In wandering around the country giving talks about the BCSE and Creationism in the UK, I have often included a slide entitled “Arguing against creationism without using logic or evidence” which I use to try to make a couple of points.
First and foremost Young Earth Creationists (YECs) claim that modern science is wrong and that there is a genuine debate about most of it. So if you proceed to enter into an argument with them about the science you are effectively helping them to propagate this myth. YEC leaders use such debates as a way to show potential recruits, who are in no position to judge otherwise, that there really are two sides and also that their opponents can be mocking and rude.
As many a mild mannered person has discovered from frustrating experience, when your opponent is either lying or ignorant it's hard to do much about it or to even allude to the fact that that your opponent is either lying or ignorant without seeming to be mocking and rude.
Many self identifying atheists or sceptics are really into science and love to, how shall we say, “go for it” when dealing with Creationists, and not all of them would describe themselves as mild mannered anyway. We have all seen the typical results, but perhaps not everyone appreciates just how useful such confrontations are to the YEC leaders. Having been to a YEC recruitment session at a local church I can confirm that playing the “This is science based and it is Christians versus the rude and nasty Atheists” card is their main tactic.
Secondly, the arguments about the actual science and the pseudoscience can be difficult to follow and, frankly, can be quite boring unless you have the appropriate background knowledge.
I propose that it would be better for opponents of Creationism who want to address Creationists directly to highlight the major problems with YEC theology and their behaviour, particularly the way they treat other Christians who disagree with them. I have found that this can be more effective in getting YEC followers to critically examine their loyalties and what they currently count as their own beliefs.
So this is why in this review I’m not going to look at the “science” and instead I will “put my money where my mouth is” and just take apart the theology and highlight the behaviour of the author.
Part 2 here.