Wesley R. Elsberry discusses IDist’s rhetorical responses to factual evidence. This is from a long discussion thread in antievolution.org, where Wesley summarizes the patterns of common arguments. (Bolding, italics, colours, and 2 subheads are mine.)
First, the interpretation of evidence:
Science works by not relying upon individual interpretations, but rather placing value in the evidence and inferences from that evidence that can survive a process of intersubjective criticism. It is still not the unobtainable goal of objective knowledge, but it is as close as we humans have managed to come.
Then, which interpretation is more valuable?
Why then does the scientific community, comprising millions of individuals from almost every culture in the world, have just one broad consensus that the fossil record shows the history and diversity of life evolving by descent with modification showing common descent from one or a few original forms? Is that “interpretation” of only equal value to the “interpretation” of the long-dead people who didn’t even believe that fossils were anything but odd mineral deposits? Or can there be “interpretations” that can be demonstrated to be superior to other “interpretations” by consistent criteria? … Do the “interpretations” of people who are ignorant count just the same as the interpretation hammered out over decades of intersubjective criticism and testing by thousands of domain experts?
The science community subjects interpretations to intersubjective criticism and ruthlessly discards the unworkable, meaningless, and counterfactual interpretations. Does that count for anything in the end product?
Wesley then poses a challenge for Kevin Miller: to explain clear evidence of transitional fossils described and photographed in one particular research paper. Go to the link for the reference and description, plus links to photos and diagrams.
Finally, Wesley gets to the part I want to highlight:
There are a lot of ways to argue to set aside this research that have nothing to do with the evidence at all. This is where religious antievolutionists shine. The following is from a challenge I make to people who claim that no transitional fossil sequences exist.
Wesley lists sample responses that don’t address the evidence and to suggest that from now on, apologists simply refer to them by their letters:
The following is a short form for response to the TFEC, if a challenged person wishes to ignore the evidence and simply adopt one of the non-evidentiary tactics for their own. Simply indicate which one or more of the following Non-Evidentiary Response Items (NERI) fits what would otherwise involve a bunch of redundant typing.
Non-Evidentiary Response Items:
A. You have your faith; I have mine.
B. I meant that no vertebrate transitional fossils exist.
C. I meant that no transitional fossils above taxonomic rank _______ (fill in blank), which means that none can exist.
D. I have quotes from _______ (give list of names) that say that no transitional fossils exist.
E. My understanding of _______ theory (fill in blank) is that transitional fossils cannot exist.
F. My connotation of “transitional fossils” is _______ (fill in blank), which means that none can exist.
G. I have a cool rebuttal of _______ (fill in blank). What were you saying about transitional fossils?
H. Even if the cited example does show transitional fossils, it doesn’t mean anything.
I. I cannot be bothered to support my claim, so I will not be giving you a reply.
J. I promise to support my claim Real Soon Now. I will be in touch. My reply will be devastating to you and completely and utterly convincing to everyone. Just you wait. It’s in the mail.
K. Provide the fossils for the transition from X to Y, which will let me ignore these fossils that actually exist.
L. Person X says this challenge is bogus, therefore I don’t have to provide any response to actual evidence of transitional forms.
I recognize various techniques there. William Dembski is notorious for using Response I, as in, “It’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail.” Come back tomorrow to read about the Dembski Dodge.