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Barking up the wrong Darwin: Creationist appropriation of evolutionary theory

Stefaan Blancke (UGent)
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Abstract
Creationists argue that 'Darwinism' hardly deserves the label of science. By employing a whole range of tactics, they downplay its scientific merit. Firstly, they set up definitions of science and claim that evolutionary theory cannot live up to them. Science, they claim, is based on observation and experimentation. As no scientist ever witnessed one species evolving into another, evolutionary theory remains 'just a theory'. Secondly, they convert evolutionary theory into a concept no evolutionary biologist would ever defend. For instance, they claim that Darwinian evolution is a process of pure chance, requiring matter to form complex features at random. Therefore, evolutionary theory fails dramatically as an adequate explanation for biological 'design'. Thirdly, they demand evidence evolutionary theory cannot deliver in principle. Paleontologists do not expect to find exact 'missing links' as there is none to be found. Evolution is not the ascension of a great chain of being. It is an extraordinary response of a religion that longs to be science. Turning Darwinian theory into a straw man serves at least two functions. Firstly, it allows creation 'scientists' to discard the evidence as insufficient. Secondly, it fits in nicely with the creationist strife for balanced treatment.
Keywords
Creationism, evolutionary theory, religion, philosophy of science

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Blancke, Stefaan. 2009. “Barking up the Wrong Darwin: Creationist Appropriation of Evolutionary Theory.” In Abstracts Religious Responses to Darwinism 1859-2009.
APA
Blancke, S. (2009). Barking up the wrong Darwin: Creationist appropriation of evolutionary theory. Abstracts Religious responses to Darwinism 1859-2009. Presented at the Religious responses to Darwinism 1859-2009.
Vancouver
1.
Blancke S. Barking up the wrong Darwin: Creationist appropriation of evolutionary theory. Abstracts Religious responses to Darwinism 1859-2009. 2009.
MLA
Blancke, Stefaan. “Barking up the Wrong Darwin: Creationist Appropriation of Evolutionary Theory.” Abstracts Religious Responses to Darwinism 1859-2009. 2009. Print.
@inproceedings{718905,
  abstract     = {Creationists argue that 'Darwinism' hardly deserves the label of science. By employing a whole range of tactics, they downplay its scientific merit. Firstly, they set up definitions of science and claim that evolutionary theory cannot live up to them. Science, they claim, is based on observation and experimentation. As no scientist ever witnessed one species evolving into another, evolutionary theory remains 'just a theory'. Secondly, they convert evolutionary theory into a concept no evolutionary biologist would ever defend. For instance, they claim that Darwinian evolution is a process of pure chance, requiring matter to form complex features at random. Therefore, evolutionary theory fails dramatically as an adequate explanation for biological 'design'. Thirdly, they demand evidence evolutionary theory cannot deliver in principle. Paleontologists do not expect to find exact 'missing links' as there is none to be found. Evolution is not the ascension of a great chain of being.
It is an extraordinary response of a religion that longs to be science. Turning Darwinian theory into a straw man serves at least two functions. Firstly, it allows creation 'scientists' to discard the evidence as insufficient. Secondly, it fits in nicely with the creationist strife for balanced treatment.},
  author       = {Blancke, Stefaan},
  booktitle    = {Abstracts Religious responses to Darwinism 1859-2009},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {St Anne's College, Oxford},
  title        = {Barking up the wrong Darwin: Creationist appropriation of evolutionary theory},
  year         = {2009},
}