Michael Eriksson
A Swede in Germany
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Faulty arguments of creationists

Introduction

I stumbled onto an interesting example of the absurd reasoning used by some creationists: Creation or Evolution - Which?e by Dr. Seikou Tsukioka.

Below I will discuss some of his arguments and claims.

I have left out much that is just religious talk without relation to the matter at hand, as well as statements not leading anywhere. Further, some statements that are repetitive and debunked by those already discussed have also been left out. Should the reader be a die-hard creationist needing an explanation for any individual unquoted statement (actually pertaining to evolution), he can drop me an email with the quote. Even the non-creationist reader may benefit in understanding from independently visiting the original page with the full text.

Generally, the text quoted is a mixture of misunderstandings and/or misrepresentations of how evolution works, combined with flawed logic and rhetoric. Occasionally Tsukioka demonstrates that he does not understand other branches of science either, including geology and thermodynamics.

Note that I only counter-argue his arguments—there is plenty of evidence for evolution that he has not attacked, and which would also be enough to convince most scientist without the points discussed here.

Tsukioka’s text

Lede

IN THE BIBLE it is written that "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," that He made plants and animals "after their kind," and finally created man and "breathed into him the breath of life." This does not conflict with the discoveries of modern science.

Yes, it does: While modern science does not rule out God as a creator and guiding hand, the separate creation of man is in direct conflict with evolution. The other statements are not clear-cut, either; however, may be acceptable in the right interpretation.

The theory of evolution postulates that all living things came into existence by chance, that living organisms like the amoeba and the jellyfish evolved into fish[...]

Fish did not evolve from amoeba and jellyfish. The “by chance” claim is disputable, because the theory of evolution includes strong guiding mechanisms: It is not like throwing six dice over and over until six sixes show; but to throw the dice, put all sixes aside, throw the non-six dice again, etc.

How about the Giraffe’s Neck?

The Lamarckian theory states that "the giraffe’s neck became longer as it tried to reach for the leaves on tall trees," and Darwinism claims that "over the generations the giraffes that could reach for leaves in tall trees managed to survive."

Lamarckism is entirely outdated and should not be mentioned when criticizing modern day evolutionary theory. The description of Darwinism seems acceptable, if a little simplistic, but is immediately revealed as a straw-man:

But if the extension of the neck is requisite to the survival of the fittest in the evolutionary sense, then the baby giraffe and any other leaf-eating animals with short necks could not survive.

Here we see that critical aspects were left-out: Darwinism would say that a longer neck gives a giraffe better chances than a shorter neck—not that a short-necked giraffe is doomed to die without reproducing. Further, other leaf-eaters may have other adaptions and occupy other niches (lower branches, bushes, grass).

Also, it is said that "...the longer the neck the sooner the discovery of, and the better the chance for escape from enemies." But on the other hand, long necks surely make them more conspicuous and readily visible to their enemies. So it is obvious that the giraffe’s neck is not long as the result of evolutionary change, nor because it is most needful for survival.

The first two statements are true; however, it is not shown that the second would outweigh the first—and certainly not the increased browsing abilities. In particular, it is noteworthy that grazing animals tend to stand around fully visible even on a long distance anyway, while predators will typically try to hide and sneak up until they are at “attack distance”. Another consideration is smell: Predators often go by smell in addition to sight—while themselves staying “upwind” of the prey. Correspondingly, the net benefit of a long neck will be positive.

The third is a non sequitur. Note further that such changes can often appear in a complicated manner: Assume e.g. that the giraffes neck originally grew to survey enemies, and that this incidentally enabled them to browse a higher part of the tree, increasing both the benefit and the growth of the neck; or that there was a “arms race” between an ever growing neck and ever higher lowest branches.

The sheep which cannot reach for tree leaves eats grass. Neither can the sheep become a giraffe through the process of natural selection.

The sheep cannot become a giraffe—true. However, there is nothing that would prevent a sheep to develop into a long-legged and -necked creature browsing on high-up leaves if the right evolutionary pressure was present.

