BuzzFeed.com recently published an article titled 22 Messages From Creationists To People Who Believe In Evolution, and it’s been making its way around the web. It is a list of photos of young-earth creationists holding up signs with questions for people who believe that organisms – including humans – evolved through natural selection over millions of years. I decided to respond to each of them.
1. “Bill Nye, are you influencing the minds of children in a positive way?”
I’m not sure why this man didn’t have the foresight to simply start the word “influence” on the next line, but I guess omniscience is reserved for deities.
Anyway, this question was obviously directed at Bill Nye, but I’ll give him my perspective anyway.
The answer is: “yes”. It is a very positive thing to teach children about the scientific method and thinking critically. This helps people avoid misunderstandings and dogmas when they become older. It helps them understand their world and achieve more realistic perceptions about everything from science, religion, politics, social issues, morality, and more.
2. “Are you scared of a divine creator?”
Am I scared of something that I don’t believe exists? No, I can’t say that I am. Although if there were a divine creator and the Bible was an accurate description of his character, then yes, I think fear would be quite an appropriate response. After all, even the Bible says to fear God, and it makes sure to give its readers all the reasons they might ever need for this in the form of stories of genocide, arbitrary sacrifices, infanticide, taking slaves, and so on. I think I would react that way when under the threat of any psychopaths.
3. “Is it completely illogical that the Earth was created mature? i.e. Trees created with rings, Adam created as an adult.”
Yes, it is. We have a certain collection of evidence available to us, and it is that evidence which we must use to reach conclusions. And we have learned that to achieve accurate ideas about reality, we must make as few assumptions as possible. Making assumptions and asserting that presumed scenario as more likely than a scenario which involves fewer assumptions is a logical fallacy.
Now as things are currently, we have no reason to believe that the earth was created in a “mature” form, just popped right into existence like a witch on a 1960’s sitcom. The only way to believe in an earth created in “mature” form would be to make some massive and arbitrary fundamental assumptions. And by definition, that would be illogical.
I assume you don’t think it’s logical to believe you were born with that beard, my friend.
4. “Does not the second law of thermodynamics disprove evolution?”
Obviously it doesn’t. If evolution were impossible due to something so basic, evolution would not be held as factual in modern science. I’m amazed that this question keeps being repeated since the answer to it is so simple and easily found in a quick search online. But I understand that sometimes just making a sign and pretending to know something can be a more attractive option than doing a little work to actually understand an issue.
The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy (a measure of “disorder”) of a closed system always increases – a closed always becomes more disordered.
More specifically, this means:
In closed (isolated) thermodynamic systems, the total number of ways the system can be arranged always increases, and never decreases. This means that such systems always move toward a state of equilibrium wherein there is total balance: no movement or changes of matter or energy. This is characterized as progressing to a state of “disorder”, since the various objects within the system must become undone.
Creationists want this to mean that evolution is impossible since evolution describes organisms becoming increasingly complex structures commanding more movement and transferring more energy, as opposed to becoming more simple and moving toward a state of equilibrium. So they ask, “How can this happen if the second law of thermodynamics is true?”
Well the simple answer is this: The Earth is not a closed system.
The Earth receives a tremendous amount of energy from the Sun, and the Sun is moving toward a state of disorder, as the universe as a whole appears to be. The second law of thermodynamics relates to the total entropy of a system. So the entropy of certain areas within a system can decrease while the total entropy of the system increases.
5. “How do you explain a sunset if their [sic] is no God?”
I’m genuinely not sure if this was a serious question or if BuzzFeed just entertained a troll. The combination of the blatant spelling error with the sheer pointlessness of the question make me suspicious.
I don’t even understand the reasoning behind this question. What dots are they connecting to make sunsets contingent upon a god? This has to be a joke.
6. “If the Big Bang Theory and taught as science along with evolution, why do the laws of thermodynamics debunk said theories?”
I addressed this in my response to #4. They don’t debunk evolution. And as for the Big Bang, we don’t know how it originated. There are many possibilities but we may never know the answer.
Also, creationists need to remember that the laws of physics are observations of how the natural world operates. They are not divine truths or commands which we can say are always true everywhere in natural reality. They just appear to be true within our particular universe, but nature may not operate the same way everywhere or even all the time.
7. “What about noetics?”
What about it? It’s pure philosophy, speculation, and wishful thinking. It’s not science or evidence. You might as well be asking “What about magic genies?”
8. “Where do you derive objective meaning in life?”
I have a better question: What is even the meaning of that sentence?
