The Rusty Sage Continues

The Rusty Sage Continues February 6, 2004

This is beginning to resemble a Monty Python sketch at this point. In my last post I made this statement:

“He must know that “presenting the data” is pointless if he has already decided that no data possibly COULD establish what is being disputed.”

Rusty replied:

“…he has already decided that no data possibly COULD establish what is being disputed”

Where have I said that? Honestly Ed, you accuse me of dancing around the issues but you yourself give Fred Astaire some pretty good competition.

Rusty, do you not see the utter dishonesty in the way you edited my statement? You edited out the word “if”, for crying out loud. You haven’t said that. It’s obviously TRUE, but you haven’t said it. You won’t say it. You are adamantly refusing to actually answer the question of whether there is any possible evidence that a fossil could show that you would regard as transitional. You keep saying, “I’ve answered your question”, but you haven’t even attempted to do so. You’ve tried to shift the burden by saying, “Hey, it’s your theory, it’s up to you to come up with it”. But you’re smart enough to know that’s not an answer to the question, it’s an excuse for not answering it.

Here’s what is incredibly obvious at this point. You’ve said that you won’t accept anatomical similarity as showing that a fossil is transitional. You’ve said that you won’t accept a series of fossils all showing a gradual change from one taxa to another in exactly the right temporal and anatomical order as being transitional. Well Rusty, that’s about all a fossil can show, isn’t it? What evidence could a fossil possibly show that you WOULD regard as transitional? What possible evidence could you not simply brush off as “so what? So God decided to create them that way, it doesn’t prove anything”? None. We all know it, Rusty. You know it, I know it, anyone else watching this knows it, so why is it so hard for you to just admit that there is nothing a fossil or a series of fossils could possibly show that you would regard as transitional?

This isn’t the first time I’ve had a discussion like this. Conversations with creationists about transitionals nearly always go this way, and the reason is fairly obvious. There is cognitive dissonance at work here. You know that it is disingenuous to say, simultaneously, “there is no fossil evidence that could possibly prove that a transition took place” and “show me the fossil evidence that proves a transition took place”. So you’re doing everything you can to avoid saying the first thing in the hope that it will appear that you’re not saying that. But we all know you are. If I’m wrong about this, Rusty, it’s very easy for you to prove that I am by simply answering the question and pointing out what a fossil could possibly show that you would regard as transitional.

Frankly, I think you need to take a cue from Glenn Morton, a Christian geophysicist, who has argued very forcefully that tactics like this only drive people away from Christianity. If your explanation is so weak that it requires you to be disingenuous in defending it, intelligent people are going to dismiss you and probably dismiss the faith you are defending as well. I’m sure that a big part of your motivation for conversations like this is that you see it as a way to witness to others, but the more you play these kinds of dishonest games the less effective that witness is going to be.

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