The "...but you're not a scientist..." fallacy is an often used
ploy by evolutionists to try to disqualify any critique or observation
about evolution (or actually any scientific discipline) that is not
presented from what they consider to be a qualified evolutionist.
Typically "qualified" means someone with a PhD in some evolutionary field like
evolutionary biology. Without it, the objection goes, you're not
qualified to make any critiques or point out any problems with
A related ploy deals with the type of evidence that will be accepted.
"Present me peer-reviewed data published in an accepted evolutionary
journal or I won't accept your evidence." The bias in this ploy is
obvious to anyone who knows the process: Academia is filled with
evolutionists, so the peer-review will almost certainly be done by an
evolutionist - who will not be fair with the material - if they even
accept to review it. Same thing with
publishing in an accepted journal. The journals are run almost
evolutionists, so evolution supporting journals will not publish
anything that doesn't support evolution regardless of how well the study
was done, how objective it is, or how precisely the researcher followed
the scientific method.
So it's a catch-22. You need to present me peer-reviewed
evidence. But only evidence that supports evolution will be peer
reviewed. Can't get you're evidence peer reviewed? Sorry Charlie.
Evolutionists know this is the case but don't care. Because for
evolutionists, it's not about finding the truth, it's about protecting
the evolutionary narrative.
The bias in the "but you're not a scientist" objection is not quite
as obvious, but is equally fallacious. There are a number of fallacies
wrapped up in this one objection. The first being it is type of
ad hominem fallacy.
The ad hominem fallacy - or attack as I often call it - seeks to
disqualify the person giving the argument, instead of the argument
itself. It's an often used tactic. Think of the lawyer trying to
discredit a witness because of some character flaw in the witness -
perhaps they're a drug addict or prostitute. (In Jesus' day, examples of
untrustworthy people were tax collectors and prostitutes. (Matt 21.31 -
Regarding the prostitutes - some things never change.) But obviously, even drug
addicts and prostitutes can still be telling the truth.
The "but you're not a scientist" fallacious argument was used by
atheist physicist and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss (who is prone to make
bad arguments - see this
this article on that.) in a response to the article by Eric Metaxas
Increasingly Makes the Case for God" where Metaxas talks about the
fine tuning discovered in the universe to make his case. Krauss' first
objection to Metaxas' is the topic of discussion. In his response in an
article titled, "No,
Astrobiology Has Not Made the Case for God" Krauss states:
"The author of the piece, Eric Metaxas, is not himself a
There's the fallacy and it could not be more succinctly put. I've
already mentioned the ad hominem problem with this fallacy, but it's
more problematic than that.
If you follow the argument to it's logical conclusion, then you
arrive at a position where the only people qualified to comment on
anything is scientists. If you disagree with the proposition that only
scientists can make true statements, then you see the
fallacy in this argument. But to make it crystal clear why you don't
need a PhD in a topic to reliably know something about a subject,
I don't need to have a PhD in
mathematics to know 2 + 2 = 4;
or to know that 2 + 2 does not = 6.
I don't need to have a PhD in meteorology to look up at the sky
and determine whether the sun is shining where I am, or if it's
behind clouds or if it's night.
I don't need an MD in some field of medicine to know if an
artery is cut and the bleeding is not quickly stopped, the person will
soon bleed out and die.
I trust you get my point: you don't need to have an advanced
degree in some field of study in order to know or observe some
truths about that field. But the "you're not a scientist" fallacy assumes you do in fact
need to have such advanced qualifications, and in the particular
discipline, to make basic observations. But to the contrary, especially
when it comes to origins, many
truths are either simple enough or evident enough that advanced degrees
necessary for a proper understanding. The problems with evolutionary
theory are like that. It has many origin problems which alone disqualify
it from being a proven "fact" as evolutionists like to think.
Problems like where did the first life come from? The first cell? The
origin of the information in DNA? The origin of the body plans evident
in the Cambrian Explosion? And so on. And that's just origin problems.
