Monday, 22 June 2015

The difference between peer-reviewed literature and uninformed argument from YEC websites

One of the tactics used by Christadelphian evolution denialists is the appeal to irrelevant authority, with the two most common variants of that approach being the appeal to an evolution denialist with a technical qualifications in areas completely irrelevant to evolutionary biology such as engineering or nuclear physics or mathematics, or the uncritical citation of material from pseudoscientific websites maintained by science denialists whose arguments have never been scrutinised by experts in the field to check for basic flaws and errors. 

I have lost count of the amount of times I have seen videos or articles by laypeople with absolutely no relevant scientific training confidently asserting that command descent and large-scale evolutionary change are false. In every case, it is painfully clear that almost all of these people would be flat-out reading the primary literature, let alone designing a scientific experiment to test their anti-evolution hypotheses, or have the knowledge required to act as a referee for such papers. The simple truth that evolution denialists in our community refuse to acknowledge, is that unless you know what you are talking about, have the expertise to test your anti-evolution arguments, get them written up and published, and have those arguments positively cited by the scientific community, no one will take your anti-evolution rants seriously. It's that simple, and no amount of appealing to fundamentalist distortions of the Bible, or verbal abuse of evolutionary creationists is ever going to make the scientific facts confirming the reality of evolution go away.

For those who want to know what is required, 'Fallacy Man' (the nom de plume of a biologist writing at The Logic of Science) provides a handy flow-chart which the intellectually honest YEC can follow to see if they know enough about evolution to have their argument taken seriously.