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Mike Riddle
What Is Critical Thinking?
Critical thinking is the process of
analyzing questions and assumptions.
It is a way of deciding whether a claim is
true, false, sometimes true, or partly true.
Three Critical Thinking Questions
How do you know it is true?
Has it ever been observed?
Are you making any assumptions?
Recognize Assumptions
Evaluate Information Draw Conclusions
Applying 3 Critical Thinking
Life originated in a pool of chemicals
about 3.7 billion years ago.
“Scientists do know that about 200 to 300
million years after Earth cooled enough to
carry liquid water, cells similar to modern
bacteria were common.”
Biology, Miller and Levine, 2002, p. 425.
Critical Thinking Question
How much of the fossil was
actually found and how much was
added (assumed)?
“For instance, modern whales are the
descendants of four-legged land
Biology: Visualizing Life,
Holt, Rinehart, Winston,
1998, p. 177.
Pakicetus: a candidate for
whale evolution?
Only the shaded
portions of the skull
were found
Updated Pakicetus
A wolf-like land mammal, with legs
capable of running
More Examples
Nebraska man
Piltdown man
Lucy (australopithecine)
Three Critical Thinking Questions
How do you know it is true?
Has it ever been observed?
Are you making any assumptions?
A Power Question
Using the Power Question
The universe originated 13 billion years
ago with the big bang.
Over millions of years creatures without
backbones evolved into fish.
Humans evolved from ape-like creatures.
The earth is 4.6 billion years old.
Evolution is an observable fact.
POP Quiz
Three critical thinking questions
How do you know it is true?
1. ________________________________
2. ________________________________
Has it ever been observed?
Are you making any assumptions?
3. ________________________________
Words Have Meaning
How to read between the lines
How to recognize the bluff
Show me the observable evidence
Fuzzy Words
Magic Words
Fuzzy Words
We believe
 We think
 Must have
 Could have
 Might have
 Our opinion is
 We guess
 Over millions of years
Life Science, Prentice Hall (Grade 7),
2002, p. 410.
“Paleontologists think that
Archaeopteryx and today’s birds
descended from some kind of reptile,
possibly from a dinosaur.”
USA Today, November 5, 1013
“A discovery out of this world: Earth-like planets”
“There are likely ‘tens of billions’ of Earthlike planets in our Milky Way galaxy…. In
fact, the nearest Earth-like planet may be
‘only’ 12 light years away… And with a
universe of hundreds of billions of
galaxies, ‘our entire universe must contain
billions of Earth-like planets.’”
Prentice Hall, Science Explorer: Life
Science, 2002, p. 46.
“The first cells could not have needed
oxygen to survive. They probably were
heterotrophs that used the chemicals
in their surroundings for energy….. At
some point, some of the cells may
have developed the ability to make
their own food.”
Joseph Silk, Ph.D. Astronomy,
The Big Bang, 2001, p. 170.
“Imagine that infinitesimal fluctuations in
density were present in the early universe….
The expansion of the universe must have
exerted a stabilizing influence on such
irregularities. The expanding universe has the
effect of greatly impeding what otherwise
might have been catastrophic forces….
Nevertheless, the process of growth of
fluctuations went on for a very long time,…”
Meet “Cousin” Ardi
Ardipithecus ramidus
Discovered in 1992 in Ethiopia
“A partial skeleton and indirect evidence
from skeletal fragments indicate that Ar.
ramidus may have walked upright….
Other fossils found with Ar. ramidus
suggest that it may have been a woodland
forest dweller.”
Speculation and Guesswork
In the eleven papers in Science:
“Probably” appeared 78 times
“Suggest,” “Suggesting,”
“Suggestive,” or Suggests”
appeared 117 times
Magic Words
Gave rise to
Was on the way to becoming
Burst onto the scene
Evolved itself
Was making a transition to
USA Today, “Why did bugs grow wings to fly?”,
Mar 29, 2010.
“Evo-devo proposes that genes
involved in cobbling together flesh
and bone during early growth were
repurposed to develop new
structures throughout evolution's
history, by combining their functions
in new ways.”
“The 185-million-year-old specimen
is a sauropodomorph, a category of
plant-eating dinosaur that stood only
four feet at the shoulders and could
walk on its hind legs. They evolved
into sauropods, such as the
apatosaurus ….”
The Salt Lake Tribune, “Utah's Navajo sandstone
yields rare dinosaur find,” Thursday, March 25, 2010
“Into this world came the dinosaurs,
initially small bipedal carnivores, and
they rose to dominance at some
point during the Triassic.”
The Complete Dinosaur, Edited by
James O. Farlow and M. K. BrettSurman, 1997, p. 204.
Red-Flag Words
Red-Flag Words
 Everybody
 No real scientist
 I believe
 I think
 Truth
 Fundamentalist
 Intolerant
Express an
Express a
personal idea
Used to label
an opponent
Red-Flag Statements
All real scientists believe in evolution.
Everyone knows the Bible is just a
book of stories.
No one has the whole truth.
People should decide for themselves
what is right and wrong.
Red-Flag Statements
Why are Christians so intolerant?
Yes: Wrong
No: Wrong
Do you
believe in
Yes: Wrong
No: Wrong
Do you take
the Bible
A Primer on Natural Selection?
Life Sciences, Prentice Hall, 2002,
p. 151. (seventh grade textbook)
“Over a long period of time, natural
selection can lead to evolution.
Helpful variations gradually
accumulate in a species, while
unfavorable ones disappear.”
Natural Selection
“Natural selection is a mechanism by
which populations adapt and evolve. In its
essence, it is a simple statement about
rates of reproduction and mortality: Those
individual organisms who happen to be
best suited to an environment survive and
reproduce most successfully.”
Natural Selection
Natural Selection: Two FACTS
 Natural
selection does not add any
new information.
 Natural
selection can only “select”
from information that already exists.
Critical Thinking and
Natural Selection
Caused by nature
(natural processes)
Natural Selection: The Real Meaning
“Natural selection is a very simple natural
mechanism that explains the appearance
of design in living things.”
Douglas Futuyma (professor of evolutionary biology),
“Natural Selection: How Evolution Works,”
Natural Selection and Change
3 Questions to Ask
1. What is it that natural selection actually
does and how does it work?
2. Selection implies intelligence. Who or
what is actually doing or causing the
3. Is there any observational evidence for
where the vast amount of information
in DNA came from that does not
require me to use faith?
What Is Natural Selection?
It is an artificial mechanism devised
by man to replace the power and
intelligence of God.
According to evolutionists the
design in all life comes from:
Natural Selection
(Intelligent Designer)
Hot, cold
Think, be creative
Created by God
for a purpose
Love, joy, peace,
kindness, goodness,
gentleness, self-control
Know God
Respond to our Creator
Bible Challenge
So all the days of Methuselah were
nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and
he died.
Genesis 5:27
The Bible says that people lived to
be 900 years old. Do you believe
people really lived that long?
Final Exam
evolved into
What questions
could I ask?
Final Exam
Life must be on
other planets. It’s
arrogant to believe
we are the only life
in the universe.
What questions
could I ask?
Training Courses
Basic Creation Training
Teens and above
Advanced Creation Apologetics
Next step in evangelism
Christian Teacher Training
Teaching based on biblical
Building an Army of Christian Educators
A.C.E. Project
For more information
Email: [email protected]
Building an Army of Christian Educators