We could go on and talk about
design problems which natural selection can't solve; time needed for
evolution to occur (Haldane's
problem is one piece of this) a problem exacerbated by the fact that we live in a
young universe which is only about 6,000 years old. These are only tip of the
iceberg problems. You could go much deeper into each one, but even
looking at the tip of the iceberg, it's clear that evolution cannot be
true. Any lay person can observe this. And since any lay person can
observe and understand this, I write about it to bring it to their
I bring this up because I got a comment from an anonymous commenter
("John Doe" which I find interesting that he feels the need to
remain anonymous) in response to my article,
Evolution: Not Science, Pseudoscience. If you're so confident
about your position, Mr. Doe, why don't you put you name to your comments?
Anyway, Mr. Doe
uses the "but your not a scientist" fallacy in his comment. He also
includes ad hominem attacks, but as I point out in
this article, though they may make the attacker feel good, and
superior, they have no value in advancing their argument. And since I
see no need to repeat insults, some have been omitted. Otherwise, here
is the comment:
I have just completed reading your academic background and I'm
struggling to comprehend why someone who has no credentials in
biology or genetics would speak with such certainty about a topic in
which he is entirely unlettered?
Are you familiar with the Dunning-Kruger effect? You seem to be a
prime victim of it. The cocksure attitude as you present strawman,
misinformation, and abject asininity throughout your little blog is
grandiose evidence of your complete and utter failure to recognize
your place in this world...which is someone woefully incompetent and
uneducated when it concerns evolution.
His "But you're not a scientist"
objection is apparent in the first paragraph. Since I've already
commented on this fallacy, I won't comment on
it further here other than to say that, as is typical with ad
fallacies, he does not
address a single point made in the article. Instead he lobs personal
attacks that do nothing to disprove any evolutionary problems identified in article,
or support his unfounded belief in evolution.
The Problem of Scientism
In the second paragraph he moves on to the Dunning-Kruger effect.
Named after the researchers who discovered it, it states that those with
little or no training tend to over-rate their knowledge or ability in a
given field or endeavor while with training, such confidence decreases
to a certain point as knowledge increases. Here is a little explanatory
video on it.
His point being, of course, that I'm "a prime victim" of this effect.
His Dunning-Kruger accusation reveals both unfounded assumptions, and a
tendency toward scientism in his approach. Scientism is the belief that
the only valid knowledge one can have is gained through science.
Philosopher and apologist J.P. Moreland wrote an excellent work on it
and Secularism: Learning to Respond to a Dangerous Ideology." In it,
he quotes philosopher of science Tom Sorell: "What is crucial to
scientism is not the identification of something as scientific or
unscientific but the thought that the scientific is much more valuable
than the non-scientific, or the thought that the non-scientific is of
The problem with scientism is it
believes that the only valid truth or knowledge is gained through
science. That's a self-contradictory belief. For a full explanation of
why, I'll point you to, and highly recommend the book by J.P. Moreland.
But here's a quick taste of why scientism is not only
self-contradictory, but a false view of how truth or knowledge is
Strictly speaking, if you believe the
only valid knowledge is gained by science, then you don't believe the
statement that 2 + 2 = 4. That's a math statement. Need I point out that
math is not science? To prove 2 + 2 = 4, those who believe you can only
learn truth through science (meaning the scientific method) would have
to conduct an experiment to prove it. But they'd have a hard time doing
it, because tallying their results would require math statements - which
they have not proven yet.
Or consider this statement:
"It is impossible for something
both to be and not be at the same time and in the same respect."
That is a definition of the logical
principal of non-contradiction as it's typically called; or the
principle of contradiction as McInerny calls it in his book, "Being
Logical." But strictly speaking, those who believe only science reveals
truth cannot accept that statement or any other statement based on
logic. Because strictly speaking, logic is not science. But to properly
do a science, one must necessarily employ logic to setup the experiment.
So just as science requires math; science requires logic. But just as
math is not science, neither is logic science. If you believe all truth
comes from science, how then can those statements be believed? And in
fact, how can you do science without math and logic? A clear failing for
those who believe in scientism; who think that science is the only
way to learn truth.
I point out this underlying premise in
Mr. Anonymous statements because clearly he believes that whatever
science he thinks I haven't formally studied is more important that
whatever truths I have learned from other disciplines that applies to
this area. His rejection of those truths learned by means other than
science is a clear indication of the self-defeating approach of
The Dunning-Kruger Effect
I'll close by addressing his charges about the Dunning-Kruger effect.