Now the Bible (God’s Word) states that the original species of both plants and animals were made by God "according to its kind." This must be true. God made the giraffe a giraffe and the sheep a sheep from the beginning.

The second and third sentences are leaps of faith given without even remotely sufficient rational justification. Even the claim that the Bible is God’s Word is dubious and unproved—even if we assume, for the sake of argument, that God exists (another entirely unproved claim).

Mutation Does not Produce Good Species

It is known that mutations occur at the rate of once or twice in one hundred thousand chances, and that in most cases they cause functional disability, demonstrating that repeated mutations result in retrogression and not in progression.

The whole point of evolutionary theory is that the results of mutations (and other changes) are filtered so that negative results are (with a higher degree of probability) removed and positive kept. The quote gives the impression that someone takes six dies with a total of 25 eyes, re-throws, and ends up with 21 eyes. The correct analogy would be to multiply the dies into ten sets of 25 eyes, re-throw one randomly chosen dice in each set, and then keep the best of the resulting sets. (Strictly speaking, keep each set with a probability increasing with the number of eyes.) A simple experiment made at home will show that this gives an upwards tendency in the number of eyes—and the stronger the lower the initial number of eyes were. (For numbers close to perfection, 36, up-and-downs will be common; which could arguable be what happens with mutations in humans, but only because of the preceding evolution.)

The results of many mutation experiments have shown that there is not a single case of a new species arising from mutation but only variants within the same species.

New species do not arise by one single mutation, but by an accumulated mass of divergence from the original species. Consider the similarly oriented sorites paradoxw: Add or remove one grain of sand (resp. mutation), and everything remains the same. Repeat the procedure over and over, and in the end a change becomes indisputable.

Evolutionists arrange their fossils in order and claim: "Both plants and animals gradually evolved from the simple to the complex." In other words, they contend that things evolved in the order A-B-C. If that were true, in the process of evolution there should be a medium stage between A and B, and between B and C, the "missing links" species AB and BC. But meticulous examination of the fossils has produced no discovery of any specimen in the transition stage. Moreover, such medial links are not found anywhere among present-day plants and animals.

This is at best a straw-man: There are plenty of “medial links” and in, at least, some cases a convincing trail of fossils can be followed. That there are many apparent holes is unavoidable considering the low probability that appropriate fossils should have been both preserved and found.

Change of Species Impossible

Appearance of variations within the same species (A1 or A2) or (B1 or B2) is not evolutionary change, but it is absolutely impossible for species A to become species B.

Unsupported claims; the first of which may be wrong per definition (depending on what exactly is meant); the second of which being provably wrong, except as discussed below.

It is obvious from Mendel’s Law of Heredity that there can be different varieties of dogs but a dog can never produce a cat.

This is a straw-man attack: Evolutionary theory does not claim that dogs can evolve into cats—it claims that dogs can evolve into a new non-dog species.

It seems that the theory of evolution has confused evolution and variation, or that it errs in believing that during the process of the development of varieties there might be deviation into a new species.

Empty rhetoric—and, again, there is solid evidence for speciation.

For example, breeding a horse and a donkey produces a mule, but mules are sterile and between themselves they cannot bear offspring. Also a lion and a leopard can reproduce a leopon but it also remains sterile. This demonstrates the limitation of procreativity to the same species.

Firstly, this again overlooks a variation of the sorites paradox. Secondly, this is begging the question: By the typical definition of species, fertile offspring is only possibly within the same species. If leopons (and lipards) were sufficiently fertile to allow long-term breeding and inter-breeding, lions and leopards would be of the same species. Effectively, the quote tries to create a Catch-22 by use of sophistry concerning the meaning of the word “species”. (The Catch-22 fails due to gradual changes/sorites paradox.)

Why the Similarities in Structure and Growth?

Is not the reason for similarities in both plants and animals, that is, in their corresponding structures, physical organs and growth processes, due to the fact that they all have a common Creator? Similarity is no proof for evolution. Take buildings for an example. By no natural change can a dog house transform into a one-story wooden house, then into a steel-frame structure and then finally into a ferro-concrete building.

