In the "What is the point of this forum?" thread, Arphy contributed by sharing a written debate between Creation Ministries International and the Australian Skeptics. Source NosyNed suggested that a Great Debate be started using the debate as a basis. As nobody has yet taken the opportunity to do so, I will start the Great Debate off here.
I suggest the following participants: Myself NosyNed slevesque Arphy
My impression of the debate between CMI and AS was of a typical debate on the issue. CMI, disappointingly, offered little to no evidence for a biblical creation, instead opting to use a variety of recycled and oft-refuted arguments against evolution. I will begin by discussing CMI's opening paper. CMI began the debate by writing a paper consisting almost entirely of well known creationist arguments, presenting them in 7 different categories. Below I have a list of their arguments and my problems with them:
1. Natural Law (1 argument) a) A strawman attack on evolution using the laws of thermodynamics to show how the universe must have had a beginning. (Strawman)
2. Life (5 arguments) a) Evolution must explain how life began (Untrue) b) Life arises only from life per law of biogenesis (Misrepresentation of "law" of biogenesis) c) Even the simplest life needs elaborate "machinery" (Unsupported claim) d) There are vast hurdles for chemical evolution to overcome in order to produce life (Unsupported claim) e) A well known philosopher becomes a theist because "every discovery of molecular biology underlines the impossibility of such an entity arising spontaneously." (Appeal to authority?)
3. Biological Changes (1 argument) a) Information is always lost in microevolution (PRATT)
4. Fossils (2 arguments) a) Lack of fossils undermines evolutionary theory (PRATT, Lie?)
b) Lack of fossils constitutes positive evidence for biblical special creation. (How?)
5. The Age of Things (11 arguments) a) The decay of the earth's magnetic field implies a young earth (PRATT)
b) Organic molecules in fossils millions of years old (No examples given)
c) Too much helium in deep zircons
d) Not enough salt in the sea
e) Carbon 14 in ancient diamonds
f) Polystrate fossils undermine an old earth (PRATT)
g) Intertonguing of non-sequential geological strata
h) Too small a number of supernova remnants
i) Magnetic fields on inactive planets
j) All arguments for the age of the universe are based on assumptions (Mischaracterization of dating methods)
k) Canyons have been shown to form quickly
6. Cultural-Anthropological evidence (2 arguments) a) People all over the world have myths about floods (Not evidence of a global flood)
b) Humans have little genetic diversity (Strawman)
7. Design and complexity (2 arguments) a) The usual argument from irreducible complexity (PRATT)
b) Complex organs like the brain are "obviously" created (bare assertion)
Notice that none of the arguments presented offer evidence of biblical creation. Many are fallacious, some are PRATTs, and some are irrelevant to the topic. Furthermore, I believe their reliance on overwhelming their opponent with a rapid-fire of arguments (crappy or no) from a number of different fields constitutes what is known as a Gish-Gallop style of debate. I consider this very bad form for one of world's leading creationist organizations, but in all honesty it is precisely what I would have anticipated. Their closing of the first paper is very telling of how ICM thinks.
"what tangible basis is there for anyone to reject the claim that there is indeed a Creator who has spoken by His prophets in the Bible?"
In other words: "prove that God doesn't exist". This must be the silliest thing written in the entire debate.
In stark contrast to ICM's opening paper, AS does not attempt to overwhelm the opponent with a flurry of arguments and claims, but begins by providing the definition of science, and showing why creation science does not fit the definition. They also ask the creationists to provide evidence for their claims. Which, incidentally, ICM never provides. They then illustrate how different fields of scientific study yield results consistent with evolutionary theory. This they do without throwing in 24 PRATTs and bare assertions.
I have begun by discussing the first two papers in the debate. Two things become apparent from the very beginning:
1. ICM does not bother presenting evidence of special creation (let a lone biblical special creation)
2. ICM relies almost exclusively on an array PRATTs and fallacies to further their case
Why is this? Is this because their case is too weak to defend with actual evidence?
ABE: Apologies. I just noticed that NosyNed started the Great Debate on the same topic just before I did.
Edited by Meldinoor, : No reason given.
Edited by Meldinoor, : No reason given.
Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Added the "(Meldinoor, NosyNed, Slevesque, Arphy only)" part to the topic title.