Apparently Mr. Anonymous thinks you cannot learn anything after your
formal education; or perhaps he thinks anything learned outside your formal
education does not count.
Or as pointed out about above,
perhaps his scientism leanings makes him believe those without the
proper scientific background cannot comment on scientific beliefs.
Whatever the case, had he bothered to look at the
archives on this site, he'd have seen I've been writing this blog since February of
2014. In a few weeks, that will be eight years I've been writing about
evolution, the big bang, and related topics. I wonder if he thinks I could have learned anything in
those 8 years? Because the article he objects to was written in 2016.
And given the six years of learning, and writing about evolution I've
done since then, I still stand behind everything I wrote then.
Here's another point Mr. Anonymous apparently hasn't considered. Do
people tend to start blogs on topics they know nothing about?
Let me answer for myself. No, I wouldn't start a blog on a topic I know
nothing about. So how does Mr. Anonymous know I didn't spend years
before I started this blog seriously researching the topic and writing
about it? And before that how does Mr. Anonymous know I wasn't studying
it informally and sharing what I found with friends and family? The
obvious answer to both - he doesn't know. It looks like he's fallen
victim to the fallacy of an
appeal to ignorance: not knowing something to be true (or false) you
assume the opposite - in support of your belief
I don't care what Mr. Anonymous thinks, but for the edification of
faithful readers, I'll share a bit about my familiarity on this topic in
the same vein that Paul shares about himself in 2 Cor 11.5. Prior to
seriously studying this topic I was an avid consumer of creation related
material, particularly in regards to the big bang and Darwinian evolution.
In those early days I made a CD ROM (for those of you old enough to
remember those) to give to friends with info that defended Biblical
Creation and Intelligent Design. I still have the original files from
that CD on my PC. I'm going to show you some of the dates of when I created
For those who may never have seen a ".wav" file, it's a sound file. As
you can see those .wav files were created in January of 2003. That would be
19 years ago. So 19 years ago I was active enough in researching this topic to create
that file. The "evo_def.wav" is a sound file of Ken Ham
of Answers in Genesis/Ark Experience fame defining
evolution from a presentation he gave called "The Relevance of
Creation" for which I bought the cassette tape (for those of
you who remember cassettes). The presentation is the one he gave when he
was touring the country in the 1990's giving presentations to pastors
(of which I was one at the time) to alert them to the problem of
evolution, and I went to see him. As evidence that the above represents
a real file and is not just a picture, I've linked it
so you can listen to, and hear a young Ken Ham.
The "design of the heart.mp3" file is from a
radio series on
Intelligent Design that ICR did on the radio years ago, and made the
files available on the internet. I picked it up a few years after I
created the Ken Ham file. You can see that date is 2007. As the name
implies it's about the design of the heart and details some of the
intricacies of the heart that were obviously designed. Listen to that
(I don't think that series is available anywhere now, so enjoy this!)
So from this data alone, I've been studying this topic for at least
19 years (and actually it was before that). So according to the Dunning-Kruger
theory, I've been doing this long enough that I can give an accurate,
sober assessment of my own abilities in this area. This is my
Apart from any formal training I have in science and theology, I have
been blogging on this topic for eight years, and researching and sharing
about it one way or another for at least 19 years. I give presentations
on this topic, and conduct museum
tours on this topic as a
certified museum guide. My assessment of my
ability in this area is as follows: I am fully qualified to comment on
the topics I cover, which as I explained above, do not require an advanced
science degree to understand or explain. Furthermore, I have the assurance of being correct
in my overall worldview ( which is, "In the beginning, God created..."
Gen 1.1), because I have the light of the divine creator who has
revealed the answer to questions that evolutionists can't answer like
what is the origin of the life?
My first inclination was to ignore this question, because as I've
written previously, I am convinced that "Evidence
is for Believers - Not Mockers," so in my view, this mocker
does not deserve a response or evidence of my qualifications. (Prov 9.7)
But I write this first, for the benefit and
encouragement of readers so that you who read with interest and have
"ears to hear" (Mark 4.9) may know this blog is written by one
experienced and grounded in the topic, not a novice. And second, so
those without a background in science can rest assured that there are
other sources of truth, like the Bible, that qualifies them to speak on
scientific beliefs concerning origins.