Philosophical Multicore

Sometimes controversial, sometimes fallacious, sometimes thought-provoking, and always fun.

Creation or Evolution, Part 2

Posted by Michael Dickens on November 17, 2009

Now it’s time for Creation or Evolution, Part 2: Science, the Bible and Wrong Assumptions.

The theory of evolution, long taught in schools and assumed to be true by many in the scientific community, is increasingly questioned by scientists and university professors in varying fields.

Take a look at Answers in Genesis’s list of about 300 scientists who “have accepted the biblical account of creation.” According to the Census, there are over 250,000 scientists in the field of life science alone. So, I wouldn’t call that “increasingly questioned”.

[R]esearchers have not been able to confirm basic assumptions of the evolutionary theory—and, in fact, some have been outright refuted.

True. For example, the belief that evolution happens gradually over long periods of time, as Darwin originally thought. We now know that it actually happens in relatively quick bursts whenever the environment makes a significant shift.

In the United States some states’ educational boards have become aware of the mounting scientific evidence against evo- lution and have begun to insist the theory be emphasized less or treated more evenhandedly in the classroom.

Well actually, what has happened is that fundamentalist Christians have begun to insist that Creationism be taught. For example, in Texas, seven of nine (I think) of the heads of the board of education are Creationist.

Yet there is a powerful insistence by many in the scientific community that the theory not be questioned, for much is at stake.

Scientists have no problem with questioning the theory. Our knowledge about evolution changes all the time. What scientists are against is baselessly rejecting the theory in exchange for religious dogma.

Phillip Johnson, law professor at the University of
California at Berkeley, has written several books about the evolution debate. He approaches the evidence for and against evolution as though evaluating a legal case.

Science and law are done very differently. Science is about finding the truth; law is about convincing people that you’re right. I wonder if this law professor is actually investigating the science, or just using his lawyerly skills to convince people that he’s right?

But what is behind the debate? How did an unproven theory gain such wide acceptance?

Good question. Why are there so many Creationists out there? Please tell me.

How did the biblical account of the origin of the universe and man lose so much credibility?

. . . by being disproven.

The roots of the battle between evolution and the Bible go back centuries.

A century and a half, yeah. The roots of the battle between Enlightenment thinking and the Bible go back even further.

In the past few centuries, science has refuted some religious notions about nature and the universe that religious leaders mistakenly attributed to the Bible.

If you loosely interpret the Bible and don’t take it literally, it is completely compatible with modern science. But I don’t think that’s what you’re doing, is it?

Although the Greeks thought the god Atlas held up first the heavens and later the earth, and the Hindus believed the earth rested atop four gigantic elephants, the Bible long revealed the true explanation. We read in Job 26:7 an astonishingly modern scientific concept, that God “hangs the earth on nothing.”

I don’t think that this is at all “astonishingly modern”. It is merely one of many creation stories, and happens to be somewhat more accurate than some others. But if the Bible was really interested in scientific truth, it could have provided a much better explanation. As it is, for all I know the earth is flat. The Bible ought to make it clear that the earth is round, and that the reason it doesn’t fall through space is because there is no gravity pulling it, except for that of the sun, which is causing it to orbit. But of course the Bible wouldn’t say that, because the people who wrote it didn’t know all of that.

I have no immediate problem with Christians who want to “serve God” through scientific inquiry. But when this scientific inquiry becomes pseudoscience, as it does when the science supports Creationism, I can no longer allow it.

Although evolution wasn’t popularized until 1859 with the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, the roots of the idea go much further back in history.

The idea that living organisms gradually change over time is an old one. But the mechanism of natural selection was Darwin’s big innovation.

Thus, in the late 19th century, scientists and educators were sidetracked from discovering the truth about the origin and meaning of life when they adopted Darwin’s reasoning.

Why? Simply because they evolved through natural processes? I seriously doubt that most people were side tracked. If anything, a general distrust of the Bible (which there was not) would lead to more search for meaning and not less, since people would no longer have the Bible as a guide.

[T]hough [Darwin’s] theory contained many obvious weaknesses, these were hidden by the length and tediousness of his book.

Why golly gee, I wonder what these “obvious weaknesses” are? I bet you’re not going to tell me until the next section.

A bias against the supernatural slowly crept in.

A bias against the supernatural is more commonly called LOGIC or RATIONALITY.

The implications for the trustworthiness of the Bible are enormous. Is it the inspired and infallible Word of God, or are parts of it merely well-intentioned myths?

Those myths don’t all seem very well-intentioned to me.

They had this quote that made me laugh.

“all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine [teaching] . . . “

If you think that “doctrine” and “teaching” are the same thing, then . . . well . . . I don’t know what. Something bad.

If you teach a child that he is only an animal, don’t complain when he behaves like one.

What do you mean, “only” an animal? All kinds of animals are different, and behave differently. Likewise, human behavior is expected to be different from chimpanzee behavior, or bumblebee behavior. Besides, this quote contradicts the earlier passages explaining how the Bible and the authors are pro-science. Science is interested in the truth, at any cost. So if our ultimate goal is science, why should we deny the truth simply because it has unpleasant consequences?

Without the belief in a just God who will judge the actions of men, isn’t it easier for people to do as they please?

So you suggest that people should make their decisions based upon fear of consequences, and not based upon an internal sense of morality? That doesn’t sound very moral to me.

Could this kind of thinking have something to do with the immo- rality rampant in so many schools and universities where God is banned from the classroom and evolutionary theory is taught as fact?

God isn’t banned from the Theology classroom. And we don’t let Hinduism or Paganism into the science class, either. Stop being so petty.

That was the last interesting snippet from this section. Next time, we will read the section entitled, “What Does the Fossil Record Show?” The bias is already apparent in the title. Wonderful.

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