Straw Man Fallacy

Straw man

Creationists and proponents of intelligent [sick] design theory very frequently create straw man arguments, and then huff and puff and blow the straw man down. (The straw man fallacy is a form of red herring argument that involves attacking a deliberately weakened version of the opponent's actual argument.)

The frequency of this argument within creationist propaganda is a reaction to the much stronger argument presented by evidential and experimental science. Confronted with the facts of scientific knowledge, creationists and those arguing for ‘intelligent [sick] design’ typically retreat into straw man arguments, arguments from incredulity, or outright denial.

For this reason, I believe that there is often little point in explaining the facts of science to those who have a strong emotional need to believe in some form of creationism. Creationists typically know so little science that they could not assess the facts of science even if their minds were not closed to the threatening facts. Instead they repeat stale old misrepresentations of science gleaned from the numerous creationist websites that clog up the ether. The point is that any supposed scientific principle attacked by a creationist ought to be checked out before taking the red-herring-bait.

The point mutation is one target of the fallacious straw man argument – creationists argue that mutations at a single locus (position) within a chromosome could not be responsible for macroevolution. The argument is fallacious because evolutionary biologists do not claim that point mutations are responsible for all of biological evolution, whether microevolution or macroevolution. Rather, scientists have demonstrated that other sources of genetic variation are far more important. It is irrelevant to attack science through an argument that is already established within science – there simply ceases to be an argument, except one in line with the erroneous conclusions drawn by creationists.

In their fallacious straw man arguments, creationists and advocates for ‘intelligent [sick] design theory’ huff and puff against a weakened version of science, and hence a weakened version of the natural world. Creationists ignore the facts in order to support their arguments against the fact of biological evolution, and no argument can be considered cogent when it deliberately, or ignorantly, misrepresents facts. The argument may have emotional appeal to those who are committed to a belief in the Special Creation of Genesis, but the argument does not achieve its ends within the realm of logic.

The Straw Man Fallacy "Straw Man is one of the commonest of fallacies. It is endemic in public debates on politics, ethics, and religion. . . . The Straw Man is a type of Red Herring because the arguer is attempting to refute his opponent's position, and in the context is required to do so, but instead attacks a position—the "straw man"—not held by his opponent." :

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