Some of the conversations I had with creationists in my former Creationist Facebook group were long and genuinely interesting for various reasons. It became apparent that within this group of 200 or so creationists, there were quite a few folks, like Bill the creationist engineer, who were both educated and intelligent. In fact, I think this is an important point to highlight.
While all creationists are deluded, not all creationists are stupid.
And not unlike climate change deniers, it is often the educated and intelligent among them who are the most tenacious in their rejection of reality. They use their educations and their intelligence to construct the elaborate and ultimately untrue artifices around the beliefs which sustain their delusions. They are convinced they are right and they use their above average cognitive skills to reinforce their mistakes.
However, this piece is not about them. This piece is about some of the others.
Since 200 is a fairly decent sample size, it was not surprising to discover that while a few people occupied the far right side of the tail on the normal distribution curve representing education and intelligence, there were more than a few who occupied the other side of that normal distribution curve. In fact, and this is a completely unscientific estimate, I would wager that 5 of the 6 sigma under this curve were home to a rapidly diminishing representation of education and intelligence. Case in point, this post from Mark:
If you’re a statistics person however, at this point you might be questioning whether or not a sample of creationists actually tracks to the normal distribution curve, but my gut says it does. Because in addition to the healthy portion of creationists like Mark who just have no idea what is going on, there were others who were at least trying. Take Robert for example. Robert is probably just a regular guy, going to his regular job during the week, going to church on Sunday morning, and watching football on Sunday afternoon. But Robert believes he has an ace in the hole when it comes to evolution. He is the guy you will inevitably encounter in almost any debate, no matter the topic. Robert is “logical fallacy guy.”
Rather than address anything specific in your claim, logical fallacy guy will smugly and incorrectly dismiss your entire position as some sort of logical fallacy. Logical fallacy guy has spent a lot of time memorizing different fallacies but has spent very little time thinking about what those fallacies actually mean. For example:
You cite an expert, Robert will accuse you of committing the appeal to authority fallacy. Wrong.
You explain how homologous structures are evidence of common ancestry, Robert will accuse you of circular reasoning. Wrong.
You tell Robert his understanding of the fallacies he is accusing you of is incorrect, Robert will accuse you of ad hominem. Wrong.
And so on…and so forth.
The irony of logical fallacy guy defending creationism is that creationism is really just a massive Argument from Ignorance fallacy. Since creationism is a supernatural explanation that can’t be proven right, its very survival relies on any other explanations being proven wrong. This is why there is a such a massive effort by creationists to discredit evolution by natural selection. Creationists don’t spend time proving creationism is true because they can’t prove creationism is true. They can only attempt to undermine evolution. And they can’t even do that.
The best they can hope for is to say, “you can’t prove me wrong, therefore I’m right.”
Dear Robert, that my friend, is a logical fallacy.