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Nov 27 2012

Fischer Repeats Dumbest Creationist Argument Ever

I know it’s a difficult task to decide which young earth creationist argument is the dumbest, but I’ll nominate the argument repeated by Bryan Fischer and his guest from Answers in Genesis this week. The argument: There’s no way we can know the age of the earth, it can only be known by eyewitness testimony and only God was an eyewitness and he gave us the Bible, so that settles it.

This is world class stupid.

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  1. 1
    composer99

    And there’s no way we can know whether [pick the serial murderer of your choice] killed [pick known victim of your choice], it can only be known by eyewitness testimony. Forensic evidence? Worthless. Therefore, we must release any serial murderer who has not confessed to their crimes and we can’t prosecute any suspected murderer who won’t confess.

    The Bryan Fischer Eyewitness Argument™: revolutionizing criminal law.

  2. 2
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    Silly Christian. Odin and his sibling gods were there at the creation of the world when they carved it from the bones of their grandfather Ymir, first of the Frost Giants.

  3. 3
    matthewhodson

    Let me just check which eye witness account contains the date of creation….
    Oh neither of them.

  4. 4
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Hey Rubio, if you’re not qualified to do something whether that’s electrical wiring, practicing medicine or science, you know what you do? Listen to what those who are qualified are telling you that’s what!

    Also eyewitnesses can be generally be put in the witness box and cross examined. You want to try doing that one with god? Good luck with the sub pena!

  5. 5
    Michael Heath

    This argument is also the most popular one I hear from those conservative Christians who most emulate the Sarah Palins of that population. “They [scientists] weren’t there, they don’t know, but I have God’s word telling me the Truth.”

    I’m convinced these leaders really are as delusionally idiotic as they act, not due to a lack of intelligence but instead submitting over the years to how you need to think to believe. This sort of argument by an influential leader is suggestive they’re instead conning their audience. I don’t believe that, but it does raise the question.

    I don’t think they’re conning their audience but instead fellow true believers, simply because there are only a handful of creationists, i.e., an extremely small set of outliers, who’ve I encountered who have actually confronted the evidence for the origins of the universe and evolution and still reject it. All the rest, including the ones who are in science, avoid such confrontations which we can confirm by their demonstrations of ignorance of the actual evidence. So there arguments are always steeped in ignorance; the same not only goes for global warming, but I’ve yet to find one denialist outlier who is cognizant of the evidence and rejects it, including those practicing in the relevant fields (their arguments all avoid the evidence). Michael Behe is an example of someone who in debates about evolution actually reveals he can not confront contra evidence, even when it’s submitted to him in writing in a debate; his arguments are arguments from ignorance and other logical fallacies.

  6. 6
    peterh

    Creationist = weapons-grade stupid.

    Next topic?

  7. 7
    Zeno

    This is all part and parcel of Ken Ham’s mantra, “Were you there?”, which he encourages his creationism-deluded students to use in baiting their science teachers. Ham reassures us by pointing out that not only was God present at the creation as the sole eyewitness, he also wrote an incoherent book about it. Lucky us.

  8. 8
    eric

    Its not particularly surprising. The ‘were you there’ spiel is just a blue collar way of expressing the position that when scripture and empirical data conflict, one should believe scripture over the empirical data. You see that argument posed in more intellectual language by a lot of people in a lot of places (the example that comes to mind is the two christian textbooks reviewed in the ACSI vs. Stearns case), but its basically just “were you there” dressed up to sound a bit more credible.

  9. 9
    democommie

    The embedded video will not run for me (not that I need to confirm that Fischer and anyone in his immediate vicinity is not a complete asshat). It’s black with a red arrow to start. Is it new? I’ve seen it elsewhere and it won’t run for me on other blogs.

    How nice of YHWH to TiVo the first five (and major portions of the sixth) days of his SpectaKKKular KKKreation Event. But wait, that means the whole thing could be a hoax. I bet that Quetazlcoatl, Brahma, First Man and Woman, The , Pan Gu, Zeus and the rest of the creatorgods were hangin’ out at the “8th Day”, a popular bar near the Well of All Souls and they just pranked the whole thing.

  10. 10
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @3.matthewhodson :

    Let me just check which eye witness account contains the date of creation….
    Oh neither of them.

    That’s alright Bishop Usher (sp?) added up all the biblical begats and calculated it for us. Oh wait, he wasn’t there and also circumstanial “evidence” not eyewitness testimony.

  11. 11
    Reginald Selkirk

    I think the consensus is clear on which Creationist argument is dumbest:
    if we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?