If members of different species had been created by God, there would be no discernible reason for them to be similar—apart from speculation that there is one superior building plan (which is not born out by the many sub-optimal solutions) or that God lacks fantasy (unlikely).

Similarity is not a proof of evolution, but neither is it of creation—and similarity is a near necessity of evolution, but not of creation.

What do buildings have to do with anything? Darwin never claimed that buildings were the product of evolution, so why should the fact that a dog cannot evolve into a building be against his teachings?

Absence of Evolutionary Progress

According to the theory of evolution, man evolved through the following chain of stages over a long stretch of time: unicellular organisms (amoeba, etc)- invertebrates (jellyfish, sea anemone, etc)- amphibians - reptiles - mammals- man. But if such is the case, then how can we explain the existence today of amoeba, jellyfish and fish which are not going through evolutionary development? Recently, a fish fossil, supposedly fifteen million years old, was found in Yamagata Prefecture (Japan), and when it was compared to a living specimen of the same variety, hardly any change was found. This is proof that there is no "evolutionary process" even after fifteen million years.

This demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of how evolution and speciation works (and the hierarchy given is faulty): Evolution does not necessitate that one species as a whole becomes another species. Quite the contrary, it is normal for new species to take off from a sub-population (e.g. after geographic isolation). The rest of the population may remain the same species, only very slowly evolving (if it is well-adapted for its niche and the niche remains, there is certainly no need for it to die out), or developing into yet other species.

Noah’s Flood

In the Jurassic Period, the global climate was mild and there are evidences that there was lush tropical vegetation even at the south pole. However, the earth’s temperature dropped suddenly, making it unbearable for the dinosaurs, which then died abruptly because of the cold and thus became extinct. The evolutionists do not know the cause of this phenomenon. Only the Bible gives an explanation of this catastrophe.

This is a gross misrepresentation: Dinosaurs died out (according to the near-consensus theory) after an asteroid strike at the end of the Cretaceous (not the Jurassic). The Bible does not give an explanation for any temperature drop. (In the hair-splitting department, I note that birds are monophyletically speaking dinosaurs, and that the dinosaurs are, therefore, arguably not extinct.)


Side-note:

This quote is followed by a lengthy explanation of how the “great flood” would have caused a temperature drop. Apart from being extremely speculative and not supported by strong arguments, it overlooks details such as how the dinosaurs would have survived long enough to be killed by the cold, or why human and dinosaur skeletons have never been found together (if Noah were alive when the dinosaurs died out, there should have been at least some cases).

It further contains oddities like a complete misunderstanding of mechanisms relating to Carbon 14, or having a very ... unusual ... take on geology.


Regarding Primitive Man

The so-called "primitive man," such as the Neanderthal and the Cro-Magnon man, has a larger skull capacity than modern man. He stands erect and is not in any way inferior to man of today.

The skull capacity does not indicate intelligence in a deterministic manner: There are many animals, e.g the elephant, who have a larger cranial capacity than humans do without being more intelligent. Like with a computer chip, better use of space is a part of humankind’s success. Besides, Cro-Magnons are considered modern humans for almost all practical purposes (unlike the Neanderthals) and would not stand out as non-humans in today’s multi-racial societies—trying to point to this as a counter-argument against evolution is misleading at best, like saying “my father was not a monkey; ergo, evolution does not work”.

Recently it was discovered that the fragments of fossils of the Java man, Ramapithecus, and Australopithecus are skeletal remains of large monkeys.

Except as far as humans, too, are large monkeys, this is an outrageous lie: In current classification, the Java man (specimens of Homo Erectus) count as almost-human, and Australopithecus and Ramapithecus are at least members of Hominidae and, thereby, apes. Even if they were just large monkeys, however, this would disprove nothing—after all, man’s descent from early monkeys is one of the claims of evolution; and monkey ancestors and monkey cousins of ancestors will necessarily be found, if we go back far enough in time.

Life from Lifeless Matter?

