Debating Evolution vs Creationism

You’d suppose that on the issue of Evolution vs Creationism, where the evidence is stacked so high on the side of Evolution, it would be impossible for a Creationist to win a public debate. How wrong you’d be! Watch this video of Kent Hovind easily wiping the floor with Michael Shermer!

Now, I’m not saying Hovind is right – he obviously isn’t. But if I was sitting in that auditorium, undecided (and hence uneducated) on this issue and science in general, I’m pretty sure I’d leave with the impression that the Creationists do at least have a pretty strong case.

How does he do it?

First, he devotes practically all of his time making a case against Evolution, making it appear as if Evolution was wrong, the only other possible explanation for the formation of life was Creationism. The only time he does make a scientifically-sounding case for Creationism, it is logically flawed (I’ll go into the details below), but it sounds good enough for the lay audience to buy it.

In making the case against Evolution he brings up so many issues that it is impossible for Shermer to explain them, leaving the impression that he doesn’t have an answer to them, while in reality, there are perfectly good explanations for all of them.

He’s extremely well prepared and has a well sounding, often humorous, answer to everything. For nearly every point Shermer makes Hovind has a slide seemingly rebutting it, as if he knew everything Shermer was going to say a week before the lecture. And in the end, he did! Hovind has been at this for decades and has heard pretty much all the arguments for Evolution there are, and has had plenty of time to prepare slides for every single one of them.

When he does make points, he often (knowingly, I assume – he’s not stupid) commits logical fallacies, hoping the audience won’t catch them. Probably the most severe ones can be seen when he does present his one case for Creationism, where he makes “predictions” based on the creation story in the Bible (starting at 30 minutes). He starts with the assumption that the Bible is literally true. Then he picks a few verses and predicts (not explaining how he arrives at those predictions) a few things. Only he doesn’t predict anything! Some of the things he seems to predict were already known before he made his predictions, so they don’t count. The others are too vague or metaphysical, so they can’t be verified, like the “prediction” that there is a purpose to life. How can you test that? His most outrageous prediction is prediction 6, in which he “predicts” the presence of the Bible.

And quite often, he just makes things up, i.e., he lies. When he talks about the Miller-Urey experiment (at about 1:24), which demonstrated that amino acids could form in the early atmosphere, he raises the point that they excluded oxygen, because they knew it would “oxidize whatever tries to get together”. Actually, they excluded oxygen because there was no oxygen in the early atmosphere, which I’m sure Hovind knows, as does Shermer. The audience, however, doesn’t. At another point (at about 36 minutes) he claims that cosmology (which he lumps in with Evolution) has a chicken-and-egg problem with “chemical evolution”, because elements are formed in stars and stars consist of elements, even though he himself explained before that, according to the Big Bang theory, hydrogen and helium (the only elements needed for star formation) were created shortly after the Big Bang, without stars. He also asserts that elements do not fuse beyond iron, which is not true, either – fusion of very heavy elements just needs more energy and happens in supernovae. Again, the audience does not know that, so he can get away with it easily.

What’s the moral of the story? I suppose it’s that it’s no use debating science vs pseudo-science in front of an uneducated audience.

Instead, if you want to make someone like Hovind look really stupid, you need Ali G

9 thoughts on “Debating Evolution vs Creationism

  1. “Dr. Hovind” really kicks ass — he has invested a lot of time into preparing his talk. After all, that how he makes a very decent living (in terms of money).

    I guess the trick is the 3 “C”s: compassion (god loves U), convenience (just follow the leader), and consistency (only works if you don’t question what he’s saying).

    He quite obviously learned much of his talk by heart, and having seen bits and pieces of some of his talks, “I predict that there will be limited variation in his talks in the future.”

    Btw. the Ali-G link is broken…

  2. I had the same types of arguments with mental morons that I used to work with. The follow the 3 “C”s to the letter. Anything that questions faith is absurd in their little brains. Once I showed them how ridiculous their weak faith based arguments were I started to get retaliated against by management. Hmmm. I am still right.

  3. You talk about logical fallicies in creationism, you should look into those in evoulution!
    It’s hard to talk about a debate objectivly, because I’ve noticed that the evidence that the evolution advocates use can also be used to prove creation, and vice-versa. It depends on how you look at it.
    Evolutionists make assuptions too. They assume that anything that happens must have been happening since always, and that’s just asking for trouble.

  4. Explain to me, please, better yet, give an example, of how the same factual evidence can be used to “prove” two conflicting theories at the same time.

  5. Check for the following book:
    “http://www.sainthermanpress.com/catalog/chapter_one/nihilism_book.htm” ( pr. Serafim Rose – US )
    ….probably this could help you more.

  6. How come you think I need help? And even if so, I don’t think this book will provide it to me. An excerpt:

    “Atheism, true ‘existential’ atheism burning with hatred of a seemingly unjust or unmerciful God, is a spiritual state”

    The author should have taken the time to look up the definition of “atheism” in a dictionary. It is impossible for a true atheist to hate God. How can you hate something you don’t believe in?

    Don’t forget that Christians, too, are atheists with regard to most Gods. Do you hate Thor or Baal? Of course not, because you don’t believe in them. I don’t hate your god in the same way that you don’t hate Zeus.

  7. Okay.
    What I had in my mind: I had the fealing that you have read about Creationism from the books of the authors who apparently treat the existence of God and the Creationism vs. Evolutionism from an objective point of view, which is not true. Also they are not convinced about the existence of God ( not personal god).
    I thought taht could be challenging for you to read about these themas also from the books of the writers who are on the side of the Creationism, at least just like an intelectual excercise or just curiosity. You should also be able to read such books, being curios about the argumnents of the other side.

    I had recomended to you one of the contemporan famous american writer, who had written his books into a high intelectual spirit. I didn’t find on the net the book which I really wanted taht you could read it.

    I think taht you could order this book from the site which I’ve told you or Amazon.

    I wanted to say that probably this book will help you to understand also what “Shamgar 1 — November 4, 2006 ” had told you about the fact that the “same factual reality” could support to opossite concepts, the only difference being the “point of view” and how far you want to go with the logic on both sides.

    I’m sorry, I don’t have a very hood english and not so intelectual way, but I hope that ypu understood me.

    I don’t want to convince and I didn’t have the opportunity to read the books which you have commented here, but I know the subjects and the style.

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