Refining the Questions for Question Evolution Day
For the Darwin's day just past, astronomer Phil Plait who appears on science programs such as How the Universe Works, tweeted a link to an article he wrote in response to questions from Creationists pointing out problems with evolutionary theory. (The questions are appropriate for Question Evolution Day, which is held on the same day as Darwin Day, but were in fact asked at the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate.) In his article "Answers for Creationists" Phil addresses the questions from the secular consensus view - that is to say from the "evolution is true/fact" perspective.
He sets it up like this:
He goes about answering the 22 questions from creationists. Given his answers (when he has them - for some he doesn't and never will), I'd like to look at how we as creationists can better formulate the questions to minimize wiggle room. The problem is many of the questions are imprecise, or mix theories, thus giving him (and all evolutionists) plenty of wiggle room through which they drive a truckload of nonsense. The result being, evolutionists continue in the belief that creationists are wrong about origins and don't understand science; while evolutionists are correct and properly understand science.
So while I'll comment on Phil's answers, it's primary to lay the foundation for better questions. The goal being to refine them so what we creationists ask the evolutionists leaves as little wriggle room as possible (none at all preferably) to squirm out and thus avoid the serious problems with Darwinian theory. So what follows are the original questions, part or all of Phil's answer, followed by my remarks, and if appropriate a refined or redirected question. So here we go: (the question is in bold, Phil's answer in italics.)
1) “Bill Nye, are you influencing the minds of children in a positive way?”
I’m not Bill, but I’d say yes, he is. ...
Perhaps a little perspective is
needed. Jesus said, "Which of you, if his son asks for
bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give
him a snake?" (Matt 7.9-10) You would of course always (as far as
you're aware) give your children nutritious food, and never give them
poison. In as much as Bill Nye teaches observational science, he is
giving them nutritious food. However in these latter days he has
gotten increasingly insistent on the need to teach the poisonous
doctrine of evolution. That doctrine directly
contradicts the word of God, and thus they are poison to the soul.
Therefore I need not answer this question. You know the answer. Is
it good to feed your children good food laced with poison?
2) “Are you scared of a Divine Creator?”
No. In fact, if there is a Judeo-Christian god, that would have fascinating implications for much of what we scientists study...
This question comes from a
Christian perspective. Scripture says:
This question tries to get at motives for not believing in God, but in so doing, it does nothing to prove or disapprove either creation or evolution. Digging down to motives can be a long difficult path so I recommend skipping this for something more direct and pointed.
3) “Is it completely illogical that the Earth was created mature? i.e. trees created with rings … Adam created as an adult ....”
It might be internally consistent, even logical, but a bit of a stretch. ...
This question is alluding to the biblical belief in a young earth and universe, but approaches it from an "isn't it possible?" perspective. As expected, the answer is "yes it's possible, but highly improbable." They still feel comfortable in their wiggle room of improbability. So once you get them to acknowledge it's possible, be prepared to show them why their belief in in an old earth and universe is impossible. That's why it's always good to have a few young earth evidences committed to memory for easy access. Here's a few.
4) “Does not the second law of thermodynamics disprove evolution?”
No. The creationist argument assumes the Earth is a closed system, such that energy cannot escape or enter. But the Sun is the main source of energy for the Earth. This allows more order to be created, and for entropy to be locally lowered in some cases.
The second law of thermodynamics - that closed systems tend toward more disorder or higher states of entropy - while applicable to evolution (one would expect lifeless materials to become more disordered, not more ordered, and particularly not more ordered toward a living creature); still allows too much wiggle room. Raw energy from the sun is unlikely by itself to provide the increase in order needed, but you'll not get an evolutionist to admit that.
Thus the second law of thermodynamics is better used against the big bang - where the universe - (everything there is), is in fact a closed system. A stronger argument uses both the first and second law of thermodynamics: 1) The first law says in a closed system energy can be neither created nor destroyed. Before the universe was created nothing existed. The totality of nothingness is a closed system. Thus where did the energy for the singularity come from? 2) Once the singularity explodes into existence, the second law says that energy (and any matter formed from it) should tend toward disorder, not order. The better question then is, why then do we have an orderly universe? (Their answer to that is the fiction called inflation. For more on that see here.)
5) “How do you explain a sunset if their [sic] is no God?”
