Orthodox Christians MUST Accept Evolution; one person’s opinion

Someone recently passed on to me the an essay from the Huffington Post entitled “Christian Faith Requires Accepting Evolution.” It’s 2 years old, and some of you may recall it, but I missed it when it came out.

The author, Jonathan Dudley, is the author of Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics, a graduate of Yale Divinity School and, at least at the time when the essay was written, was M.D. student at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Dudley was also raised evangelical in the kind of evangelicalism where being anti-evolution is a sign of defending the faith. Both Dudley’s theological and medical education has led him to abandon that idea and adopt the opposite point of view–it is an abandonment of the Christian tradition to reject evolution.

In the past, Dudley argues, Christian theologians have “valued science out of the belief that God created the world scientists study. Augustine castigated those who made the Bible teach bad science, John Calvin argued that Genesis reflects a commoner’s view of the physical world, and the Belgic confession likened scripture and nature to two books written by the same author.”

The main counter of the anti-evolution side is that they don’t reject science. They just reject evolution because it isn’t real science. Citing Intelligent Design apologist Phillip Johnson, evolution is “based not upon any incontrovertible empirical evidence, but upon a highly philosophical presupposition.”

Dudley concedes that science is not a “neutral enterprise” because “prior beliefs undoubtedly influence interpretation.” But waving the flag of faulty philosophical presuppositions as an alleged refutation of evolution quickly breaks down, for,

“…no amount of talk about “worldviews” and “presuppositions” can change a simple fact: creationism has failed to provide an alternative explanation for the vast majority of evidence explained by evolution.”

Creationism cannot explain, among other things, “why birds still carry genes to make teeth, whales to make legs, and humans to make tails,” ”the broken genes that litter the DNA of humans and apes but are functional in lower vertebrates,” or ”how the genetic diversity we observe among humans could have arisen in a few thousand years from two biological ancestors.”

To reject these findings of science is to reject the traditional Christian notion that God created the world scientists study. Dudley cites 19th century Princeton Theological Seminary theologian Charles Hodge: “Nature is as truly a revelation of God as the Bible; and we only interpret the Word of God by the Word of God when we interpret the Bible by science.” [Note: I've seen this quote elsewhere, but Dudley does not site the source. I suspect it is from What is Darwinism? but I can't verify it. I'm not in the mood to dig it up, but if you know the source, let us know in the comments. This certainly sounds like Hodge, though I also know he wasn't giving science a free ticket either.]

That’s why Dudley says orthodox Christian faith has to accept evolution.

What do you think?

 

  • Evidence2Hope

    It seems much like the arguments that creationists put forward but for evolution – essentially you must accept a specific scientific paradigm in order to the be a true Christian. This is just blatantly wrong, not to mention putting unnecessary pressure on those who are really struggling with these topics.

    I’m not a scientist, I know a couple and often discuss this with them but all this just leaves me with the impression that I’m damned for hell if I don;t get this right….. something else I believe is just blatantly wrong

    • Edward

      For me: I think it is more reasonable to say that one should accept the fact that science is the best method available to us, through which we may come to understand the natural world. While some may choose to remain willfully ignorant of science, which is no great infraction, where those same people attempt to appeal to such ignorance as virtuous, and where they substitute some creationist falsehoods for the purposes of filling the holes of ignorance in their argument, their argument becomes completely unacceptable.

      • lilmoose

        There is atheistic evolution – infallible science can’t prove from analysis of the universe that a god exists so evolution (though not able to go to ultimate origin) is the best explanation of development.
        There is deistic evolution – there was a prime mover that started it all (probably with a big bang) and left it to develop by chance (with aa few adjustable rules to keep it from turning into a big crunch immediately).
        There is theistic evolution – scientific data seems to indicate that the universe was designed to produce, by a slow but intentional process, intelligent creatures capable of understanding how the process works – of doing science.

        Anyone who is so narrow-minded that he limits what he accepts as true to what can be observed and tested of the material universe by the arbitrary set rules of the scientific method, can by that method find enough to set forth as evidence either or all of the three kinds of evolution. Any of them could be right when you are limited to those boundaries.

