Another meme about Dwight Schrute

dwight-schrute 2

One of the most common arguments arguments against evolution is a fallacious humdinger known as the “argument from incredulity.” It is essentially a person saying, “I don’t understand how (insert some facet of evolutionary theory here) could have worked, therefore it didn’t happen.” Any time you hear someone saying the words “ridiculous,” “stupid” or “doesn’t make sense” in a conversation about evolution, you can bet dollars to doughnuts they are trotting out some form of the argument from incredulity.

One of the most common iterations of this intellectual surrender strategy that I’ve encountered is the idea that complex life came from rocks. The argument make the implicit claim that evolutionary scientists teach this, even though the only ones who ever actually say anything like this are the creationists.

Above is what Dwight Schrute has to say to these chuckleheads.

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  • Isn’t this post such an argument? You could reduce both theories to “rocks”, but only one has life breathed into it. The matter is not the contention. It is the life that is.

    • Matthew Funke

      Well, strictly speaking, only human life has life breathed into it, according to creationism (and maybe only just the one time). So it’s not even really a contention with most of the life on the planet.

      Strictly speaking, the contention is whether or not the diversity of life arose as the result of magical intervention or as the result of natural processes that can be known. The creationists, who often fail to disambiguate between abiogenesis and evolution, often use the “rocks-to-people” line in the hopes of exploiting their audience’s incredulity.

      • \ only human life has life breathed into it//
        Well, that would be an assumption and the assumption would be wrong. Lack of description does not mean it didn’t happen with all living creatures. In Genesis 7:15:
        “So they went into the ark to Noah, by twos of all flesh in which was found the breath of life.”

        The diversity of life is not the contention. It is the beginning of life that is. Evolutionists seem to disambiguate between abiogenesis and Pasteur’s Law of Biogenesis which, simply described, states that “life only comes from life not non-life.” The impossibility of molecules to men not only statistically impossible, but it has but experiments like Miller-Urey have shown it to be chemically impossible. To even achieve non-life supporting aminos, the experiment had to use different environments, “traps,” in each phase.

        • Matthew Funke

          Lack of description does not mean it didn’t happen with all living creatures. In Genesis 7:15:
          “So they went into the ark to Noah, by twos of all flesh in which was found the breath of life.”

          It’s true that the argument from silence there is pretty weak. However, if we are being careful, your criterion was that life had been breathed into creatures. Again, man is the only one that the text indicates was put there directly by God, and possibly only the one time. “The breath of life was found there” is not, strictly speaking, the same as “God put the breath of life there directly”. In order to assert that, you need to agree with the assumptions of creationism.

          It’s weak, I concede, but it also illustrates how much the creationist position depends on filling holes with its own understanding and calling the result “biblical”.

          The diversity of life is not the contention. It is the beginning of life that is. Evolutionists seem to disambiguate between abiogenesis and Pasteur’s Law of Biogenesis which, simply described, states that “life only comes from life not non-life.”

          Based on this and another post, it seems you’re confused about what “disambuiguate” means. It means “to remove uncertainty from” or “to clarify”, and I don’t think that’s what you mean.

          But that’s a side point. More directly, nuance is important here; using “simple descriptions” threaten to remove important details. Strictly speaking, what Pasteur, Redi, and others disproved was the notion that life forms like maggots and mice cannot appear suddenly and fully-formed. In other words, what they disproved was a form of creationism.

          There is nothing in the “Law of Biogenesis” stating that complex, self-replicating biological molecules cannot arise spontaneously. Once those do, gradual changes can be imposed upon them by selective pressures.

          The impossibility of molecules to men not only statistically impossible, but it has but experiments like Miller-Urey have shown it to be chemically impossible. To even achieve non-life supporting aminos, the experiment had to use different environments, “traps,” in each phase.

          There has been significantly more follow-up work since the Miller-Urey experiment — work that significantly refines and revises our ideas. Even Miller himself performed follow-on experiments to check out a much wider variety of circumstances. I’d recommend looking at those; trying to disprove abiogenesis at this point by citing Miller-Urey is as hopeless as trying to disprove general relativity by attacking Michelson-Morley.