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Top 10 Myths About Creationism

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Darwin ape
 
 

If Humans Came From Apes, Why Aren't Apes Evolving Into Humans?

We actually share a common ancestor with apes, from around 10-14 million years ago (at least). Our common ancestor with apes is much more recent, 4-7 million years ago. Today's apes and monkeys are just as "evolved" as we are since those common ancestors, just in different ways. The complaint "why are there still apes if humans evolved from apes" is a bit like asking "why do I have cousins if my mother gave birth to me."
Our common ancestors didn't change into humans, but gave rise to different lines of descent that ended up with you, me, and the other great apes

human tree
 
 
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There Are Too Many Gaps in the Fossil Record for Evolution to Be True

Fossil hominid skulls:

human evolution

In fact, there are lots of intermediate fossils! Considering the very low probability that a dead plant or animal will fossilize it is remarkable we have as many fossils as we do. First the dead animal has to escape the jaws of scavengers. Then is has to be buried under very rare circumstances that will cause it to fossilize instead of decay. Then geological forces have to somehow bring the fossil back to the surface to be discovered millions of years later by the handful of paleontologists looking for them. [1]

One fact to note is that the sequences of strata were developed by creationist geologists long before Darwin came up with his theory, so they could not have been influenced by evolutionary theory. According to the creationist flood all species, or "kinds" should be found together in the same strata. If the biblical flood were true, there would be a mix of fossils with no particular order, all in the same strata. Creationists totally ignore the stratigraphical context of the fossils in their interpretation of the fossils.

Evolutionary theory would be falsified if any of the five thousand present-day species of mammals, including human, or the ten thousand present-day species of birds were found in the fossil strata where they should not be found (for example, in the same strata with dinosaur fossils). No such finds have ever been made. You can be sure that if any creationist could ever find a rabbit or a squirrel fossil in with the dinosaur fossils, they would be instantly famous. So would the scientist that disproved evolution.

Why Doesn't the Fossil Record Show Gradual Change?

Punctuated Equilibrium: A theory that describes an evolutionary change happening rapidly and in brief geological events in between the long periods of stasis (or equilibrium). The theory is based on the stasis in fossil records, and when phenotypic evolution occurs, it is localized in rare, rapid events of branching speciation. [2] One species can give rise to a new species when a small “founder” group breaks away and becomes isolated from the ancestral group. This new founder group, as long as it remains small and detached, may experience relatively rapid change (large populations are genetically stable). The speciational change happens so rapidly that few fossils are left to record it. But once changed into a new species, the individuals will retain their phenotype for a long time, leaving behind many well-preserved fossils. [1]

 

punctuated equilibrium
 
 

No One Has Ever Seen Evolution Happen

Creationists make the claim that no one has ever seen evolution happen. In many cases they are wrong, some species can evolve in a matter of decades or even less. The most infamous case of a species evolving before our eyes is the toxic cane toad in Australia.
The Cane toads were imported from South America in the 1930s to eat pests from sugar cane fields. Instead, they escaped and have been leaping across large parts of northeastern Australia ever since.
A few years ago, Australian researchers monitoring the toad invasion discovered that the hind legs of toads at the forefront of the invasion, "the pioneers," had been getting longer over the last seven decades, compared to those cane toads in more settled areas.
Apparently there's a big fat payoff for the first toads to reach virgin territories: more offspring. So over the toad generations, the toads with the longest, strongest legs have been rewarded, while those with shorter legs have lost out or just stayed behind.
Nature has been selecting a longer-legged pioneers. Viola! Evolution in action. [3]

toxic cane toad
 
 
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Science Claims That Evolution Happens by Random Chance

Natural Selection
By the process of natural selection a population becomes better suited to its habitat over many generations. Natural selection is not “random” nor does it operate by “chance.” Natural selection preserves the gains and eradicates the mistakes.

This involves the following stages:
a. The offspring of living forms inherits an exact copy of the vast majority of their parents’ genetics.
b. The remaining small amount is made up of random variations within the genes they receive from their parents.
c. These variations may increase or decrease the capability of the organism to survive, or may have no impact on its chances of survival.
d. Organisms with a beneficial variation will survive in greater proportion than those without it.
e. The increased proportion that survives will pass on this beneficial trait to their offspring.
f. Over many generations, this beneficial trait becomes an integral part of the species.

