Denial

Argue ad nauseam, hear no evidence, see no sense.
Denial is an a la Freud defense mechanism – something that we sometimes do when confronted with an emotionally unwelcome fact. Denying a fact of reality does not alter or eliminate that fact, it merely affords us emotional comfort.

Denial is the most unfounded – hence the weakest – of any argument made against evidence. Professional creationists such as the pretentiously named Fellows of the so-called Discovery Institute (those who earn a living through their assertions on behalf of creationism), typically do not make this blunder, rather they resort to fancier argumentum ad nauseam, fallacies of logic.

Denial is, however, a common last resort for proponents of intelligent [sick] design theory, and is often the first verbal argument of biblical literalists. Both groups may phrase denial more reasonably as, "I don't believe in evolution". Disbelief is a more reasonable position since we have the personal prerogative of picking and choosing our beliefs, though incredulity remains a fatally weak argument against scientific facts. However, personal disbelief alone is not a good argument against that which is disputed.

Those who hold dogmatic religious beliefs, despite the complete lack of incontrovertible supporting evidence for any religious belief, may be so emotionally convinced that their beliefs represent "Truth" as to be unaware of their fallacious reasoning. In fact, having chosen to cling to the dogmatic content of religious inculcation, these individuals have chosen emotionality over logic and facts. This is a personal prerogative, but it does not make for cogent argumentation.

Refusal to accept the facts along with those legitimate theories that logically follow from evidence does not constitute refutation. This point is missed by creationists when they deny the evidence that led to modern evolutionary theories, or when they fail to understand that there is not one single theory that seeks to explain the fact of biological evolution, or when they mistake acknowledgement of incomplete explanation for a complete failure of explanation.

There are undoubtedly numerous explanations for the cognitive errors and illogic of collective creationist positions. Most obvious is the impact of poor science education in those areas of the U.S. in which fundamentalism is deeply entrenched.

Individuals who have been raised with insistent belief in special creation experience dissonance when faced with scientific facts, so they are likely to close their minds to those facts. The handful of scientists who make their living through the advocation of anti-science promotion of ID theory cannot be accused of lack of science education per se, so their motivation in promoting creationism must stem from cognitive bias founded in inculcated religious convictions.

The problem of dissonance is, of course, compounded for most creationists by anti-science policies adopted by those in charge of education in Bible Belt states. Such policies lower the standards of science education to deplorable levels for a supposedly advanced nation [NSTA, NSES, 8th grade, PISA]. For example, US students ranked between 20th and 27th of 4o nations in a 2003 comparison of scores on science testing (Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD PISA (Program for Student Assessment) 2003 database.)

The low level of science education of many creationist debaters is compounded by their repetition of information found in books and on websites with pro-creationist/anti-science bias. With little apparent comprehension of the scientific principles under discussion, and without apparent awareness that the information that they parrot is incomplete, biased, or inaccurate, creationist debaters are ill-equipped to refute the logic of science. They remain blissfully, if irritatingly ignorant of the theories that they attack, and most show no signs of willingness to acquaint themselves with those facts or to subject their own beliefs to scrutiny.

One glaring example of creationist ignorance of evolutionary science is illustrated by an insistence upon treating all evolutionary theory as beginning and ending with Darwinism coupled with an apparent lack of awareness of any form of mutation other than the point-mutation. They alone know whether they adopt this position of anti-science ignorance out of lack of acquaintance with scientific principles and/or with insistence upon the safety of attacking straw men. However, considering the anti-science education position espoused by the intelligent [sick] design theory platform, coupled with poor standards of science education and evident antipathy to science and to intellectualism, it seems probable that most of the cognitive errors and illogic displayed by most creationist debaters stem from obdurate ignorance of science (at the very least).

Another example of ignorance in creationist debaters relates to their failure to distinguish between abiogenesis – the theory that life arose in primordial chemicals – and biological evolution, those events that altered the frequency of alleles down through successive generations of live organisms. Although biological evolution acted upon the products of biopoiesis (abiogenesis), the two are no more the same than rusting is equivalent to automobile manufacture.

Young Earth Creationists, with a position rejected even by mainstream creationists, carry literalism to ridiculous extremes when they deny the scientifically established age of the earth.

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