<quote from Real Faith & Reason, vol 2>
We’ll look at a story that’s called “a theory” and notice the theory can’t help us know anything, but it can confuse the difference between reality and made-up stuff. Consider a conversation in which an atheist claimed he had seen proof the stories of evolutionism happened. The atheist insisted scientists prove theories, but we still call them “theories” after scientists have proved them. A follower of Christ asked the atheist to provide a way to prove the stories of evolutionism happened. Then, the conversation went like this:
Sandy Sandbuilder: If you want to know about evolution, look up the many examples of speciation we have and get a working understanding of transitional species. Our natural history museum in Chicago is great for this. I hope one is near you.
Rocky Rockbuilder: Without assuming anything or telling any stories, can you show me how I can rationally reason from “many examples of speciation” to proving the stories of evolutionism happened?
Sandy: Yes. I can show you rationally how to go from a single-celled organism to humanity with zero assumptions, but it will take a while. Like all complex ideas, it’s not easy to explain, and I thought it was ridiculous until I understood it.
Sandy is committing an arcane-explanation fallacy. He claims we’re supposed to believe without proof because only a few people can understand the proof. Well, it’s not a claim yet. It’s a hint, an innuendo. He’ll make it plain shortly.
Rocky: That sounds like you’re about ready to tell me a story about how evolutionism happened. Stories aren’t proof, but they’re just stories or explanations. I would need to see it happen. Science works by observation and experience or experiment. Now, can you give me something I could do to observe or experience your claim that the stories of evolutionism happened? I would be glad to observe or experience it happening from beginning to end.
Sandy: Then you simply aren’t open to it. You’re not going to live for millions of years. You can observe speciation, but you reject it as “made up.” That’s what I meant by being open to new ideas.
Rocky: I don’t reject speciation, and speciation is hardly a new idea. However, you’re right if you’re saying I’m not open to made-up stuff. You’re telling me to shut up and believe without proof, or else I’m not open to new ideas. So far, you haven’t given any proof. It sounds like you have stories about evolutionism. Stories aren’t proof. I’m open to reality, but I don’t want to live in make-believe. Science depends on repeated testing and observation. You can’t test and observe stories.
Speciation doesn’t prove the big-bang-billions-of-years-molecules-to-humanity story happened. There’s no conflict between the biblical account of kinds of living things and the observed fact species exist.
Sandy: Those stories are tested and observed. That’s how science works.
Rocky: OK. If they’re tested and observed, all I’m asking you is for a way I can test and observe those stories as you claim I can. You’re asking me to just take your word for it without any proof, and you won’t tell me how I can test and observe the stories happening.
Sandy: Is there a natural history museum in your area? I never said take my word for anything.
Rocky: I’ve been through natural history museums, and all I get is stories about evolutionism complete with visual aids like creative drawings, paintings, and sculptures. It’s like looking at cartoons of Jesus in Sunday school or sculptures in some churches. You said, “Those stories are tested and observed. That’s how science works.” I can’t test or observe the stories of evolutionism happening in the natural history museum. I wouldn’t ask you to trust Jesus based on cartoons, sculptures, and paintings of Jesus. I would ask you to meet with Him, which you’ve repeatedly refused to do. Why do you ask me to accept stories and creative drawings? You’re not telling me you were gullible enough to accept stories and creative drawings as proof are you?
So if we’ve wondered why some persuaders say, “Evolution is a fact,” we’ve now seen how thinkers come to this error. They get confused. Insane as it is, they think stories, assumptions, concepts, mental frameworks, ideas, or other forms of made-up stuff are part of reality. This problem shows up as a thinker who confuses made-up stuff with reality writes a book or an article. And then a gullible person reads it. Next, a poor education system may teach the error. Students may hear a teacher make the false claim, “Evolution is a fact.” As a result, naïve students believe this lie. They dogmatically repeat it to others. They assimilate it into their worldviews.
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