How NOT To Argue Against Macro Evolution
I do not believe that Darwin’s theory of macro evolution is true. I believe that God specially created each individual kind of animal on the earth. Although MICRO evolution has caused variations among different kinds of animals to come about (e.g different breeds of dogs and cats, etc.). In a recent blog post I gave arguments against atheistic macro evolution and criticized the arguments often given in favor of it. In this post however, I will be pointing out arguments that Christians often give that are very bad arguments against evolution. They don’t work. The purpose of this blog post is to help Christians become aware of which arguments don’t work so that they can avoid making themselves look silly when having discussions with atheists.
Argument No. 1: If we evolved from monkeys, why do we still have monkeys?
This is probably the most common argument lay Christians give against Darwinism. It’s put in the form of a question in an attempt to stump the Darwinist. The point the argument tries to make is that if we evolved from monkeys, there shouldn’t be anymore monkeys around since evolution (natural selection acting on random mutations) doesn’t act on individual creatures, but on a species as a whole. All monkeys would have evolved, and so, therefore, we shouldn’t have anymore monkeys. Since we have monkeys, Darwinism must be false. This argument though, doesn’t carry out its intended purpose of being a stumper. Atheists can answer this pitiful argument-in-question-form just as easily as Christians can answer the “If God created the universe, who made God” question.
The problem with this argument is that it commits the straw man fallacy. A straw man is an argument against a position, argument or statement that your debate opponent has never made. You commit a straw man when you misrepresent your opponent’s belief or statement. The name “straw man” came from the illustration that it’s much easier to win a fight against a scarecrow than a real live flesh and blood human being. It's a lot easier to knock down a claim your opponent didn't make than to knock one down that he did make.
How does this argument commit the straw man fallacy? It does so because the claim by evolutionists is not that we evolved from monkeys like the monkeys you have at your local zoo. The claim is that BOTH humans AND monkeys evolved from a monkey-like creature. The claim is that both human beings and modern day apes both shared a biological ancestor with a creature who was also ape-like in its physical structure.
As an analogy, no one says that your sister gave birth to you. Rather, people say that both you and your sister both were produced by a woman who had similar genetics to you and your sister. Now, I don’t agree with this hypothesis. And if you want to know why, click on this link which willtake you to my blog post titled “Why I’m Skeptical Of Darwinian Evolution”.
Argument No. 2: Evolution is just a theory.
This point is usually given as a dismissal by Christians who don’t understand what a scientific theory is. The word “theory” has two different uses. One use of the word is synonymous with “speculation” and “conjecture”.
A lot of people confuse 2 definitions of theory. They think it means "speculation". But that's not at all what scientists mean by a "theory". Of course, every hypothesis starts off as what could be called speculation, but then the scientists starts looking for evidence to see if this theory is true or not. The scientists make predictions that can test the viability of their theory. "If my theory is true, further research should show X, Y and Z. If it's false, we should find this and this and this." So there are predictions that are made which either further verify the theory, falsify the theory, or at least cause the one who came up with the theory to make minor revisions to his theory (predictions that don't prove it false necessarily, but which show that it's not exactly what the scientist had in mind). Good science is done like this. Hugh Ross goes in depth explaining this in his book “More Than A Theory” in which he presents (Day-Age) Old Earth Creationism as a testable, verifiable and falsifiable hypothesis. In each of the chapters, he shows how Reasons To Believe has made various predictions over the years, all of which have come true. No matter which side of the debate you’re on, you should definitely check out this book. In summary, scientific "theories" can be supported or unsupported by evidence. Darwinists think the evidence has indeed verified Darwin's theory, so as soon as you say "evolution is just a theory" they'll start spouting off the usual "proofs" they've been taught verifies evolution (the macro kind).
Argument No. 3: The Earth Is Too Young.
Often times, Christians try to disprove evolution by trying to prove that the Earth and the universe are only 6,000-10,000 years old. If the universe is only 6,000-10,000 years old, evolution can’t possibly have enough time to get started, therefore evolution is false and the best explanation for how all the lifeforms we have coming into being so quickly is by a miracle working Creator’s hand. While I agree that the conclusion follows from the premises, I’m skeptical of one of those premises, namely that the Earth is only 6,000-10,000 years old. And ALL evolutionists believe that the universe is billions of years old.
There is absolutely no non-Christian scientist who believes the universe is that young. And I’ve heard atheists say that they’re more willing to give up belief in evolution than they are their stance on the age of the Earth. They will tell you that evidence for the universe’s antiquity is far more powerful than that for evolution. So here’s the point I’m trying to make. Even if you are a young earth creationist, if you want to argue against evolution, you should do it in the realm of biology. Point out that there are irreducibly complex machines in the cell. Point out the genetic barriers of living creatures. Point out the cyclical nature of these micro evolutionary changes. Point out that similarity and progression do not necessitate the conclusion of common ancestry. These are arguments that I used in “Why I’m Skeptical Of Darwinian Evolution”. Criticize evolution while conceding the given age of the universe. That’s my advice. If you want someone to be a young earth creationist like you are, get them to give up evolution FIRST and then make your way in the direction of the universe’s age. By trying to prove that the universe is only thousands of years old, you cause yourself to put more effort into the conversation than what's required.
In my opinion though, we shouldn’t even try that hard to get people to give up evolution. In apologetics, I believe the crucial issues are what we should really focus on. Once they're Christians, we can then debate on whether God used an evolutionary process or created specially (i.e he spoke and they just appeared). So when I argue with atheists, if I’m trying to argue for God’s existence, I use positive arguments in favor of God’s existence rather than just bashing macro evolution. Scientifically, you appeal to the origin of the universe (The Kalam Cosmological Argument), the universal fine tuning of the physical constants which must be at the just right strengths for ANY kind of life to exist ANYWHERE in the universe (The Nuclear Forces, Gravity, Electromagnetism, dark energy, etc.), the local fine tuning (distance of a home planet from its star, the size of that home planet’s moon, the just right size and distance of 4 gas giants for any planet to survive comets, etc.), and the DNA-to-design argument. The conclusion of these arguments can be valid EVEN IF Darwin was right about species producing more advanced species through enough billions of years, because Evolution is in the realm of biology and the Kalam and Fine Tuning arguments are in the realm of astronomy and physics.
Philosophically, you could appeal to arguments the Moral Argument. You could show that there’s good historical evidence that Christ rose from the dead. God’s existence and Christ’s resurrection are some of the primary issues that anyone must believe if they are to be Christians. So I almost never debate evolution in my discussions with atheists UNLESS they specifically ask me why I’m skeptical of it. If they ask me “Why should I think Christianity is true” I’ll appeal to some of the evidences listed above. How long it took God to create, and what method God used to bring about life are secondary issues in my opinion.