I rarely poke my head in at the News Gazette blogs, because they're usually fairly inane. About a week ago Rhonda Robinson blogged "Expelled: No intelligence Allowed - new movie, old debate", which is more disappointing than her usual conservative, self-pitying blather. What's unusual about this column is that the density of logical fallacies is so high is threatens to distort the flow of cars on I-74 due to its graviational pull.
Intelligent design creationists spout the same claims over and over. They used the same tired old arguments so often, that you can actually refer to them by number. The Index to Creationist Claims categorizes and indexes the standard creationist claims, distortions, and half-truths in a nice, tidy list for reference. Here I'll point out Robinson's fallacious arguments:
- CA202: Evolution has not been proven. Robinson writes, "Why is a 150 year old unproven theory accepted as fact..", when in fact, evolution *has* been proven, in so far as science "proves" things. This leads us directly to the next one:
- CA201. Evolution is only a theory. This can only be attributable to Robinson's ignorance of what constitutes a theory. Perhaps it's unfair to expect her to be familiar with such things, but it's she that has chosen to pontificate on science and it is she that is talking out of her ass.
- CA002.1. Evolution leads to social Darwinism. Robinson quotes Ben Stein's blog about his upcoming creationist movie, "Darwinism, perhaps mixed with Imperialism, gave us Social Darwinism..." As the ICC points out, this is just the "is vs. ought" logical fallacy. Even if evolution leads inexorably to Social Darwinism (which it doesn't), that wouldn't mean evolution was false. Science tells us the way the world is, not the way the world ought to be.
- CA005. Evolution is racist. Robinson/Stein continue: "[Social Darwinism is] a form of racism so vicious..." Ironically, Social Darwinism started in 1944, over 50 years after Darwin died and 85 years after the publication of The Origin of Species. So, was evolution valid for the period in between?
- CA006.1. Hitler based his views on Darwinism. Robinson/Stein write, "[Social Darwinism] countenanced the Holocaust against the Jews and mass murder of many other groups..." Again, no. The evil of the Holocaust requires no more scientific theory than the selective breeding of livestock practiced by farmers for centuries. Hitler also referred to the Jews as bacteria that needed to be eradicated and cancer that needed to be excised. Shall we next accuse modern medicine of being racist and anti-Semitic?
- CB910. No new species have been observed. Robinson/Stein continue, "Despite the fact that no one has ever been able to prove the creation of a single distinct species by Darwinist means..." Except for the fact that multiple new speciation events have been observed in insects, birds, fish, and mammals.
- CB090. Evolution is baseless without a theory of abiogenesis. Still quoting Stein, Robinson writes, "Darwinism also has not one meaningful word to say on the origins of organic life..." Evolution isn't about the origin of life on this planet. It's about the change in the characteristics of the individual species. Abiogenesis, or the origin of life, is more speculative than evolution, but that doesn't mean it's impervious to science, either. I'm not sure why Stein feels necessary to wonder about the origins of "organic" life. Does he know about silicon-based lifeforms that I'm unaware of?
That's one creationist claim every 70 words or so in this blog post. That's pretty impressive for 500 words.
What I find the most irritating is the continual put-upon tone she takes in the posting. She asks "Are we still free to disagree about the meaning of life?" and why creationism is "not allowed to be heard." She even goes so far as to ask "Are we still free to disagree about the meaning of life without fear of persecution?"
Robinson whines, "This is about science, and the freedom of ideas." Science isn't really about ideas. That's philosophy. Science is about evidence, and creationsists have none.
Hopefully, creationists will someday come up with some arguments that they haven't been parroting for decades, ignoring the evidence mounting against them. Until then, I'm just bored.
(Oh, and The Squire is still around. He stops by the comments and pretty much gives Robinson a good blog-lashing. Get back to blogging, you slacker.)