        I could be wrong and either of the three “scientifically”-proved positions could be right. I could be wrong till my dying day, but what have I lost? There is no scientific evidence of any benefit for me in a grave. I could have made room for a spotted owl. but there is no more scientific reason for it to exist than for me. There is nothing within the whole of what exists that can be the reason for that existing.

        But if I as a Bible-believing Christian am right and the above three evolutionist are wrong, I have an eternity of perfect existence awaiting me, but they, having made a false god out of their rational ability to chose a limit for scientific inquiry, will find there is hell outside that limit.

        I’m going to believe, from evidence beyond the limits set by usurpers, that God communicated information in a form understandable by humans, intending them to get that information and to learn His reason for imparting the information – relationship.

        If you want to stay within your chosen puny limits, it’s your choice. You don’t know what you are missing or why you should keep on existing. But if that is the evolutionary chance you want to take, go with it.

        • Edward

          You are confusing religious philosophy with science. When the ancient philosophers decided to begin looking to the physical world to explain physical phenomena (such as the stars, the seasons, why trees grow, why Bob got fried by that bright white light that just came down from the sky, etc.), they began the process of science.

          Science is specifically grounded in the natural world; it has no interest in religion and little in philosophy. It is a wholly separate discipline from religion and/or philosophy. Philosophy and religion speculate about the metaphysical realm. The scientific tradition looks to the physical world. It has grown to included a set of requirements that philosophy and religion were never expected to meet.

          Therefore, trying to conflate science with religion and philosophy, is just wrong and a complete misunderstanding of the history and evolution of each discipline. Conflating science with philosophy and/or religion where it comes to the metaphysical is especially absurd; science has no interest in the metaphysical. It is a waste of time. They have nothing to do with one another.

  • Murray Hogg

    Hi Pete,

    I managed to locate a longer version of that Hodge citation (“Nature is as truly a revelation of God as the Bible; and we only
    interpret the Word of God by the Word of God when we interpret the Bible
    by science.”) on pages 183-84 of Mark Noll’s Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994.)

    Noll cites the source as: Charles Hodge, “The Bible in Science,” New York Observer, March. 26, 1863, pp. 98-99.

    The words you cite here open the citation as given by Noll, so I’m assuming they occur on p.98 of the Observer article.

    Keep up the good work, mate. I always appreciate your writing!

    –Murray

    • peteenns

      Thanks, Murray, for being my eyes and ears this morning!

  • DonaldByronJohnson

    I think someone can be a believer in Jesus and think lots of incorrect things otherwise. The challenge is to accept mainstream science and believe in Jesus and I want to make that as easy as possible, putting only the stumbling block of Christ crucified before such a person.

  • Levi

    One can be a Christian and also hold all manner of false beliefs, so long as the belief in question is not mutually exclusive with the crucified and risen Christ.

    Repeat after me: “Biological origins are underdetermined by the text.” If we want the YEC’s to stop saying anyone who takes science seriously can’t really be a good Christian, we need to return the favor.

  • Brandon

    Dr. Enns,

    Thank you for this interesting post. In the past science has made plenty of assertions about the way the world worked and those assertions turned out to be wrong (EX: like when doctors used leeches to cure sick people). Sometimes this was because of ‘worldview’ issues, but scientific inquiry is always limited by the imprecision of its methods for discovering the world. If it’s methodology is, in the grand scheme of things, ‘blunt’ enough (though it may appear quite sharp to that particular age), no matter how frequently the data is tested, it will produce faulty interpretations of the data–until sharper tools are discovered.

    My point is, given the tools and abilities of scientists today, evolution may be the best interpretation we can come up with–but future generations could hypothetically discover with the aid of ‘sharper’ methodologies that evolution is quite wide of the mark. If that happened it really wouldn’t be an inexplicable turn of events because it is the nature of science to improve and critique prior theories.
    So, couldn’t a Christian today respectfully acknowledge that evolution is the best scientific explanation right now, but because of the imperfect nature of scientific and because Scripture doesn’t give a lot of help in believing in evolution, withhold judgment on whether it is the proper scientific explanation of human origins?
    Thanks.

