Science in Christian Perspective

Letter to the Editor


Red Herrings and Fatal Flaws

John A. McIntyre

2316 Bristol Street
Bryan, TX 77802-2405

From: PSCF 52 (December 2000): 287.

In his communication, "On the Spiritual Danger in Creationism: Drawing a Red Herring Across a Track" (PSCF, vol. 52, no. 2 [June 2000]: 123-126), David C. Lahti introduces a fundamental consideration concerning the conclusion reached in my article, "Evolution's Fatal Flaw." In that article I had presented the statements of four evolutionists which included the logical fallacy that evolution has no purpose. I had then drawn the conclusion that since evolution contained a logical fallacy, that the theory of evolution was worthless.

Lahti makes the observation that "the reason why this particular reasoning is a red herring and therefore fallacious is because there is no necessary connection between the views of these particular people and biological evolution per se." Lahti's observation that the validity of the theory of evolution does not depend on the opinions of particular people is certainly correct. But his observation raises an interesting problem. How many evolutionists have to believe that the theory of evolution is purposeless (with a fatal flaw) for the theory of evolution to be considered to be purposeless?

Until September 1997, the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) and the National Academy of Sciences defined evolution as "an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process." This definition of evolution incorporates the fatal flaw since it says that evolution is unsupervised and impersonal. In September 1997, the Board of the NABT deleted the words: "unsupervised" and "impersonal" from the definition of evolution, thereby removing the logical fallacy from the definition. However, the vote was divisive; the first vote of the Board was against the deletion of the words (see my Letter in the June 2000 PSCF for an account of the proceedings). And, I have since read that there is a movement among some evolutionists to reverse the vote. Evidently, a large number of evolutionists want to include the logical fallacy within the definition of evolution. If the logical fallacy again becomes an official part of evolution (as it did until 1997) evolution would, again, have a fatal flaw.