This little gem has been making its rounds among the science-blog-o-sphere:
What’s wrong with this clever calculation? Well, there is a critical error that is typical of most uneducated creationists: they have no idea what “atheists say”.
First of all, science tells us that life has been around for almost 4 billion years, not some imaginary tenet of an imaginary “religion” of atheism. Atheism and science can indeed be complementary, but one does not imply the other. To make such an assumption really betrays the fact that creationists have a fear of science in general, and not just atheism. After all, weren’t you mad when your parents told you Santa wasn’t real? Reality can be scary!
The assumptions they make and numbers that they use are fine until they make the killer mistake:
“atheists say that life has existed for around 3 billion years. This would mean that we would have drunk 9.5 times the amount of water on the planet!”
Creationists here are wrong on two levels:
- what “atheists say” isn’t that humans have been around drinking up all of the water for “around 3 billion years”
- they assume that once water is drunk, it somehow disappears
The first mistake is plain ignorance. If they took any time to familiarize themselves with the actual arguments, and not just trump up accusations and misinformation, they wouldn’t constantly make themselves look so inept. This is the logical fallacy called the straw-man logical fallacy. This fallacy is where someone creates an argument about something that the other side does not even think/support and attacks that instead. For creationists, it is routinely easier to create their own ideas of what “atheists say”, rather than take science head on, because they always lose.
To clarify, science tells us that humans (what I assume the creationists are referring to) have only been around for about 2 million years (genus Homo), and certainly not 3 billion. No reputable scientist will side with this argument, the science speaks for itself.
The second mistake is just a lack of reasoning ability. If water was permanently used up when an animal drank it, perhaps the world would be bone dry by now. But, of course, water is used within the bodies of organisms and then somehow returned to the environment (urine, feces, vapor, respiration, etc.). Even if the creationists were making a cogent argument (which they aren’t), they would still be wrong based on this simple fact of life. Humans can rested assured that despite their voracious thirst, that once imbibed, the water will soon return.
In other words, creationists are not right, they are not even wrong. To prove atheists wrong about science, you have to know a little science first.
Perhaps we should then use their own statement against them:
Now what creationists?
Science is slowly proving you wrong. What will you do once you have neither scripture nor science to back you up?
Where can you turn?