    • Bev Mitchell

      Brandon,

      I realize that you have asked Pete, but here is a possible response to your good question. Scientists see all current conclusions as provisional. It used to be, back in the Enlightenment days and into the early 20th century, that scientists thought they had just about aced everything. The Newtonian world was very explicable and deterministic. Ironically, theologians of the time also thought they should be equally decided on their propositions. The need to know and to know perfectly was all the rage.

      We have moved on. Virtually all scientists, and a growing number of evangelical theologians accept that they are trying to describe matters and things that will always be beyond us – our current understandings will always stand in need of correction. A great book in this regard, though a little pointy headed and now ‘old’ by today’s fast moving perspective, is Alister McGrath’s “A Passion for Truth: The Intellectual Coherence of Evangelicalism”.

      BTW, medicinal leeches are still used for very good and interesting reasons. But, for really good table conversation, check out maggot therapy. A Wiki search on Hirudo medicinalis and then on ‘maggot therapy’ will tell you more than you need to know.

  • Ryan Patrick Hoselton

    I’m certainly not one to hesitate to invoke a “MUST” when it comes Christian belief, but evolution? He is welcome to employ “should,” “it’s advisable,” “I’d suggest,” etc., but an insistent MUST is an Evolutionist Fundamentalism. This mentality marginalizes many genuine believers based on… what? On faith in Christ’s atoning death? On his resurrection? On the Holy Spirit’s power to sanctify his people? No, based on whether we accept that humans carry genes for growing tails. Dudley’s language accomplishes two things: 1) makes those who agree with him feel intelligent 2) makes those who disagree feel stupid (or at believe least that everyone else thinks their stupid). I’m not saying that the polemics on the creationist side have been much better, but this tactic is not the way forward.

    • http://proecclesia.net/ Garet Robinson

      You’ve pretty much stated what I was thinking.

      As an evangelical who is not convinced of evolutionary theory, though holds to progressive creation, the kind of dogmatism in the piece quoted is almost as polemical as some of my young earth creationist friends. It is a tacit nod to a scientism that fails to appreciate distinctions, both historical and theological, on this issue between faithful believers.

      Some of his points are valid questions, though have equally valid answers if we expand on the logic used to pose them. Though not to make this conversation too epistemic, there is something to be said for additional avenues of answering these points.

      • Aceofspades25

        I would strongly recommend this simple post: http://biologos.org/blog/evolution-basics-genomes-as-ancient-texts-part-5

        Or this series in general: http://biologos.org/blog/series/evolution-basics

        The evidence for evolution has been growing for nearly 200 years and now genetics has effectively put the last few nails in the coffin for any other contending theory.

        • http://proecclesia.net/ Garet Robinson

          I appreciate the links and have read them, as well as a healthy amount of additional literature on the topic. This isn’t a good place for a debate or lengthy engagements (but I’m happy to email freely) on this. I appreciate the perspective of many committed believers who differ on this position than my own perspective. However, my approach takes into account epistemological elements that ask deeper questions about the philosophy of scientific reasoning.

          We should have a good conversation about this in our churches and fellowships. The answers are important, but so is the journey.

        • BT

          Thanks for the links. I read Biologos but hadn’t seen those articles.

    • http://thediscerningchristian.wordpress.com/ Chris

      On the contrary, participation in today’s society requires a sort of scientific literacy. Acceptance of evolution is as much a “must” as anything else, if not for theological reasons then for practical reasons. The largely-ignorant right side of our legislature reflects the need for acceptance of such things as evolution so as not to fall prey to demagogues feeding on your fear for a vote.

      Christians in particular “must” accept evolution if they want to be an effective witness for the gospel. Their hesitation is an ongoing testament to the false partnership between ignorance and faith. It is not a “must” in the sense of it being necessary for salvation, but it *is* a “must” in the sense of there being something deeply wrong with your outlook on the world, otherwise. This deeper issue could actually be salvific in nature, such as if you have an intense mistrust of anyone outside cultural Christianity. At that point, you are not Christian but just a member of any other xenophobic tribe.

      • Jakeithus

        Chris,

        As someone who does not fully accept “evolution” in its entirety, I strongly disagree with your assertion that it is a “must” in terms of my being a fully functional member of society.

