Straw Man Argument about Natural Laws Changing


We want the ability to predict and your assertion that there’s some difference between natural laws that I use to observe the world today and the natural laws that existed 4,000 years ago
So, this idea that you can separate the natural laws of the past from the natural laws that we have now, I think, is at the heart of our disagreement. I don’t see how we’re ever going to agree with that if you insist that natural laws have changed. It’s, for lack of a better word, it’s magical. I have appreciated magic since I was a kid, but it’s not really what we want in conventional, mainstream science. ~ Bill Nye

We discussed Bill’s floating abstraction fallacy earlier, but it’s also straw man fallacy, and Bill repeated the accusation several times. It’s a straw man fallacy since Ken Ham never even hinted that natural laws have changed, yet Bill accused Ken of insisting that natural laws have changed. Making it worse, Bill didn’t merely come out and state his accusation, but he presupposed it into the sentence using phrases like “your assertion that” and “if you insist that.”

Part of Bill’s worldview (his fake-reality) is an assumption known as uniformitarianism. This assumption includes the concept of no Genesis Flood. This assumption also includes the concept that natural laws have never changed. These are two different concepts, but Bill is committing a package deal fallacy by packaging both concepts into one word: “uniformitarianism.” He implies that rejecting one part of this philosophy is rejecting every part of this philosophy. Bill is claiming that rejecting the bare claim that “the Genesis Flood didn’t happen” is also rejecting the continuity of the natural laws. But that’s patently false since we can reject a story that says the Genesis Flood didn’t take place while accepting the assumption that all natural laws have remained constant since the Flood. Here’s how the logic looks:

  1. Ken Ham said the Genesis Flood took place, which is contrary to the Flood-denialism part of the uniformitarian fake-reality.
  2. Uniformitarianism also includes the belief that natural laws stay constant over time. (lexical ambiguity)
  3. Bill says that Ken denies every part of uniformitarianism if he denies one part of uniformitarianism. (package deal fallacy)
  4. Bill concludes that Ken Ham is claiming that there was a different set of natural laws 4,300 years ago.

In this line of reasoning, Bill is creating a straw man, and then he’s beating up the straw man. We’ve just exposed the method for creating the straw man. Of course, Bill cloaked all his reasoning in innuendo, so he could have a different way of getting to his irrational straw man beyond what we could imagine.

But Ken never claimed that natural laws changed, and the biblical account of origins wouldn’t need a changing set of natural laws after God created them. On the other hand, the ungodly story of origins does need a changing set of natural laws. The scientific laws we observe today wouldn’t allow a big bang where everything springs from nothing. They wouldn’t allow life to spring spontaneously from non-life. They would allow the jumps in order and information that would be necessary if evolutionism were part of reality.

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