Non Sequitur (Looks Can Be Deceiving)
“The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him.” (Proverbs 18:17)
Much of what we learn today is never looked at with a critical mind. The more we hear it, the more plausible it begins to sound.
The term, “non sequitur,” refers to a conclusion that does not follow from the premises. “The American Indians performed the raindance. It rained. Therefore, the raindance caused the rain.” This is an example of non sequitur argumentation, because other plausible explanations exist. This is not to say that the raindance did not cause the rain, but merely that the subsequent rain is not conclusive proof that the dance was the cause.
Evolutionists are fond of naming the striking genetic similarities between chimpanzees(1) and humans as evidence that we share a common ancestor.
“Did you know that your genetic structure is 99% identical to that of a chimpanzee?” Such is presented as conclusive evidence that we are distant cousins.
Suppose I show you three coins: two pennies, one quarter. Using comparative argument, which two coins were made at the same mint? Most would answer, “The pennies.” This is because they are similar in size, color, shape, molecular structure, even monetary value. However, those who chose the two pennies are surprised to find that the quarter and one of the pennies were made at the U. S. Mint in Denver while the other penny was made in Philadelphia. Therefore, just because two things are similar does not merit the conclusion that they have a common ancestor. Non sequitur.
Now an evolutionist may respond: “The coins are not a good example, since they were made by intelligent beings.” All right, let us ponder this for a moment. Let us now suppose that both pennies are were minted in Denver while the quarter was made at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. Let us further suppose that I argue that since both pennies are so identical in many ways that they must have a common creator. The analogy on the biological level is readily seen. Similarities among simians and humans can just as easily justify belief in a common Creator as it does a common ancestor. Do those who argue for a Creator postulate that similar anatomy proves a common Creator? Such would be laughed out of court—and rightly so! Logic chopping must be recognized and abandoned. But what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If similar anatomies do not prove a common Creator for the religious goose, neither do they prove a common ancestor for the naturalist gander.
Non sequitur argumentation is also evident when evolutionists refer to the fossil record. A very large family tree is laid out, starting with an amoeba and branching off in many directions of species, genus, family, order, class, phylum, and kingdom. Such drawings are interesting, but they merely illustrate evolutionary hypothesis. And an illustration of a belief merely clarifies a belief; it does not provide evidence for it. I could do the same with an “Evolution of the Bed” theory. I first show a footstool, which was provided to help farmers rest their foot by placing it on it while standing. In the next generation, the footstool grew to be a full-sized stool so that the farmer could sit down. The next generation produced a backrest, which became padded in another generation. With the advent of the television, the need to recline caused the padded chair to evolve still further. The farmer fell asleep during the evening news and the recliner evolved into a bed. Progressive similarities, while interesting, merely illustrate a theory. An illustration is not evidence.
In conclusion, we have visited two arguments postulated by evolutionists and found them to be non sequitur. This does not mean that evolution is wrong, but merely that these two arguments do not show that evolution is an accurate account of reality. Unfortunately for evolutionists, these are the two most common arguments put forth in its favor.
1. Maitland Edey and Donald Johanson. Blueprints: Solving the Mystery of Evolution, quoted by Phillip E. Johnson. Darwin on Trial (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993), p. 93.