        I think all people should understand evolutionary theory, as that is essential to having conversations. I think everyone should have a well thought out explanation of origins. I even agree that many Christians’ general ignorance of scientific matters does not help out witness to the world at large. That I *must* accept an explanation that I don’t find to be the most convincing just doesn’t seem like something that you’re in a position to determine, and totally disregards the idea of free questioning and exploration.

        • http://thediscerningchristian.wordpress.com/ Chris

          Free thought is a virtue only within bounds. If the alternative views can present some kind of falsifiable hypothesis, then great. If not, I’m not going to engage in false modesty to suggest the plausibility of dissent when there are lots of social reasons contributing to the opposition to evolution.

          • Jakeithus

            Free thought might not always be a virtue, but it is always a core aspect of what it means to be human, and our single most basic human right.

            I don’t need you to accept the plausibility of mine or others’ dissent. You are free to hold whatever beliefs you wish about evolution and any of its alternatives, and are more than welcome to consider my position utterly foolish. However, I see absolutely no reason why I must agree with you, and myself and others manage to function perfectly fine as Christians despite not falling into your narrow limits of how we must behave.

            There are plenty of social reasons that contribute to the acceptance of evolution as well, so I’m not sure what point you are making in that statement.

  • Jim

    I may be missing something but, under Dudley’s logic, what principled reason is there for a person to reject the overwhelming scientific evidence that a person cannot be crucified, buried and raised from the dead?

    • Pofarmer

      “reject the overwhelming scientific evidence that a person cannot be crucified, buried and raised from the dead?”

      You mean except that there’s not any such thing?

      • Jim

        Pofarmer, we’ll have to agree to disagree. I’d refer you, as I did Ed, to Rom. 1:18-23 and then Rom. 10:9.

        • Edward

          @Jim: Speaking of logic…

          I assume you do some or all of the following: drive a car, fly in airplanes, take medical advice from your doctor, use X-Ray, Computed Tomography, Ultrasound and/or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, watch television, use the computer you’re typing on, rely on weather forecasts, agree the earth is in transit around the sun and the moon is in orbit around the earth, use hydrocarbon, nuclear and possible renewable fuels, etc?

          If so, I remind you that in the context of your reference to Paul’s Roman’s epistle quote that none of these technologies is “obvious” and each required years of scientific study and most are still being further refined and improved.

          Using your referential logic, you need to stop using these items and this information because, they are the product of scientists who have become too big for their britches and do not respect God because, they went beyond the obvious and performed scientific studies to discover these useful items, just as anthropologists and evolutionary biologists use science to conduct their work and discover useful information.

          • Jim

            Ed, this will be my final post. As will be evident to many who read this and certainly to Dr. Enns, I am a Van Tillian presuppositionalist. What that means is that, to paraphrase Dr. Van Til, I believe that the unbeliever can count rightly but that he cannot ultimately account for counting. Therefore, I happily continue to drive my car and type away on my aging, but functioning, laptop even though they may have been the products of the unbelieving mind. If you’re genuinely interested, I’d suggest this book as a good starting point for more information (http://www.frame-poythress.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/BLogicFinal.pdf).

          • Edward

            Sorry to press you Jim but, if all those sciences got it right in their ignorance of God, and if all of those products work as scientifically investigated and subsequently engineered, what is it you have against scientific evolution? It has certainly proved its mettle. Has it occurred to you that arguing that God created the evolutionary process is a completely reasonable position? In fact it’s permanently safe. You don’t get all the machinations of the polemic but at least it can be seen as rational. I often wonder why those in the Creationist movement don’t reach this obvious conclusion.

            This of course leads me wonder if some of those hard core creationists have some other objective. The idea that ignorance is good has a strong appeal to sociopathic corporate entities who hope to marginalize large numbers of people when they come to age. The dumbing down of our schools and children provides fodder for the low end of the economic grist and paves a profitable and comfortable path for the plutocrats of the next generation.

            I’ll leave you with a quote and reading recommendation too. James 2:14-26. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plutocracy

          • Dean

            You seem to be taking offence for everything boy!