“Meaning” – of this sort, which he seems to use as a reference to “purpose” or “significance” – is a personal feeling for an individual. It is inherently subjective to your own feelings, so in this context “objective meaning” is a nonsensical term.
Everyone’s feeling of “meaning”, purpose, and significance in life will be different. But some examples would be that many non-religious people find meaning in friendships and helping each other through struggles, in fighting for better futures for our society, in raising their children, in caring for animals, in bringing people joy and laughter (sometimes even by making fun of the religious beliefs since they are such ripe sources of delusion and comedy), or many other things.
I would also ask how a deeply devout religious person considers the subjective will of another being to be objective meaning for their own life. Anyone on earth could easily tell you what to do and believe, and it would be no more objective or subjective than believing that you’re doing what Yahweh says.
9. “If God did not create everything, how did the first single-celled organism originate? By chance?”
In a sense, yes. But in another sense, no.
The conditions had to be right for self-replicating molecules to form, and then it was by chance that any actually came together. However, just how great or little that chance was is unknown, although the chance of a planet having the right conditions for life to form could actually be quite high due to the massive number of planets in the universe and the fact that we have even already identified several with such potential close to us and within only a few years of searching.
Then once those basic self-replicating molecules exist, interesting changes occur. Over time they interact and their interactions result in more complicated structures, all according to whatever factors end up helping the molecules keep surviving and replicating.
10. “I believe in the Big Bang Theory… God said it and BANG it happened!”
What you believe in is the claim of heavily superstitious Iron Age goat herders and their priests who were inventing magical stories about their origins – like every other culture on earth – while also believing things such as that female infants were twice as “unclean” as males, that sprinkling the blood as goats and birds was necessary for sealing oaths and cleansing themselves after disease, and that the community needed to kill and burn animals to control the weather and prevent foreign invasion.
My point being, the basis for your belief is pretty darn poor.
11. “Why do evolutionists/secularists/humanists/non-God believing people reject the idea of their [sic] being a creator God but embrace the concept of inteligent [sic] design from aliens or other extra-terestrial [sic] sources?”
Good grief, man, learn how to spell. Maybe the “their” lady earlier wasn’t joking. The inability to use the correct form of “there” seems to be a recurring trend among creationists. Maybe there was a misprint in a Bible recently so they thought God wanted it spelled that way from now on.
Anyway, what you talking about? The concept of being intelligently designed by extraterrestrials is not the mainstream scientific view nor one that I am aware of most “evolutionists” believing.
12. “There is no in-between… the only one found has been Lucy and there are only a few pieces of the hundreds necessary for an ‘official proof.'”
Are you not familiar with Turkana Boy? I’ll let you start there.
This lady is unfortunately completely ignorant of two general things:
First, about what has actually been found. She has obviously put no effort into researching this topic. The reality is that we have many essentially full skeletons of different hominids. But also, the incomplete skeletons cannot be discounted. They are there, and you have to deal with them. Among these incomplete skeletons we have various parts including hundreds of skulls which indicate that humans evolved.
Second, we don’t need anything that she would consider “official proof”. I don’t even know what she means by that. What we need to accept any belief is just a collection of evidence that indicates that answer as the most likely explanation for it. And in the case of evolution, the evidence is overwhelming.
Also, her message raises a question of my own: Where is the “official proof” of what you believe in, Miss? The BuzzFeed article says that these people are creationists, which means they believe in sudden creation by a god. And since the evidence does not indicate such a creation, she is clearly demanding much less evidence for the belief she actually holds. This makes her question pointless because it means her belief is not actually based on evidence; it is based in a desire to believe a particular idea.
13. “Does metamorphosis help support evolution?'”
Why would it not? If you’re asking if it presents a problem for evolution, the answer is no. once again I don’t understand the argument the creationist is even trying to make.
14. “If Evolution is a Theory (like creationism or the Bible) why then is evolution taught as fact?”
The answer is that the theory of evolution by natural selection is not like creationism or the Bible.
Evolution is directly supported by multiple independent lines of evidence from every pertinent field of science, and the research is backed up by peer-review scrutiny. Also, evolution is still witnessed today and creationists even admit that variation and specialization occur. The evidence directly supports evolution – immensely – and that is the only reason it is taught. Creationism and the Bible are contrary to the evidence or must rely on immense, unfounded assumptions to explain why the evidence points in another direction.
To make things clear, try your hand at this. Some of the following things are scientific theories. The others are religious mythology. See which stand out as the most alike and which belong in each category:
- The Bhagavad Gita
- The Enuma Elish
- The Theogony
- The Bible
- The Theory of Relativity
- The Theory of Evolution By Natural Selection
15. “Because science by definition is a ‘theory’ – not testable, observable, nor repeatable, why do you object to creationism or intelligent design being taught in school?'”
