skeptic could argue that these "gaps" in the theory rule out the wolf hypothesis.
Of course, any reasonable person can see that the wolf skeptic sets his standards of proof way too high. We need not directly observe the event, nor explain every trite and inane detail in order to know that the wolves did indeed eat the deer. The evidence of the eaten deer carcass, the wolf paw prints, and blood spattered wolves, the deer meat in the vomit, and so on, all show without a doubt that the deer was eaten by the wolves.
Creationists use almost the exact same sorts of arguments against evolution. When they argue that huge biological changes resulting from evolution have never been observed, they do not realize that scientists need not directly observe single-celled organisms becoming primates in order to reasonably conclude that such an event occurred, just as those who believe that the wolves ate the deer need not directly observe the event to know that it truly happened, given the abundance of evidence supporting the claim.

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