Why is debating Creationists so frustrating for Evolutionists?
One reason is that Evolutionists do not understand the Creationist mindset.
Creationists think Evolutionists think like Creationists, and Evolutionists do not take the time to explain the differences to the Creationists.
Here are some examples of differences between the two parties:
■ Some Creationists think Evolutionists are never neutral.
Since religion answers every question for many Creationists, they might assume that Evolution answers every question for Evolutionists. Evolution takes no stand on whether or not God created the Universe, but some Creationists have trouble understanding this.
I have to fight back the temptation to say, "Don't you know the difference between evolution and abiogenesis? If you don't, I'll buy you a good dictionary."
■ Some Creationists think Evolutionists follow authority.
Agassiz, Boyle, Cuvier, Faraday, Kepler, Mendel, Newton, Pasteur, and so on and so forth--I'm sure you've seen this procession. Creationists march these famous Creationist scientists before our eyes, always hoping that if they bring just one more, we will fall to our knees in submission.
Conversely, they think that we currently follow authorities who are Evolutionists. In an Internet debate in which I recently participated, the Creationists kept accusing us of clinging to every word Dawkins ever wrote. The fact was that they were the ones who brought his name up. I did a word search through all the pages and found that they used his name more often than we did.
■ Some Creationists think Evolutionists follow scripture.
Creationists show this assumption in two different ways. Number one, they laugh with glee when this year's science textbook contradicts last year's science textbook. They ask, "Why do you follow a book which changes? Follow our book! Our book never changes!"
Number two, they pretend that scientific opinion, too, is constant. This enables them to quote out-of-date sources. If Edred John Henry Corner said that there was scarce fossil evidence for flowering plants, then so be it. Those words were indelibly etched in black and white, so they must have been just as true in 1976 when Duane Gish quoted him as they were in 1961 when he made that statement.
■ Some Creationists think Evolutionists regard Evolution as always good.
I used to belong to a newsgroup for piano teachers. One thread had to do with the differences between teaching girls and teaching boys. I made what I thought was an inoffensive and self-evident statement--that males and females evolved differently.
The other newsgroup members immediately pounced on me. According to them, I was a male chauvinist, I was out to degrade women, and I was a "Leave It to Beaver" fan.
■ Some Creationists think Evolutionists share their impatience for definite answers.
Since sacred scripture does not contain any theories or hypotheses, some Creationists do not recognize the importance of theories or hypotheses. In his review of an Evolutionist book, Gish commented, "One can read page after page of speculations and interpretations by various workers in this field, but speculations are no substitute for definitive evidence."
Sometimes I wonder who coined the adage that "there is no such word as maybe." It could not have been a scientist.