Only an Intelligent Designer Could HaveMade Something as Complex as an Eye

Irreducible complexity is a concept popularized by Michael Behe in his 1996 book Darwin's Black Box to support intelligent design. Intelligent design pushers argue that while some systems and organs can be explained by evolution, those that are irreducibly complex cannot, and therefore an intelligent designer must be responsible. [4]

Explanation from Uncyclopedia:
An argument that states that because something doesn't work when broken down to its component parts it must be impossible for it to have been developed gradually.
Or something that Michael Behe, after sitting down and thinking of, s

eye
ometimes, as long as 5 minutes, cannot explain without recourse to an intelligent designer. Frequently, believers in this philosophy cite the eye as an example of something too complex to have evolved. The argument is frequently presented with a question of the type, "What use is half an eye?". However, if the question is recast as "Given a choice, would you prefer to be completely blind or have 50% of your present vision?", then it becomes clear that the question is badly formed, especially when keeping in mind that many species manage to survive with significantly less advanced eyes. Examples include the polychaete worms, which can distinguish between light and dark; the simple eye-cup of the flatworms, for finding the direction of a light source; jellyfish and scallops, with simple eyes, for detecting movement; the famous compound eyes of the insects, which can make out simple shapes, and ultimately the sophisticated single-lens eyes of the molluscs and vertebrates. [5]

Evolution is Only A Theory

The word theory, in the context of science, does not imply uncertainty. It means "a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena" (Barnhart 1948). In the case of the theory of evolution, the following are some of the phenomena involved.

• Life appeared on earth more than two billion years ago;
• Life forms have changed and diversified over life's history;
• Species are related via common descent from one or a few common ancestors;
• Natural selection is a significant factor affecting how species change.

Many other facts are explained by the theory of evolution as well.
   1. The theory of evolution has proved itself in practice. It has useful applications in epidemiology, pest control, drug discovery, and other areas (Bull and Wichman 2001; Eisen and Wu 2002; Searls 2003).
   2. Besides the theory, there is the fact of evolution, the observation that life has changed greatly over time. The fact of evolution was recognized even before Darwin's theory. The theory of evolution explains the fact.
   3. If "only a theory" were a real objection, creationists would also be issuing disclaimers complaining about the theory of gravity, atomic theory, the germ theory of disease, and the theory of limits (on which calculus is based). The theory of evolution is no less valid than any of these. Even the theory of gravity still receives serious challenges (Milgrom 2002). Yet the phenomenon of gravity, like evolution, is still a fact.
   4. Creationism is neither theory nor fact; it is, at best, only an opinion. Since it explains nothing, it is scientifically useless.

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Evidence for Human Evolution HasTurned Out to Be Fake or Fraud

The self-correcting feature of the scientific method is one of its most powerful assets. Hoaxes like Piltdown Man, and honest mistakes like Nebraska Man, Calaveras Man, and Hespero-pithecus, are, in time, corrected. In fact, it wasn’t creationists who exposed these errors, it was scientists who did so. Creationists simply read about the scientific exposé of these errors, and then duplicitously claimed them as their own.[1] It is also a logical fallacy to believe that since somebody perpetrates a phoney fossil or some other sort of false evidence, that it makes the other side of the argument true.

 
 
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The Second Law of Thermodynamics Proves That Evolution is Impossible

This is a very old argument that has been explained many times, only to be brought up by new creationists. The Second Law of Thermodynamics applies only to closed systems. Since the Earth receives a constant input of energy from the sun—it is an open-dissipative system —entropy may decrease and order increase (though the sun itself is running down in the process). Thus, the Earth is not strictly a closed system and life may evolve without violating natural law. As long as the sun is burning, life may continue to thrive and evolving, just like automobiles may be prevented from rusting, burgers can be heated in ovens, and all manner of things in apparent violation of Second Law entropy may continue. But as soon as the sun burns out, entropy will take its course and life on Earth will cease. [1]

sun
 
 

Evolution Can't Account For Morality

We humans evolved a deep sense of right and wrong in order to accentuate and reward reciprocity, cooperation and punish selfishness, etc. Evolution created the moral emotions that tell us that lying, adultery, and stealing are wrong because they destroy trust in human relationships that depend on truth-telling, fidelity and respect for property. On the constitution of human nature is built the constitutions of human societies. [1]

morality2
 
 
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Comments

May 29, 2014 12:46am
brent_writes
As someone who grew up in a fundamentalist Christian home but is no longer a Christian, I think you've written a nice rational defense of evolution without being disrespectful. It must be difficult to decide what to keep and what to cut in an article like this because the subject is so broad, and because the varieties of creationism (if you include the various flavors of creation science) vary so greatly in what they believe--from literal 'six days creationism' all the way to, "Of course, evolution is evidence of just how wonderful God's methods are." Again, very good article.
Thanks,
Brent

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Bibliography

  1. 2010 Skeptics Society "top10 Myths about evolution." The Skeptics Society & Skeptic Magazine. 3/04/2014 <Web >
  2. "Punctuated equilibrium ." Biology online. 3/04/2014 <Web >
  3. "Evolution Before Your Eyes." http://news.discovery.com. 3/04/2014 <Web >
  4. "Irreducible complexity." creationwiki. 3/04/2014 <Web >
  5. "Examples of flawed arguments." rationalwiki.org. 3/04/2014 <Web >
  6. "Claim CA201:." talk origins. 3/04/2014 <Web >

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