  12. 12
    cafink

    It isn’t even an argument. It’s just an assertion. Fisher and his guest *say* that the age of the Earth can’t be known except through eyewitness accounts, but they don’t actually present any evidence to support that assertion against the mountains of evidence we *do* have that it’s billions of years old.

  13. 13
    Reginald Selkirk

    If, as Fischer relates, Genesis is an eyewitness account written by Y*hw*h, or El*h*m, or wh*m*v*r; then why does it write about those characters in the third person? Why doesn’t it start out with:

    1) In the beginning, I created the heaven and the earth.
    2) And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of Me moved upon the face of the waters…

  14. 14
    davem

    I think the consensus is clear on which Creationist argument is dumbest:
    if we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?

    Meh. That ‘s only dumb the first time it’s asked. It becomes dumber when you get told about speciation, and you still ask the question.

  15. 15
    trucreep

    Ed…

    WERE YOU THERE

    :|

  16. 16
    slc1

    Re Michae Heath @ #5

    Kurt Wise is an example of what Richard Dawkins refers to as an honest creationist. Thus, Wise readily admits that the overwhelming preponderance of the scientific evidence supports an old earth and common descent. However, he rejects the scientific evidence in favor of the bible. As Dawkins put it:

    Depending upon how many Kurt Wises are out there, it could mean that we are completely wasting our time arguing the case and presenting the evidence for evolution. We have it on the authority of a man who may well be creationism’s most highly qualified and most intelligent scientist that no evidence, no matter how overwhelming, no matter how all-embracing, no matter how devastatingly convincing, can ever make any difference.

    http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/dawkins_21_4.html

  17. 17
    matty1

    This is not the dumbest creationist argument and if you doubt me then how is it there are PYGMIES + DWARFS ??

  18. 18
    Didaktylos

    The dumbest YEC argument is whichever you heard most recently.

  19. 19
    grumpyoldfart

    Don’t worry, all the liberal Christians will protest against this nonsense and warn their Creationist friends that bible is a book of myths, not science.

  20. 20
    baal

    Was I there? nuh-uh. …
    Did you eat the cookies in the cookie jar? nuh-uh. (chews noisely, fingers are smeered with crumbs and chocolate)
    I think you did.
    nuh-uh, did you see me? I don’t see to see you do it.
    uh-huh, you do. See I wrote this note that says I didn’t eat cookies.

    - If we don’t take this from 5 year olds, why should we take it from grown men?

  21. 21
    Ben P

    If, as Fischer relates, Genesis is an eyewitness account written by Y*hw*h, or El*h*m, or wh*m*v*r; then why does it write about those characters in the third person? Why doesn’t it start out with:

    1) In the beginning, I created the heaven and the earth.
    2) And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of Me moved upon the face of the waters…

    I’m affirmatively not trying to be an apologist, because I’m not, but the generally accepted tradition is that Moses wrote the Septuagint.

    Brian Fisher, I’m quite sure would explain the intracacies of what he believes about divine revelation until he was blue in the face. More neutral scholars generally accept that genesis, exodus et al. are the transcribed versions of early Hebrew oral stories/histories, like virtually all neolithic/bronze age cultures had.

  22. 22
    criticaldragon1177

    Ed Brayton,

    Someone should ask them how they “know” the bible is an eyewitness account other than the fact that it is supposedly the word of God. Based on their way of thinking someone who believed in the ancient Greek religion could have said we know how the Gods created the world, because we have an eyewitness account. The Bible is a book written by fallible men, not God, and in order to prove otherwise Fischer would have to first prove there is a god, and than prove he wrote it. The Bible tells me so doesn’t cut it.

  23. 23
    noastronomer

    I’m afraid that I must insist on eyewitness testimony that the bible is the word of god.

    Mike.

  24. 24
    dingojack

    Were you there at the creation of every thing?
    No? Then how do know how creation happened as reported?
    Was god there? How do you know? You weren’t there, remember?
    QED
    Dingo

  25. 25
    gwangung

    And there’s no way we can know whether [pick the serial murderer of your choice] killed [pick known victim of your choice], it can only be known by eyewitness testimony. Forensic evidence? Worthless. Therefore, we must release any serial murderer who has not confessed to their crimes and we can’t prosecute any suspected murderer who won’t confess.

    A few years back, I used to troll creationists who spouted this line by signing my posts as Gil Grissom, LVPD. Some folks got the point, but there were some who didn’t.

  26. 26
    Reginald Selkirk

    I’m affirmatively not trying to be an apologist, because I’m not, but the generally accepted tradition is that Moses wrote the Septuagint.

    Which we all know is stoopid, because 1) it’s not true, 2) If Moses wrote the parts of the OT relating to events before his life, that would fail the “eyewitness only” requirement 3) Same for the parts relating to events after Moses’ death.

