Re: argumentation method

David Froehlich (
Sun, 15 Oct 1995 16:41:41 -0500

On Sun, 15 Oct 1995, J. Moore wrote:

> From:
> 1986 *Science and Creation: Geological, Theological and
> Educational Perspectives*, edited by Robert W. Hanson.
> Issues in Science and Technology Series, American Association for
> the Advancement of Science, Macmillan Publishing Company: New
> York, Collier Macmillan Publishers: London.
> Chapter 7: "A Two-Model Creation versus Evolution Course",
> by William M. Thwaites
> pg. 95:
> "They preferred to intimate that there is something fundamentally
> wrong with evolutionary theory and that creationism is the logical
> alternative."
> Chapter 10: "Skepticism: Another Alternative to Science or
> Belief", by Stephen G. Brush
> pg. 161:
> "...creationists assume that there are only two alternatives,
> creation and evolution, so destroying the credibility of evolution
> would necessarily enhance that of creationism. Such a strategy
> might seem illogical to anyone familiar with the recent
> development of scientific theories and with the wide variety of
> creationist and evolutionist theories that have been or might be
> proposed. It is not possible to establish one theory merely by
> criticizing another one."

Actually, I think that a lot of the posts both pro AAS and anti AAS tend
to adopt this viewpoint (I have been guilty of it myself). What I think
needs to be emphasized is that the scientific viewpoint tends to rely
more on evidence and asking the proponents to examine their premises
(essentially asking people how would they know they were wrong about the
assumptions that go into their model or how would the make predictions)
(believe it or not I think the redoubtable Mr. Hubey has some of this
attitude even if he does present it in an obnoxious manner). The
discussion becomes polarized and it becomes an us against them (the same
has occured in the science-creationsim arguements to some extent).
Fundamentally, where such people as Mr. Hubey and I differ is in
methodology and in a basic understanding of the problem before attacking
the premises (you have to understand the nature of the databehind the
premise before you can call it into question.

Basic point----we are all guilty of some of this arguementation.

David J. Froehlich Phone: 512-471-6088
Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory Fax: 512-471-5973
J.J. Pickle Research Campus
The University of Texas, Austin, Texas 78712