Angular momentum. OK, kidding aside, if you mean the beauty of a sunset, well, we have evolved to appreciate colors, shapes, and metaphors. And in my opinion understanding the science behind events like sunsets adds to their beauty.
Incidentally, some creationists are geocentrists.
This appears to be referencing the argument from Beauty or aesthetic experience. He starts with a tongue-in-cheek comment about angular momentum which belies a problem big bang theorists have with the creation of the solar system, which we won't go into here. Suffice it to say it's a significant one. The argument from aesthetics from my perspective is really a two part argument:
The argument from beauty is difficult for some to understand, so be prepared to further clarify if you use it.
6) “If the Big Bang Theory is true and taught as science along with evolution, why do the laws of thermodynamics debunk said theories?”
See No. 4. Also, as far as the Big Bang goes, we don’t know how or why the Universe came into being (though there are some interesting ideas). But “I don’t know” is an acceptable answer in science. ...
I echo his comment (see number 4 above) and raise him this: the "I don't know" answer when used by scientists is a double standard. It's okay for scientists to say "I don't know" for instance, where the singularity in the big bang came from, or where the first life came from. But for some reason, it's a problem for believers to say "I don't know" why a particular evil happened. For more on the "I don't know" double standard, see the article here .
7) “What about noetics?”
Well, that depends on what you mean. There is a branch of philosophy called noetics, which deals with understanding the mind. That is also a scientific endeavor, since we know the mind is an effect of the brain—as many say, the mind is what the brain does. Scientists are studying that now, so I don’t think you can dismiss science out of hand and replace it with religion in that instance. ...
Phil speaks of the mind and the brain, and thus leaves himself lots of wiggle room by not speaking of what former atheist Anthony Flew calls one of "...the five fundamental phenomena that underlie our experience of the world and that cannot be explained within the framework of the "new atheism." That being consciousness. From where does consciousness come? It cannot be explained simply as the interaction of physical matter such as electrons and protons, or simply the firing of neurons. (If that were the case they could claim your microwave oven is conscious.) Since evolutionists only recognize matter, they cannot explain consciousness.
8) “Where do you derive objective meaning in life?”
We have evolved over millions of years to be social animals, tribal, supportive of others and willing to reach a common goal. ...
This question is a very good one; as you'll note Phil never answers it. Note the question asks for objective meaning, but he couches his answer in terms of evolutionary benefit, which means whatever arises out of evolution is either:
Watch for such evasions when asking this question.
9) “If God did not create everything, how did the first single-celled organism originate? By chance?”
This is an excellent question. It was partly by chance, but it wasn’t random. ...
And I might turn the question around. Who created God? If you say He has always been, then why not say the same about the Universe (or more properly, the multiverse)?
Indeed this is an excellent question, made plain from all the dancing and dodging Phil does to avoid the correct answer, which from an evolutionist is: "we don't know how life originated." For all the theories, postulations and guesses they have, they simply don't know where life came from. Further a careful examination of their theories reveal that none of them work. This question should be pressed until they either acknowledge they don't know (and thus all of evolution is based on an argument from ignorance) or refuse to continue the discussion.
His attempt to turn the
question around is disingenuous. In doing so he'd have to
say "the universe has always been" which is a denial of the big
bang theory which states the universe began with a singularity
13.77 billion years ago. The multiverse is their attempt to
evade clearly apparent fine tuning in the universe and causes
more problems than it solves. 
10) “I believe in the Big Bang Theory … God said it and BANG it happened.”
That’s fine by me. I might disagree with your explanation of the origin, but if from there you allow that the laws of the Universe are as we see them today, then it sounds to me like you are arguing more for science than creationism. ...
The question appears to be an attempt at humor to affirm the biblical account while employing the language of secularists to avoid further discussion. As you can see, Phil's not laughing, and insists on taking the scientific terms as scientists mean them.
My counsel therefore is to
prepared to backup your biblical belief with why the Big Bang is
inconsistent with the Biblical creation account. A simple
comparison of the order of created things will suffice to show
the conflict.  For example the Bible teaches the earth was
created first; the Big Bang - the singularity followed by stars.
11) “Why do evolutionists/secularists/humanists/non-God believing people reject the idea of their [sic] being a Creator God but embrace the concept of intelligent design from aliens or other extra-terrestrial sources?”
Seriously, this is a profound misunderstanding of the secular stance. I'm open to any provable claim, as long as the evidence supports it.