          • Edward

            Only one thing Dean: Science and religion have absolutely nothing to do with one another. Nothing, nada, zip, zilch, squat, zero. All the rest is me responding to argumentation raised by those who refuse to accept this simple, historical, and demonstrable truth: physics has nothing to do with metaphysics.

            It is important to retain the integrity of the issues around root truths, lest people wander too far afield with their confusion. We got into this Creationist mess, one that now threatens our children’s education and thereby our country’s ability to compete, by looking the other way as increasingly absurd claims were made by these people and by failing to call them on those absurdities.

            Now, since we ignored their threat to our system, dismissing them as crazy and insignificant, they are winning seats in our houses of government. They are asserting themselves by disrupting our congress and blocking beneficial economic legislation, passing anti-education, anti-citizen laws laws (anti-voting, anti-women, anti-minorities, anti-college students, etc.) in our statehouses, and generally causing mayhem in our political bodies with their stated philosophy that government is bad.

            Therefore, I am not letting their arguments pass unchallenged anymore. Not a single one. That’s just the way I see it.

        • Pofarmer

          And? You’re simply doing apologetics, not making any kind of a reasoned argument.

  • Marshall

    I think we would do better to understand “Evolution” as a complex topic, a whole set of ideas that have morphed considerably over the years, although reductionists of various stripes try to make it a simple statement about statistical changes in a species genotypes, or the common origin of all life, or a challenge to Genesis. Darwinism Evolving carries the thought up to 1996, points out some surprising turns in the debate. Really, it’s just one among many ways humans work to make sense of the world we live in (the world God has made for us).

    One thing I like to keep in mind, the root of “evolve” means “unfold”, or open up like a rose, a term somewhat related to “breaking in” …

  • Edward

    The commonality of Christianity when contrasted against the lack of commonality of science it obvious in some comments here. The remoteness of science generally and the even more remote availability of fields such as anthropology and evolutionary biology specifically, are clearly evident.

    There are roughly 350,000 religious congregations in the United States. One can become “schooled” in Christian (or other) religion or the bible, old or new testament (or both) in nearly any church, on nearly any street corner and nearly any home in the United States. On the other side of this conversational coin, there is a comparative dearth of schools of science in comparison and even fewer schools of anthropology or evolutionary biology, specifically. Any person can walk into a church and within three years have learned the entire bible, once through, and millions do, every week. We have thousands of people all around us who are willing to “teach” what they know about Christianity. We have whole faith communities, not merely religious faith communities such as priests, nuns, etc., but actual towns and small cities that are well ensconced in Christianity. Is it any surprise then that the Christian point of view is the common point of view? In comparison, how many people walk into anthropology and evolutionary biology classes each week and dedicate themselves to learning what is available in those classes? Remarkably few people avail themselves of this opportunity. How often is the science of these specialties discussed in public or in homes? The number of people who truly understand even the basics of evolution, as taught at the university level, is minuscule when compared to the number who “study the bible.” Most people are ignorant of anthropology and evolutionary biology and most admit it honestly, willingly. Yet, there are some who study the bible, who feel free to speak here, and nearly everywhere, whenever the question of evolution is raised, as if they are some authority on the subject, merely because they have come to believe, then accept as “Truth,” one side of the conversation. And, they refuse to acknowledge their ignorance. What odd suspension of disbelief agreement must we engage, in order to take such people seriously?

    The comments here that are not representative of at least as much knowledge and understanding about the sciences specific to the topic under discussion, as they are to the religious texts and tenets of the bible, are ignorant comments. Not a single one speaks to the scientific issues involved. They speak only in the language of logical fallacies. This is not some speculation, this is demonstrable fact having read these comments.

    The piece does not condemn people for not knowing, it simply raises the question of whether we have a religious based responsibility to know our physical world and asserts that the pursuit of such knowledge is in keeping with God’s charges to His people (ex., dominion). If it condemns anything, it does so only by what is obviously true by extrapolation. Ergo, it condemns by inference those who don’t spend more time exercising their God given talent for understanding the natural world, and it condemns them by inference only, for not wanting to explore knowable truths. It condemns by inference only, those who are unwilling to study the sciences under consideration but who want to express some ignorant opinion anyway, those who accept what is (almost embarrassingly) too easily accessible, rather than challenging themselves to study the sciences and take the time to learn what is less available, yet better grounded in the natural world in which we live.

