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Your arguments don't count because you are not qualified (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Your arguments don't count because you are not qualified (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CA118:

Many arguments may be discounted because they were put together by amateurs who are not scientifically qualified.

Source: "Socrates", 5 Oct. 2003. TheologyWeb forum: Too many fossils for a global flood. http://theologyweb.com/forum/showthread.php?postid=233947#post233947


CreationWiki response:

If Talk Origins had operational science (testable and repeatable) in mind when this rebuttal was written, they would have a valid point. However, response #4 indicates that they are thinking of origins science (unfalsifiable), which creationists and evolutionists quarrel over. An argument by majority vote is not valid, since it only amounts to a claim that "because they said so, it must be so,". The response also fails because all data is interpreted according to one's presuppositions.

(Talk.Origins quotes in blue)


1. A person's qualifications, although important, are not the only thing to consider. The ultimate authority for arguments about the world is the world itself. If the argument is logical and is based on reliable real-world data (for example, if it contains verifiable data or has reliable references), then the argument has authority regardless of who is giving it.

This is true of operational science, however, this claim falls apart when applied to origins science, which is based on interpretations of evidence according to one's presuppositions. An evolutionist will interpret a geological or biological find according to an evolutionary model, while a creationist will interpret it according to a creation model. As an example, fossils are not "evidence that speaks for itself." Should someone compare fossils that appear similar, he may come to one of two conclusions: 1) One of the fossils evolved from one of the others. 2) The fossils appear similar because they had a common Designer, who used the same design for both organisms. The fossils (the fossil evidence) did not provide the inferences; they were supplied by those who observed the fossils.

2. Qualifications consist of a lot more than letters after one's name. Perhaps the most important quality is how the person is regarded by others in the field. The soundness of the person's past work is another important consideration.

The second sentence is the only disagreeable part of this point especially when applying to origins science. It attempts to inflate the argument from authority by implying that, in a hypothetical situation where the majority accepts the (by absolute principles) wrong theory, their supporters would point to this hypothetical majority as being professionally qualified because 1) others in the field agree and 2) the person's past work is sound because it seems logical.

This claim could be used against TalkOrigins as well, in that it could apply to Christian scientists of Christian Europe. Geologists back then often assumed that the geological features of the earth were the result of Noah's flood, and their works were considered sound and many geologists agreed with one another. Does that make it right automatically? TalkOrigins would have to admit that their point could apply to creationists as well!

Reference: Answers in Genesis

4. This argument about qualifications, if applied uniformly, would sink creationism in a second. For every creationist who claims one thing, there are dozens of scientists (probably more), all with far greater professional qualifications, who say the opposite.

So, when Darwin, who was a hardly recognized amateur, pushed forth evolutionism in the Origin of Species while the majority of publicly recognized and considered credible scientists disagreed with the teachings of evolutionism, did that automatically disprove the teachings of evolutionism? No, that did not. There is no logic behind this claim, and it is a fallacious attempt at proof by authority.

Reference: Answers in Genesis

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