Panspermia refers to the theory that life on earth may have been seeded from space. It comes in two flavors: Directed Panspermia, and simple panspermia. Directed Panspermia posits that life was intentionally seeded on earth (and perhaps other planets) by an advanced extra-terrestrial civilization. Simple panspermia posits merely that the life arrived here from space, without speculating on the origin.
This question is pointing to the theory of Directed Panspermia. In his answer, Phil's just being evasive. How? Consider:
Phil would probably split a hair and say
Directed Panspermia was not mentioned, but I would argue, the idea
is inherent in the concept. Otherwise you have the same problem as
you do on earth, how did the extra-terrestrial life begin? (And
really - even with directed Panspermia, you still have that
12) “There is no in between … the only one found has been Lucy and there are only a few pieces of the hundreds necessary for an 'official proof’.”
This is incorrect on many levels; we have many bones from different individuals of Australopithecus afarensis (Lucy’s species), ...
This question appropriately points to the lack of transitional forms that evolution requires. Thus it is a valid objection - as pointed out by a number of scientists. One such scientist, author Jonathan Sarfarti, makes the point in his book against evolution by including a chapter titled, "The Links are still missing." Though a valid question, it always degenerates into the question of "what is a link?" Here are some alternatives to going down that fruitless rabbit hole:
13) “Does metamorphosis help support evolution?”
Let me say it this way: It doesn’t disprove evolution. While we don’t understand how it began, that leads to asking more questions and learning more about it. And we do have some understanding of it.
After Phil dances around the answer then confesses we don't know, he points to articles that do what evolutionists do best: tell unsubstantiated stories (called "plausible narratives") about how something that is clearly impossible by chance and mutation came about by chance and mutation.
The short answer is no, Metamorphosis supports creation, not evolution, for two reasons:
That seems to indicate it has been
carefully built in somewhere by an intelligent designer.
14) “If Evolution is a theory (like creationism or the Bible) why then is Evolution taught as a fact.”
First, creationism and the Bible aren’t theories. Second, evolution is a fact and a theory. If this question is an argument to allow creationism to be taught in schools, that’s a violation of the First Amendment anyway.
Here we see how important it is to use the correct terms when speaking to detail oriented scientists and secularists. To Review:
Given that definition:
The real thrust of this question
alludes to this: There are many problems with evolutionary theory
that proponents keep hidden. That being the case, why not simply
address it directly:
15) “Because science is 'theory'–not testable, observable, nor repeatable, why do you object to creationism or intelligent design being taught in school?”
Actually, science is testable, observable, and repeatable! That’s the very definition of what science is! And if you actually mean evolution, that fits the criteria as well. There are countless examples. Here’s one.
Also, again, teaching religion in schools as being real is a violation of the First Amendment.
We have to be careful with terms again. It is the theory of evolution that is not testable, observable or repeatable; not science. Evolution should be those things to be true science. It appears this questioner is referencing the distinction Ken Ham makes about the differences between Operational Science - which is observable, testable and repeatable; and historical Science - (like Evolution and the Big Bang) - which is not. The example Phil cites in his response of evolution - E.Coli; please note: 44,000 generations - and they're still E.Coli, no change in kind there, so no evolution. (Evolutionists will play the name game claiming evolution, but recognize it for what it is: an attempt to obscure the fact that bacteria-to-biologist evolution simply doesn't happen.)
At the end you see Phil trying to shut down discussion by calling Creation "religion" in violation of the First Amendment. The First Amendment speaks of an "establishment of religion." Evolutionists can't tell the difference between "fact" and supposition, so it is not surprising they have a problem differentiating between a Church and a creation account. Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the evolution promoting National Center for Science Education advises against scientists debating with Creationists. Phil's attempt to stifle debate by hiding behind the first amendment falls along the same line.
Nevertheless, the question is a
good one with a
16) “What mechanism has science discovered that evidences an increase of genetic information seen in any genetic mutation or evolutionary process?”
Again, here you go.
Phil's example is not an example of an increase of genetic information. As the article acknowledges:
The article supposes such an ability was acquired from some other species. There is no proof given that the ability wasn't built into E.Coli, and made manifest through environmental pressures.
This question is good as is. The question asks for a mechanism to increase information. We know that mechanism is not mutations - mutations decrease information (though such a decrease may on occasion have a beneficial outcome). Phil provided an example of natural selection. But natural selection also removes information, it doesn't increase it. So for this question I'd suggest he'd try again. The example cited doesn't cut it. And for those asking, be ready when they dance and wiggle.
