The Three Failures of Creationism

The Three Failures of Creationism: Logic, Rhetoric, and Science

Walter M. Fitch
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Pages: 194
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1pnn5n
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  • Book Info
    The Three Failures of Creationism
    Book Description:

    Walter M. Fitch, a pioneer in the study of molecular evolution, has written this cogent overview of why creationism fails with respect to all the fundamentals of scientific inquiry. He explains the basics of logic and rhetoric at the heart of scientific thinking, shows what a logical syllogism is, and tells how one can detect that an argument is logically fallacious, and therefore invalid, or even duplicitous. Fitch takes his readers through the arguments used by creationists to question the science of evolution. He clearly delineates the fallacies in logic that characterize creationist thinking, and explores the basic statistics that creationists tend to ignore, including elementary genetics, the age of the Earth, and fossil dating. His book gives readers the tools they need for detecting and disassembling the ideas most frequently repeated by creationists.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95166-2
    Subjects: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. FOREWORD
    (pp. ix-xvi)
    Francisco J. Ayala

    The theory of biological evolution is the central organizing principle of modern biology. In 1973, the eminent evolutionist Theodosius Dobzhansky famously asserted, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” Evolution provides a scientific explanation for why there are so many different kinds of organisms on Earth and gives an account of their similarities and differences (morphological, physiological, and genetic). It accounts for the appearance of humans on Earth and reveals our species’s biological connections with other living things. It provides an understanding of the constantly evolving bacteria and viruses and other pathogenic organisms, and it enables...

  4. CHAPTER ONE Logic, Logical Fallacies, and Rhetoric
    (pp. 1-27)

    In writing this book, it was my intention that it be for people who have no irrevocable position on at least some of the differences of opinion between creationists and evolutionists, but who would like a view of those arguments that is relatively fair. That I have not totally accomplished, as I am clearly an evolutionist and believe in the naturalist (materialist) view, whereas creationists do not. And therein lies the difference. I hope to have produced in this book a clear differentiation of the reasons for what evolutionists believe and what creationists believe, written at a level that intelligent...

  5. CHAPTER TWO The Basics
    (pp. 28-51)

    What is “basic” to the understanding of creationism and evolution? This chapter discusses some of the categories of knowledge and belief, and examines areas of knowledge and information.

    I suggest seven ways of knowing, not all of which are equally dependable. Examining these ways can be critical in deciding the logic or correctness of a conclusion.

    1.Experienceis intended to cover the effects of a lifetime of living in the world and learning that if we’re hungry and cry, mother will give us milk; if we stand in the rain, we’re likely to get wet. Every time we throw our...

  6. CHAPTER THREE Some Simple Math and Statistics
    (pp. 52-97)

    This chapter discusses some techniques of science, and the criticisms that creationists have of those techniques.

    Science makes much of mathematics and statistics. Math and statistics are covered only briefly in this book. It will serve our needs to see some examples of the scientific process and how computations lie at the heart of our degree of certainty. No emphasis is placed on proving mathematical formulas, but the reader should get a clear understanding of the general mathematical process of showing a hypothesis to be supported or not by the data. Such demonstrations have different methods depending upon the hypothesis...

  7. CHAPTER FOUR “Young-Earth” Creationism
    (pp. 98-148)

    What do some creationists believe that is different from the beliefs of others—particularly evolutionists and many other religious people, including the majority of Christians? Some of the following beliefs are no longer held by many creationists but do occasionally come up.

    Creationists believe that the Bible is the word of God Himself (who is perfect; Matt. 5:48: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven”) and thus it must be without possible error. This belief is obtained in part from 2 Timothy 3:16: “All scripture [the Bible] is given by inspiration of God.” But the...

  8. Epilogue: The Literal Meaning of Genesis
    (pp. 149-150)

    And finally, let the last word be that of St. Augustine (a.d. 354–430) in his treatiseThe Literal Meaning of Genesis(which is highly recommended to all readers), as translated by J. H. Taylor:

    Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones and so forth; and this knowledge he holds...

  9. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. 151-152)
  10. GLOSSARY
    (pp. 153-162)
  11. ANNOTATED REFERENCE LIST
    (pp. 163-168)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 169-177)