email - May 2008

Necessary Evidence

What kind of evidence would it take for us to believe in the theory of evolution?

Adam’s biology teacher asked him a very important question, which he wanted us to help him answer.

Hello,

I am just wondering what kind of evidence you would need to have in order to believe evolution. I am strongly against evolution as well, but whenever I get into an argument with my biology professor she says "Well what kind of evidence would you need in order to believe it, [be]cause I'm sure I can find it for you..." I am not too sure how to reply to this comment. I was thinking of saying "When scientists are able to create life in the laboratory" or "When the laws of thermodynamics are proved wrong", but I think that even then I wouldn't believe it. I just wanted to get your opinion on it and appreciate you taking time out of your schedule to read my email. So, is there any evidence that would make you think twice about evolution?

Sincerely,

Adam

We will answer Adam’s question in a moment; but first let us stress the importance of asking a question like this. One should always ask oneself, “What kind of evidence do I need to believe [something or other]?” Two unacceptable answers are, “I don’t need any evidence—everyone knows it is true,” and “Nothing you can say can convince me it is true.” We should all honestly think about what criteria we require to believe something, evaluate whether or not those criteria are reasonable, and decide if those criteria have been met.

In our essays we don’t usually state our criteria; but they are implied. For example, “What would it take for us to believe that dinosaurs and man lived at the same time?” We think that reasonable criteria are (1) there should be reputable ancient historians who report sightings of creatures that look like dinosaurs, and (2) modern paleontologists who have found bones of that kind of dinosaur in the location where they were reported to have been seen. We believe those criteria have been met. 1 “What would it take to believe there are transitional fossils?” We listed some criteria that we think are reasonable. 2 We do not believe any fossils meet those criteria. “What would it take to believe radiometric dating is accurate?” We think it should (1) be based on reasonable, verifiable assumptions, and (2) give consistent results. In this month’s feature article we explained why we think the assumptions aren’t reasonable or verifiable. Next month we will look at all the discordant results that various radiometric methods gave when the Apollo 11 moon rocks were dated. That’s sufficient reason to believe radiometric dating is inaccurate.

We do have reasons for believing what we believe, and not believing what we don’t believe. On the other hand, we have had great difficulty finding an evolutionist who can give any logical reason for believing in evolution, despite our best efforts. The responses on our questionnaire at the 2007 Community Dinner were typical. 3 People who believe in evolution typically can’t tell you why they believe. Then they get frustrated and angry when pressed for an answer more substantial than, “Everyone knows it is true!”

We are about to tell Adam, and his biology teacher, what evidence it would take for us to believe in evolution because we can; but our criteria really don’t matter. Everyone should make up his or her own mind, using his or her own criteria. If Adam wants to use our criteria, that’s fine with us, as long as he is convinced that our criteria are reasonable.

Actually, we have already explained many times what it would take for us to believe in evolution. Last month’s MythBusters parody 4 wasn’t just meant to be funny—it was actually a dramatization of how real scientists determine the truth. The theory of evolution requires three things: (1) Life originates from nonliving substances through purely natural processes; (2) the first living thing turns into lots of other living things; and (3) there is time enough for the first two things to happen. As Adam and Jamie found out in our parody, none of those three things are plausible for good scientific reasons.

The previous month, we presented 75 theses about the theory of evolution. 5 From this essay one can glean more impossible things that would have to be true if the theory of evolution were true.

Every month we present scientific reasons why the theory of evolution can’t be true, even though the burden of proof isn’t really on us. If someone wants our children to believe a tale as tall as the theory of evolution, the burden of proof is on the person telling the tale. Adam’s teacher is sure she can find compelling evidence for the theory of evolution. If so, we would honestly love to hear it. But we suspect her evidence would be nothing more than unsubstantiated claims such as, “The fossil record proves evolution,” and “Radiometric dating proves the Earth is old,” etc.

Evolutionists, at a minimum, need to set forth a plausible means by which life could have originated through purely natural processes. (That wouldn’t prove that it actually happened, but at least it would establish that it COULD happen.) Then they need to present some a good reason to believe living things can change into other living things. “Creature A looks a lot like creature B, so it must have evolved from it,” just doesn’t cut it.

The controversy would go away if evolutionists could do these things. They can’t. That’s why they want to censor the science curriculum to remove any reasonable criticism of the theory of evolution.

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Footnotes:

1 Disclosure, May 2002, “Dinotopia” and Disclosure, October 1998, “Unicorns, etc.
2 Disclosure, Oct. 2001, “Parent of the Apes - Part 2
3 Disclosure, November 2007, “Evolution Election
4 Disclosure, April 2008, “Evolution Busted
5 Disclosure, March 2008, “Seventy-five Theses