    Of course it’s easier to “study” the bible and the various Christian faith(s); it’s as easy as falling out of a boat and hitting water. Whereas the study of the sciences is not so common, not so easy; it’s hard work.

    • Jim

      In other words, yay for smart, scientific people and shame on those “ignorant” people who believe the Bible helps them to rightly interpret nature rather than vice-versa. You’re right about one thing though, there is no “odd suspension of disbelief agreement” that will help you understand “such people.” I fear (although I hope I’m wrong) that the only “Truth” that we hold in common is that we both know God (see, e.g., Rom. 1:18-23).

      • Edward

        No Jim. Yay for smart scientific and/or religious and/or any people who study and are knowledgeable regarding the things they discuss.

    • Dean

      You give Americans way too much credit. Most Christians have no idea what’s in the Bible let alone how the simplest of biological processes works. We are probably entering an age that is closer to feudalism than anyone really likes to admit. Most fundamentalists are as ignorant of the Bible as they are science, which is what makes this entire debate so frustrating.

      • Edward

        I am concerned too Dean. I am concerned about states who cannot educate or care for their own but keep demanding completely inappropriate religious liberties in the commons, while their people stumble and starve. Their children don’t need religious education that will hinder them and keep them from higher education and the path to earning a decent wage, but the corporations in those states sure need cheap labor and from their perspective stupid = cheap. If they want them to have a religious education, fine, but this horse manure about Creationism? It smells of the same Brave Old World (read Old South) where, now that the business can no longer have slaves, they want stupid, dirt cheap, dirt poor labor.

        I am most especially concerned by recipient states who cannot balance their own budgets, who perpetually live on the verge of bankruptcy, who cannot care for their own and who wind up becoming recipients of federal tax dollar donations in the billions, nearly wholly dependent on we donor states. These states’ representatives beg for federal dollars from donor states while at the same time decrying the “Welfare State,” knowing the whole time it is they, the representatives, who are bankrupting their respective states and creating the Welfare State. They aren’t conducting business on behalf of their citizen constituents, they are conducting business on behalf of their masters, the constituent corporations in their districts.

  • Pofarmer

    Here’s the problem you have. If you accept Evolution, then you have to understand the story of Adam and Eve as allegory, or whatever. If there was no Adam and Eve, then there was no original sin. If there was no original sin, then there was no need for Jesus to die on the cross to atone for a creation of the Old Testament authors. The whole thing kind of falls in a pile and makes much more sense as a work of fiction……….

    • Andrew Dowling

      Much of Christianity, including the religion’s first 400 years, don’t follow the formula you lay out anyway . . .

      • Pofarmer

        Please expound.

        • Andrew Dowling

          That the integral foundation of Christianity is Jesus’s death as an atoning sacrifice for the Sin of Adam. That and the very concept of original sin is Augustinian (and Reformed) readings of Paul and not what was mainstream Christian theology in the first few centuries, which had wide variety itself but focused more, if I may be so bold as to summarize a consistent theme across centuries of Christian thought, on Jesus’s death and resurrection making possible a conquering of sinfulNESS (present tense . . not the inherent effects of an event, ie the Fall/Original Sin, that occurred long ago) in the person renewed in Christian baptism and fellowship following “the Way” of Jesus.

          • Pofarmer

            I think that’s probably correct, but it doesn’t particularly change my original point. Except now you’ve mainly just knocked the props out from under Catholicism, so, whatever. It is still said that all “sin” began with Adam and Eve in the Garden. Before eating from the tree of knowledge, men lived forever, had no disease, etc, etc. So, I don’t think that changing terminologies from conquering sinfulness to conquering original sin, really gets you very far in that argument, except maybe it changes the understanding of what sin is.

          • BT

            Interesting. It seems to me that the point of arguing over the existence of an actual Adam/Eve human pair is really an argument over the mechanics of why humans as a race are sinful, whereas I think the writers of Genesis were more interested explaining THAT it’s there and that there are answers. Viewing Genesis as allegory really isn’t that much of a problem.