In recent years, with the great progress in molecular biology research, it has become clear that life cannot be generated from a lifeless substance even with the passage of hundreds of millions of years. This fact is obvious even from Pasteur’s experiments.

This is simply not correct: There are no such scientific results. Pasteur, dead in 1895, has nothing to say about the modern state of the issue.

From the Laws of Science

Supposing man made a cell, if it is left alone, with the passing of time, it will disintegrate and return to its original component elements. This happens in accordance with the Second Law of Thermodynamics (Law of Entropy), which states that, "Bodies of complex structure gradually deteriorate into simpler forms." Thus, even the laws of science do not validate the evolutionary progress of matter but its regression.

Tsukioka proves that he does not understand what science says about Thermodynamics either: Try e.g.

In a system, a process that occurs will tend to increase the total entropy of the universe.

(Second law of thermodynamicsw)

instead. Entropy is a system-wide property, and there is nothing that speaks against a local increase. In fact, local increases can be trivially observed in everyday life, e.g. when doing house cleaning. The original growth of an apple (the text has an image of a fresh and a dried-up apple at this place) is another observable example.

Sexless Forms to Sexual Forms - Why?

Why do cells, through the process of simple cell division, increase by two’s four’s, and eight’s etc.? Also, how does sexless reproduction change into sexual reproduction? In order to effect production of offspring by union of a male and female, it is necessary for the male and female reproductive organs to evolve fully into child-bearing capability, simultaneously and close to each other. If such a transformation were possible for both sexes at the same time, then evolution is nothing short of a miracle.

Here, for the first time, an argument is raised that is not entirely without value. The exact mechanisms that lead to life, sexes, and similar, are indeed not yet fully explained and understood; however, there are theories that indicate how it could have happened. The problem, nowadays, is less about determining whether a certain chess position could occur naturally during play, and more of finding the sequence moves that were actually used.

Further, even if it were not possible, this would not invalidate the theory of evolution, but only necessitate divine intervention in a very small area.

The Intricate and Exquisite Cell

It is clear from this [a description of a cell under an electron microscope] that it is impossible for even a cell to have evolved or come about by mere chance.

As discussed above, evolution is not about chance, but a combination of chance and controlling processes. As anyone who has dealt on a non-trivial level with subjects like complexity, computer science, or mathematics knows: This is enough to construct structures of a comparable complexity. (Consider a Mandelbrot set for one of many similar examples.) In fact, constructing such structures using automatic mechanisms based on simple processes is far easier than to do so by hand.

Renewal of 1,200,000,000,000 cells in the Human Body

No scientist can make even one single cell. Who produces the new 1,200,000,000,000 cells every day and causes you to live? It is none other than the almighty and omniscient God.

This is pure idiocy: Why would the capabilities of a scientist matter here? Why should we jump to the conclusion that God is involved in this manner, rather that go by the actual observations of cellular reproduction by natural means?

Changing Body and the Unchanging Spirit of Man

In this manner, through metabolism, the blood, muscles of your body, and even the protein in the 100,000,000,000 brain cells undergo a total change and are completely renewed in a mere one hundred and twenty days. Why is it then that you do not lose your power of recollection? Neither is there any change in the consciousness of self.

Apart from the numbers seeming highly suspect to me, I note that there is no contradiction between exchange of cells and a kept recollection/consciousness: If I take a Lego building and replace one piece a day with a near identical piece, then the building will remain recognizably the same through-out. True, if we compare the house on day one and one year later, the accumulated changes may well be noticeable—but so it is with humans too.

After Only Two Hundred and Eighty Days...

You did not develop into a man, after fertilization from one cell after millions of years of evolution. After a mere 280 days in your mother’s womb, all the organs of your a body developed, and you became a complete human being.

This confuses development of the individual with development of the species. It would be equally wrong to compare the process of building an individual car with the work of developing the model it belongs to.

You Were Created by God

[The oft repeated and oft debunked eye–camera example.]

This has been done to death already—and the eye is a structure of which evolutionary scientists have a very solid understanding.