  27. 27
    Reginald Selkirk

    but the generally accepted tradition is that Moses wrote the Septuagint.

    Note in retrospect: that would be the pentateuch, not the septaguint.

  28. 28
    peterh

    Since critical examination of the manuscripts involved show that the Pentateuch is an amalgam of distinctly differing sources and traditions . . . .

  29. 29
    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    There are a lot of candidates for “stupidest Creationist argument”. My two favorites are Ann Coulter’s “if evolution is true, why don’t we have eyes on our feet?” and Ray Comfort’s “how did human males reproduce themselves while they were waiting for human females to evolve?”

    I’m not making either of those up.

  30. 30
    pHred

    As an Earth Scientist who occasionally teaches historical geology and gets really weird emails demanding that I participate in some “debate” I have recently decided that my answer forthwith to such statements will now be …

    My hovercraft is full of eels.

    Though I can’t do the accent correctly yet.

  31. 31
    typecaster

    I think the consensus is clear on which Creationist argument is dumbest: If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?

    On the other hand, this one does give you an opening for some discussion. The last time someone tried that line on me, I told them that there’s a related question that I’d like their input on. Since Genesis tells us that God created man out of dust, why is there still dust?

    There was an interesting pause, followed by a fruitful conversation. He didn’t wind up agreeing with me, but did (finally) come to understand why that was a particularly bad argument.

  32. 32
    Quodlibet

    (eric, N.B.: my comment below is not directed to you personally; I just picked up your comment as an example.)

    eric @ #8

    “just a blue collar way of expressing”

    I confess to wincing inwardly when I read this sort of characterzation. What does “blue-collar way of expressing” even mean? Uneducated? Stupid? Always conservative, always religious?

    I come from a blue-collar, rural, agricultural sort of background. Grew up poor on a farm in a small town. Most of my nine siblings* have only a high-school education. We are a blue-collar family, and two sisters might be characterized as “red necks” because they are small-holdings farmers in tiny rural towns and have, literally, red necks due to sun exposure. But we are not all stupid, conservative, religious idiots. Some are atheists like me, others are moderately religious, but only one is a certified evangelical wingnut. Some of us are liberal progressives (including me), others range on the political spectrum all the way to the tea party.

    My favorite sister is a red-neck, blue-collar worker: she is a farmer who lives WAY out in the boonies. She spends a lot of time outdoors and therefore has a red, sunburned neck (the origin of the phrase). She has a high-school education; her husband completed eighth grade. Their life is limited in some ways, but they are smart, atheist, liberal, kind, progressives who vote. (They recently voted for marriage equality in Maine.) Expression? She is a gifted writer and expresses herself eloquently.

    Another sister is a nutty evangelical christian; she was trained for a white-collar profession. Not a red-neck, not a blue-collar worker. But very very christian, willfully ignorany, YEC, etc. Expression? Her spelling is atrocious and she can’t string together two sentences without bringing god into it.

    I guess my point is this: I hope that no one will characterize all wingnuts, particularly evangelical christians, as having blue collars or red necks. I hope no one will assume that all red-necks and all blue-collar workers are conservative nuts, in political or religious respects, and/or that they are ignorant, hateful, bigots.

    There are lots of good people in every walk of life. Lots of idiots, too, I know.

    * My parents had nine kids between 1942-1962 because of contraceptive failure (this was in days before the Pill), not because they wanted a large family. No religious overtones there. I think they only wanted three, but ended up with nine. They had a loving marriage. :-) The large family made things difficult but somehow they gave us a good childhood.

  33. 33
    Reginald Selkirk

    RE typecaster #31: My response is usually, “if I am descended from Germans, why are there still Germans?” That pretty explicitly brings up the point of divergence/speciation.

  34. 34
    typecaster

    Reginald Selkirk @33:
    Yes, it would, and I’ll remember that one. (Since it’s true of myself as well, I should note. :-) But for this particular person, I wanted to start at a claim he knew so well that I knew he’d never questioned it. This isn’t a new conversation, and I have some slight hopes for him. He isn’t stupid, he’s just never thought too much about these issues, even though he’s passionate about them.

  35. 35
    democommie

    Wait a minute. Why are we even having this debate? These people haven’t even tried to prove that their bible is the original, long form, certified version. When we get that certification, THEN we can start arguing about its meaning.

  36. 36
    thalwen

    Oh yes, one of my favourite stupid arguments (I can’t call it the dumbest, there are so many). Though, I am rather partial to their explanations of how people lived alongside dinosaurs, all of whom were vegetarian and had all those big, sharp, pointy teeth for lulz.

  1. 37
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