In a recent debate on ABC, Kirk Cameron made several false claims regarding evolution which ignore some basics on Paleontology and Taxonomy (2 subjects that are central to an understanding of evolution). These arguments are typical of the straw man arguments and quote mines; Micro vs, Macro Evolution, the ‘lack of transitional fossils,’ the types of intermediates creationists claim ’should’ exist, DNA is a message from God, etc. For this reason, it’s a perfect opportunity to illustrate how creationists distort (or even omit) some basic facts in order to confuse people on evolution.
Claim 1: Evolution starts with nothing, then an explosion (Big Bang) produces everything over billions of years.
Kirk is using arguments from ignorance to ‘disprove evolution’ (ie “The origins of the universe are still a mystery, therefore Evolution is false”). Evolution explains how current life evolved from lower orders, not how the universe began (the study of the universe’s origins is a different field of study altogether). The origins of life, as Brian Sapient pointed out, is known as Abiogenesis, which is a much newer field of study, still very much in its infancy.
Transitional forms are still missing
Chinese farmer fooled the world-wide scientific community with Archeoraptor (a fraudulent fossil) in 1991…
A common claim made in creationism is that “evolutionists were fooled by a fake fossil claim” (with the implication that the rest of the fossil record may be a series of hoaxes and errors). Sometimes these claims are difficult to track down but this one is easy.
I’m not sure what Kirk considers to be “the world-wide scientific community” but suspicions began with Phil Currie’s (the first Paleontologist to even see the fossil) initial inspection, and suspicions were confirmed upon further review. One or two publications jumping on a story does not indicate “the worldwide scientific community,” it indicates stressful deadlines and powerful cover stories that all successful publications are under pressure to comply with and produce.
As always, the scientist who discovered the fake was an “evolutionist” in creationist vernacular. The fact that the frauds are always exposed by ‘evolutionists’ should be more than enough to convince anyone of the validity of the transitional fossils that have undergone rigorous scrutiny and whose findings, as always, must go through peer-review.
Archaeopteryx is “just a bird” because it has feathers.
Archaeopteryx is not ”Just a bird.” It’s a bird that had reptilian features, not found in modern birds (for example, teeth and long tail with multiple vertebrae) and shows up in the fossil record prior to modern birds but in similar layers with feathered dinosaurs. Everything HAS to be classified into a family of animals, and that includes transitional fossils. In fact, some paleontologists consider dinosaurs to be split into avian and non-avian subsets.
“Microevolution has been observed, Macro Evolution hasn’t” “horses don’t produce non-horses”….
The problem with this argument is that it presupposes that “macro evolution” is supposed to happen overnight. In reality it “microevolution” over a longer period of time. The difference in nomenclature refers to the duration of time, not the “method” or “type” of evolution.
If evolution is true, we should see chimera-like animals that are supposed to be the intermediates we would find.
Kirk goes on to show images of a “crocoduck” (duck with a crocodilian head), a “bull frog” (frog with a bull’s head), and a “sheep dog” (sheep with a dog’s head). This is where I begin to have trouble believing he really believes what he is saying. There is no way to argue that evolution would predict such chimera-like creatures. In fact, these types of animals would disprove evolution, because they fall outside of the evolutionary tree pattern. These are in fact the types of animals you’d expect from an omnipotent creator, who is not bound to the same prototype of tetrapods (animals with four limbs). Six legged dogs, cats with wings, birds with feathers PLUS 4 grasping limbs, spiders with 12 legs, etc would all falsify evolution. Instead, everything falls into the same predictable pattern, and we have snakes with leg remnants and pelvises, humans with wisdom teeth and goose bumps that occur for the same reasons a cat’s hair frizzes, and whale embryos with teeth and horse embryos with 5 digits.
Furthermore, we have plenty of living examples of intermediates.
Fish -> Amphibians -> Reptiles
Amphibians -> Reptiles -> Land Mammals
Amphibians -> Reptiles -> Birds
Land Mammals -> Seals -> Whales
Rodents -> Monkeys -> Apes
Monkeys -> Apes -> Humans
As Brian Sapient correctly pointed out, everything is a transition.
*I’d like to point out that the above instances are not to be taken literally in the sense that one animal evolved the previous animal in the sequence, but rather that these are modern day parallels of the types of creatures that would have existed. For example, whales did not evolve from seals, but rather creatures like Ambulocetus Natans. Rather, a seal is simply a modern day mammal with a similar semi-aquatic features as Ambulocetus, and hence, a parallel.
Darwin quote mine
“Often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may have not devoted myself to a fantasy.”
To my knowledge this doesn’t exist, and the few creationist sources I can find using this quote mine, don’t seem to give a reference. Perhaps Answers in Genesis will add this to their list of “Arguments Creationists should not use.”
DNA is a message akin to a message like “John Loves Mary forever” which tells us someone wrote it
I’m not even sure how this is an argument. DNA has no message saying “God was here” or “Jesus loves you.” The fact that our DNA is so similar to a Chimpanzees, and the fact thatour 2nd chromosome is actually 2 chromosomes that recently fused, and bears much semblance to the corresponding chromosome pair in Chimpanzees is just another nail in the creationist coffin.