Presuppositions and Fallacies in Evolutionary Science

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Everyone has a worldview. It is comprised of axioms and presuppositions. They can be cultural, experiential, based on opinions, education, and so on. Some people deny having a worldview, but we cannot function without it. Scientists use their worldviews as their starting point, and are not the epitome of sterile objectivity that many people believe them to be.

Worldviews and Presuppositions
I believe that the main reasons atheists and anti-creationists detest presuppositional apologetics are:
  • We do not elevate any philosophies (including science philosophies) above the Bible, which is our foundation, and freely admit that we have our own presuppositions
  • Presuppositional apologists analyze worldviews and their underlying presuppositions, and cognitive dissonance results when an atheist or evolutionist is shown that his worldview is irrational
  • We do not take much stock in the "wisdom" of unbelievers because that violates what Scripture tells us about the nature of man
  • Presups show that atheism and evolutionism lack the necessary preconditions of intelligibility that are only found in biblical Christianity
  • Although it's rooted in the Reformed traditions, you don't have to be a Calvinist to use it (I refuse to identify with either Calvinist or Arminian schools of theology, for instance)
There are other reasons that some people hate presuppositional apologetics, but I think those can all be traced to our firm stance on the authority of Scripture.

Atheists and evolutionists are hardcore presuppositionalists themselves, and they resent when we point out this fact. There are numerous assumptions made when interpreting scientific evidence. Secular scientists (as well as old-earth creationists and theistic evolutionists to varying extents) are assuming that the Big Bang is true, the universe and the earth are very old, evolution is established science, the Bible is false (or that the first eleven chapters of Genesis must be filtered through current opinions of science philosophies), and so on.

Logical Fallacies
In addition to presuppositions, their quest to prove evolution and "deep time" have many logical fallacies. One of the most frequent is equivocation (or conflation), where there is a bait 'n' switch by equivocating "evolution" with "science". They frequently denigrate the distinction between operational science (that which is repeatable, testable, observable, falsifiable, and so on) with historical science, where evolutionists attempt to use scientific principles about what is observed in the present, extrapolated to what they believe happened in the past. It hinders understanding and communication to use vague definitions such as "evolution is change over time" (an essentially useless definition) and "evolution is the change in allele frequencies". 

One conflation is between "micro" and "macro" evolution. The term "micro evolution" is misleading and should be removed from a biblical creationist's vocabulary, because there really is no evolution, only small-scale changes, and those things that are expected in the General Theory of Evolution (molecules-to-man) such as added genetic information through mutations are not present. Creationists generally agree that natural selection and variation exist (and supported by operational science), but "micro" evolution and natural selection do not support goo-to-you evolution. People who do not really understand science and the limitations in genetic variations will simply assume that because of those small changes, there must be large-scale changes; a little evolution means that there is eventually a lot of evolution. This assumption is based on the presupposition that evolution is true in the first place, and they want evidence to support their views.

Used with permission of recipient. Here is conflation between "evolution" and "science".
Note that he doesn't like to "see pages that misinforming people",
but misled the recipient about who he was. He has a track record for lying, has
made fake Pages imitating Christians and creation ministries,
so there is no reason to believe that he does "science for a living".
Two related fallacies that are frequently observed are the false dilemma and the argument from silence (another article on the argument from silence is here). The false dilemma is the either-or fallacy, where there are only two possible explanations, and others are rejected out of hand, or simply ignored. The argument from silence draws from information that does not exist (such as challenging me to a debate, and then claiming my refusal is an admission that creation science is false). Recently, I have encountered people who said, "Since the Bible doesn't say there is no life on other planets, then it may exist", or, "Jesus didn't command us to celebrate his birthday or resurrection, so it's evil to do so". 

When reading material from the science press, those writers (and often the scientists themselves) use these fallacies.

There is also the fallacy of exclusion, where relevant information is ignored or even suppressed. It can include making assumptions (including prejudicial conjecture) without facts (or contrary to facts). Here is a very simple example: My wife and I were carrying some large black bags to her car. She had one bag and a smaller object, and I was carrying only one bag. An observer in a nearby apartment could see that and say, "That guy is making his wife do the hard work". (Prejudicial conjecture could include, "He's just lazy".) What was not known was that I was carrying the heavier load. Just to work with the idea that if I was indeed having her do the heavy work, an observer would not know, say, that my back was acting up again, or that she was being stubborn and insisting on the heavier bag. It is risky to make assumptions and conclusions over facts that are not available — especially in science.

Other fallacies do not need more than a brief mention, because they apply more to crusaders for atheism and evolutionism than to scientists. Fallacies appeal to emotion, some people are unable to distinguish between "lying" and "disagreeing about interpretations of the evidence", set up straw men, use appeal to authority, rely on assertion instead of reason, and more. You can read about several other fallacies that are encountered on the Web and in discussions in my "Logic Lessons" series.

Publicizing Science
When science publications release grand pronouncements about new "discoveries" in evolution, age of the universe, "proof" of inflationary theory, and so forth, they make noise and kick up dust like a Cavalry charge across the prairie. When the excitement settles and more serious analysis can take place, several problems are often found. One is that the press embellished the statements from scientists, and another is that the scientists themselves were making very unscientific pronouncements that had a strong basis in their worldviews, but not in actual science.

Reading and Listening Carefully
As many of us have pointed out, people today are not being trained to think critically and to actually consider the evidence. They are likely to accept what scientists say and then exlaim, "Aha! We've just disproved creation science!" — then they are humiliated when intelligent analysis is done (such as the Higgs Boson hysteria). Christians do not need to be intimidated by "science". Our faith is not in the pronouncements of scientists and their press, but on the Word of God. Also, secularists use many fallacies, confuse the issue, argue from their presuppositions, and more. It may look good on paper, but their science is sorely lacking.

I strongly recommend reading the article that got me all het up to write this today, which gives several examples of science that was nothing resembling actual science. Click here to read and learn from "Pardon Me, Your Presuppositions Are Showing".