Creationists love to explain why evolution just can’t be true. They will use every philosophical apologetics trick in the book to try and undermine the science. They will opine about the unknown nature of the universe prior to the Big Bang. They will bark about the improbabilities of abiogenesis. They will still say, “if man came from monkeys, then why are there still monkeys?” I’m not kidding, they will still say that. In short, they will back firmly in to every God of the Gaps argument they can find and plant roots. The challenge is how to pull them back out.
Taking my own advice to deploy a different tactic, I asked my former creationist Facebook group what I thought was a simple question.
“If evolution isn’t true, then what is your alternative explanation for the history and diversity of life on earth?”
You would have thought I hit a hornet’s nest with a stick!
The comments on this question exploded. And yet almost no one initially answered the question. If no one answered, then what were they saying? The question was met with an avalanche of the same old philosophical attacks on evolution, only this time most of the responses started with some variation of “Evolution can’t be true because….”
But I am patient.
With each response, I would simply counter “OK I hear you, so what is your alternative explanation?”
Notice with this simple question, I had taken their attention off trying to debunk evolution which is essentially the entire Intelligent Design modus operandi, and instead directed them toward making an affirmative claim. In other words, we were not talking about what they didn’t believe to be true, we were now talking about what they did believe to be true. And since we were talking about what people believe and why, I could now use a little street epistemology.
An interesting division among this group of creationists started to emerge as I pressed for an explanation: the fundamentalists formed in one camp and the Intelligent Design proponents formed in another. And to their credit, the fundamentalists were first to provide an answer. Genesis chapter 1.
The Intelligent Design folks on the other hand, struggled mightily. This is not to say they didn’t also believe that Genesis chapter 1 is the alternative explanation for the history and diversity of life on the planet; in fact, I’m quite certain that most of them did, but I think at some level of their cognitive functioning, they knew it was not passing the smell test. You see, their entire argument against evolution is built on trying to undermine scientific evidence. These are the folks who actually read scientific articles on evolution, looking for holes. While their approach to science is reversed, they have become used to looking at real, scientific evidence! So with one simple question, I exposed something which made them very uncomfortable.
There is no real, scientific evidence to support an alternative explanation.