It’s fun to watch fundamentalist creationists descend into Humean skepticism. Hume, the most hardboiled skeptic of all time (since the eighteenth century anyway), pointed out that we can’t really say that anything caused anything else. You can doubt anything. Did that billiard ball cause that other one it just hit to move? No. You can’t prove it. It could be just a startling coincidence. There is no proof ever for any empirical causal effect, anywhere at anytime. Bummer. Of course, creationists love that fact, because they get to use that method against evolution! (They only use Humean skepticism when it’s quite convenient of course—unlike Hume they would never apply it to their own interests)!
Their favorite move is to say that evolution has not been ‘proved.’ By this they mean, apparently, that you cannot watch one mammalian species change into another in the laboratory. They don’t count bacteria (which are evolved on human time scales) because well . . . I don’t know why it doesn’t count. But until they see one mammal become another they aren’t going to believe it—bless their Humean hides. Fossil evidence? Nope. That doesn’t count. Why? I’m not sure but it doesn’t. What about molecular biology? You know DNA. Genes. Texas GGCT. Nope. That doesn’t’ prove anything. Embryology? You know those early stages do look awfully fishlike. No, No, No. If it’s not done in a laboratory with a proper experiment then we don’t believe it. We want proof! Not evidence.
They point out, and rightly so I might add, that we cannot watch the evolution of most plants and animals transpire on human time scales. What puny evolution you can see is only microevolution! (Microevolution is the buzz word creationists like to use to show they are open minded when it comes to the irrefutable changes in genetic frequencies we can watch shift on short time scales). But we have species categories based on Greek readings of Hebrew ‘kinds’ they gleefully cheer and by golly they’re categories you just can’t cross. If it was good enough for Plato it was good enough for us, they cry enthusiastically. What stops microevolution? Creationists won’t say. It just can’t because, well, you know we got those ‘kinds’ and stuff. And things can’t cross ‘kinds.’ And they mean it, microevolution isn’t going to go on long enough to turn into macro. Why? Because it just can’t that’s why—Don’t try any of your skepticism on us. Only we get to do that!
And so it goes. Here is their mythical view of science: Only experimentation is science (So don’t be doing any astronomy, geology, deep sea exploration, huge swaths of ecology, etc.). Hypothesis testing—that’s science and that’s all that counts.
But their theology is worse. God only works in ways like us. If He creates a world, it’s got to be like a good construction project. God as the great contractor in the sky. Things made from the ground up in good workmen-like ways with a good Protestant work ethic, and all that, wherein we start with a foundation and then frame it and then stick the other stuff on after. That’s the way we do it so that’s the way God does it. None of this using ‘natural laws; like natural selection. It’s our way or the highway.
Or they say, well evolution apparently gets along fine without intervention, but we need some of that ol’ timey intervention to believe in our kind of God, so we’ll believe in evolution up to a point. Eventually, though, God has to come in and tinker a bit to get some things over the rough spots. Where are these rough spots? Here? The eye. That can’t have evolved. Whoops evolution cracked that. Well here? Bacteria flagellum? Nope. Evolution explains it again. Well, we don’t know where the rough spots are, but we know they’re somewhere so we’ll teach this in our schools in the form of ‘Intelligent Design’ (And doesn’t that sound nice? God’s intelligent right, so ‘Intelligent Design’ must be something Mormons embrace? Right?).
Come on people. Creationism in all its forms is bad faith and bad science. We can do so much better.