A common quibble laid at the feet of the creationist is that he/she is not qualified to speak about scientific matters relating to the creation/evolution controversy. For instance, Mark Isaak, the editor of The Index to Creationist Claims, stated that “for every creationist who claims one thing, there are dozens of scientists (probably more), all with far greater professional qualifications, who say the opposite” (2005, emp. added). Others assert that creationists make “the elementary mistake of trying to discuss a highly specialized field…in which they have little or no training” (Holloway, 2010). Do these assertions have any merit?
First, such assertions are ironic in light of other statements by some in the evolutionary community. For example, in the “General Tips” section of the article, “How to Debate a Creationist,” the Creationism versus Science Web site tells its followers,
you don’t need to become a qualified expert [in relevant evolutionary subject matters—JM]…but you should endeavour [sic] to know as much or more about these subjects than your opponent does (which is often a surprisingly easy task, since most creationists learn only the barest superficialities of any given scientific principle before feeling confident enough to pontificate on it) (2007, parenthetical item in orig., emp. added).
It seems that some do not wish to hold all participants to the same standards.
There is certainly something to be said about the value of having credentials in the area in which one is speaking. However, relevant credentials are not always necessary. Consider: Are certain qualifications needed before an individual can quote or paraphrase others who are experts on a certain matter, as do many creationists and evolutionists, since there is a possibility that they may quote or paraphrase incorrectly or unfairly? Does one need a B.A. degree in English before citing references? And would that degree be enough to prove qualification? Perhaps a graduate level degree in English would be necessary? Such a proposition would be preposterous….
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