Just So Story
This page is part of the EvoWiki encyclopedia of fallacies.
- Ad hoc
- Ad hoc Argument
- Ad hoc Hypothesis
- Ad hoc Rationalization
- Ad hoc Rescue
- Questionable Cause (second meaning)
- Questionable Explanation
A Just So Story is any proposed explanation meant to account for a phenomenon (often animal characteristics), which consistently lacks any sort of physical evidence or ability to be verified by current or future data. Just So Stories are often fantastic and so improbable so as to border on absurdity.
"Just So Stories" are a perennial feature of pseudoscientific writings in order to shore up the arguments of pseudoscientists. Some examples include L. Ron Hubbard's claim that humans evolved from alien clams, or Immanuel Velikovsky's statement that Venus was a comet that erupted from the bowels of Jupiter.
The term is most commonly, but often inappropriately, used in the contexts of evolutionary psychology, sociobiology, and evolutionary anthropology, typically applied to a postulated evolutionary mechanism for a human or animal trait or behavior which cannot be falsified by scientific evidence.
Occasionally the term is used more broadly for any fantastic or improbable explanation of a phenomenon (particularly animal characteristics) which lacks an evidentiary basis. The name comes from the title of Rudyard Kipling's Just-So Stories For Little Children, originally published in 1902. The stories themselves were sometimes interpreted as mockery of Lamarck's theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics as, for instance, when elephants were said to have acquired trunks because one had its nose stretched by a hungry crocodile.
Examples in creationist arguments
- Runaway subduction
- Grand Canyon was carved by retreating Flood waters
- Cosmic rays and free neutrinos affect U and Ar decay rates
- Gravitational time dilation made distant clocks run faster
- Hydroplate theory
- There is a law of conservation of information
- It never rained before the flood
- Vapor canopy
- Flood from comet
- Insects survived on floating vegetation mats
- Juveniles of large animals were taken aboard
- Animals hibernated on the Ark
- Tower of Babel
Straw Man about Just-so Stories:
See also the examples in the subfallacies.