This poor confused woman. Anyway, see my answer to #14.
16. “What mechanism has science discovered that evidences an increase of genetic information seen in any genetic mutation or evolutionary process?”
My understanding is that this occurs through gene duplication and subsequent point mutations. Sometimes a gene is copied incorrectly and ends up being duplicated (so that the organism then has two copies of the same gene) then later one of the copies experiences a mutation. The result is additional genetic material, complexity, and biological functions being added to the population.
I am not an expert on this subject however, so I recommend looking into it further on your own. But I also advise that you not be too hasty to think you have disproved it since most of us do not have anywhere near the necessary knowledge to actually make such determinations, and the evidence for evolution remains regardless, which indicates that genetic information is indeed added by some mechanism, be it gene duplication or other mechanisms.
17. “What purpose do you think you are here for if you do not believe in salvation?”
This question is very strange. She is implying that purpose in life can only be found through trying to achieve salvation, but there are two problems with that:
1) Why do you even care about achieving salvation if your only purpose in life is salvation itself?
2) Her question implies that once you actually achieve salvation, your life will become purposeless.
The question of purpose in life is irrelevant to belief in Christian “salvation” for the reasons I already described in #8.
18. “Why have we found only 1 ‘Lucy’ when we have found more than one of everything else?”
We haven’t found “only 1 Lucy”. Lucy was an Australopithecus afarensis and we have found the remains of multiple different individuals of this species. Also, Australopithecus afarensis isn’t the only hominid species that has been found which indicates evolution of humans.
19. “Can you believe in ‘the big bang’ without faith?”
Yes. People who ask that question are confused about what the Big Bang theory actually says – and what it does not say.
First, the evidence that the Big Bang occurred is pretty convincing. The theory is the most direct explanation for the evidence of the expanding universe and that is why we believe it. Our belief is proportional to the evidence. There is no faith involved.
Second, since I suspect that this man thinks the Big Bang theory claims that the universe came from nothing, I will point out that the Big Bang doesn’t mean the universe necessarily sprung from literally nothing. All we know is that expansion started. But the singularity itself could have had no beginning, or the universe could be cyclical, or our universe could be the other end of a black hole, or one “bubble” within a multiverse, or other possibilities which would simply not be “coming from nothing”.
20. “How can you look at the world and not believe someone created/thought of it? It’s amazing!”
We can do that because the evidence simply doesn’t indicate a conscious designer having created it. The fact is that finding something amazing is not logical evidence of a being having created it. There is no logical connection.
First, finding something “amazing” is a subjective feeling. It is not a literal property of anything so this lady’s point is meaningless.
Second, not only does nature reveal features that seem like very odd choices for a designer to make, but we realize that believing in a creator god does not actually explain anything. All it does is defer the question a step. thus a god would be an arbitrary, unnecessary, irrational assumption.
Consider, if a god existed wouldn’t that god be amazing too? He would have to be, to have directly created (designed, thought up) this universe which we find so amazing. But would you claim that is evidence that this god also must have had someone who created/thought of him?
21. “Relating to the big bang theory… where did the exploding star come from?”
The Big Bang describes that the universe, including all space itself, was compressed into a hot, dense point, called a singularity. The singularity is not a star. So the question should be “Where the singularity came from?”
The answer is that we don’t know. But if you mean to imply that God is the only explanation for its origin, I will refute that now.
We don’t have any reason to believe that a god would be the cause of the singularity. This is because upon scrutiny, we find that the concept of a god has no unique or necessary explanation to offer. For example, if one claims that God is eternal and outside of time, then we logically we should simplifiy the theory and just assert that the singularity itself was eternal and the current nature of time was not established until after expansion began.
This problem for Theism presents itself in every case. So a god is inevitably an unnecessary additional assumption in any theory of how the universe came to exist.
22. “If we came from monkeys then why are there still monkeys?”
This is the flagship creationist question. And it is so truly embarrassing because it is so easy to find the answer to it that there is no excuse for remaining ignorant.
Humans did not “come from monkeys”. We only share an ancestor species with monkeys. And that ancestor species no longer exists because that population split. Then those different resultant populations experienced different evolutionary changes due to their environmental needs and various mutations which occurred only within their own group due to being separated and incapable of reproducing with the other populations.
It’s more complex than just my description makes it sound, but that is the general concept. Some people have likened this question to asking “If American settlers came from Europe, then why are there still Europeans?” Hopefully that clarifies the matter.