17) “What purpose do you think you are here for if you don’t believe in salvation?”
That’s an interesting question, but why not ask it of people who are of a different religion? ...
Another good question which
points to meaning and purpose in life. But evolutionists
deny there is any meaning and purpose in life so he does the
only thing he can do - he punts it to someone with a
religion where there is meaning and purpose.
18) “Why have we found only 1 ‘Lucy,’ when we have found more than 1 of everything else?”
See number 12. The missing links are still missing. And there are still no transitionary forms now - as there should be. For evolutionists just about any ancient unidentified bones becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy about missing links regardless of actual evidence (or lack thereof). Thus if you want to talk fossils, the stronger case is that all the fossils found around the globe point to a global flood.
19) “Can you believe in ‘the big bang’ without 'faith'”?
That's way too much wiggle room. Questions must be specific. For instance, "Why do big bang scientists claim everything came from nothing, when they don't really mean nothing?" (The equivocation they use on the word "nothing" I call big bang magic.)
20) “How can you look at the world and not believe someone created/thought of it? It’s amazing!!!”
I agree; it is amazing! I’ve written about this many times. But we know that complexity can arise naturally through the laws of physics. ...
Phil's answer begs a longer discussion on the difference between complexity and specified complexity and an examination of where the laws of physics come from. But that discussion will have to wait another occasion. His response to our amazing world again suggests the question of aesthetic experience from question 5. So the fact that we've got an evolutionist on the doorstep to confessing the world, perhaps life itself elicits an aesthetic experience (for which there is no purpose in evolution), I think is a significant achievement. We'll leave this question as is.
21) “Relating to the big bang theory … Where did the exploding star come from?”
A quibble: It wasn’t an exploding star, but an explosion of space and time. But as I said for No. 6, we don’t know, but that’s OK ...
A quibble with his quibble: it wasn't just space and time, but also energy - in direct contradiction to the first law of thermodynamics - energy can neither be created nor removed in a closed system. He conveniently leaves that inconvenient truth out. Even so, he must once again punt to the "I don't know" double standard from question 6. Another question good just as it is.
22) “If we came from monkeys then why are there still monkeys?”
Let me ask you this: If you came from parents, why are there still parents?
The answer is that evolution is not a line from one species to the next. ...
Phil's answer points to the evolutionist's creed that humans are just one line among multiple lines of animals all connected by the tree of life. Perhaps the following to draw out the absurdity of that position: If we are just part of a long line of animals, - a line that is still evolving; how could evolutionists object if a superior race came and put humans in a zoo in the same way humans put animals in a zoo? On what grounds could they object? There can be no moral objections - that requires a transcendent moral lawgiver. It can't be on the grounds we're somehow different from the animals. According to the evolutionists - we're not. Clearly that's a disconcerting scenario, but under the evolutionary worldview, one cannot give a reason consistent with evolutionary doctrine why the superior race would be wrong in doing as they wish.
In his conclusion, Phil notes:
...one final note: At the very top of this article, I put the word believe in quotation marks when it was used in relation to evolution. Why? Because science isn't a belief system. Scientists don't believe in evolution; we trust that it's the best way to describe how we came to be.
Once again we see the common evolutionist tactic of trying to make evolution appear more sure, more verified, more trustworthy than it actually is. To clarify:
Thanks to the contributors of the above
questions for getting us started, you've done a good job. With these pointers in mind, you can do an
even better job of questioning evolution, particularly on the next
Question Evolution Day.[^17]
Duane Caldwell | posted 2/27/2016
1 Big Bang theorists actually equivocate on the meaning of "nothing" with regards to the Big Bang. To see how, see my article "Exposing the Big Magic behind the Big Bang."
Paul Davies, "Universes Galore: Where Will It All End?"
7. An article that nicely lays out the differences in the order things are created between the biblical and big bang creation accounts is this:
John Hartnett, "The big bang is not a Reason
to Believe!", 5/20/2014,
11 Jonathan Wells, Darwin's
Dilemma: The Mystery of the Cambrian Fossil Record
13 Benjamin Radford, "Should
Scientists Debate Creationists?" Discovery News, 1/5/2014,
14 For more on mutations and
15 Duane Caldwell, Exposing the Big
Magic Behind the Big Bang, 1/6/2016