          • Pofarmer

            That’s probably correct. But, when you take the worldview of Bronze age folks, build a religion around it, and then try to project it 2000 years in the future, it becomes problematic as the narrative runs into actual facts.

          • BT

            And thus comes the art of hermeneutics ….

  • Craig Vick

    The ‘must’ in the post comes from the assumption that God reveals truth through creation and through the Bible.

  • Ryan Hite

    The bible was before we were able to understand this. We shouldn’t take the bible too seriously but as a complete allegory. It is how we should live our life and it is through the example of Jesus that we are able to evolve spiritually.

  • ctrace

    >Creationism cannot explain, among other things, “why birds still carry genes to make teeth,

    “To understand this answer, you need to understand DNA, among other
    things. All forms of life, from the bacterium to a human – ALL share the
    same 20 amino acids. It is NOT possible that this equivalence appeared
    by chance. All also share the same type of genetic code – it’s simply a
    question of which protein combinations are turned on and which are
    turned off. This is, in fact, a determining factor FOR creation.”

    • Edward

      It is absolutely possible if life evolved from simple celled creatures; every thing would have the same life proto cells, which will have evolved into simple creatures, then more complex creatures, each branching off from one another, each containing evidence of it’s previous DNA markers. Are you familiar with the Miller-Urey experiment, Sidney Fox, phospholipids, lipid bilayers and cell membrane structures, Francis Crick and RNA origin? The information is broadly available. Someone posted some links on this thread. You may want to spend some time with them and others.

      Don’t let some fool mislead you, get in there and learn about it yourself and you find these Creationists to be absolutely wrong. Worse, their leadership is incompetent and malevolently so.

      • ctrace

        You write Miller-Urey et al. as if there isn’t a library available on them currently. What we now know about the workings of cells has left Darwinian theory long back in the dust. Remember, Darwinian theory began by assuming a cell was merely a blob of ectoplasm. As science has surpassed that assumption (just a little bit) it’s been ad hoc, Rube Goldberg speculation and running to try to catch up ever since. Textbooks still contain old debunked Darwinian myths. We’re in a new world now, and it is not a world where mechanical evolution can hold its ground. This is why Darwinian theory is being called flat earth theory nowadays. The information (code) and nano technology in a cell is nothing short of miraculous. We are staring into the miraculous at this point. But life has always been miraculous. The miracle of life, as humanity has voiced it from time immemorial.

        • Edward

          Simply absurd.

          On one hand you claim science has surpassed any of the foundational scientific references I made. Really? New science surpassed old science?! Stop the presses! Headline: “Creationists Stunned: Science Works as Intended!” Has it occurred to you that this is why the things I shared are known as foundational? On the other hand (and the really hilarious part) you use scientific advances to “debunk” science (in a begrudging admiration, of course). Doesn’t it strike you as the least bit absurd that you are trying to undermine the integrity of science, by pointing to the integrity of science? It’s a simple matter of progress, old chap; even a Creationist can see this, the moment he opens his eyes. You are welcome to keep yours shut tight for as long as you like.

          So, your textbooks are old -but *you* have the new information? Where did *you* get that new information? Was it manna from heaven? No, it wasn’t; it came from new textbooks. All good schools have contemporary textbooks (except where small minds refuse to educate their children properly, voting against the funding necessary to keep their schools current). Based on the confused jumble above, I can see how this might be difficult for you to resolve. Here’s the solution to the problem: Where textbooks are old, buy new textbooks. Wasn’t that easy?

          Flat-Earth theory? Creationism certainly is the new flat-earth theory. It’s proponents show it to be such every time they engage the fairytale with thoughtful people.

          • ctrace

            If you want to play this tired atheist game of who owns science, it was Christians who founded just about every university and research institute anybody ever learned anything of the western scientific enterprise from. And that very enterprise grew in the soil of Christian culture and civilization uniquely. So when I cite scientific discovery I’m hardly appropriating to myself something that doesn’t ‘belong’ to Christians. It is atheists and secular types who have appropriated the western scientific enterprise to themselves much like homosexuals appropriate the works of Shakespeare or the world historical military exploits of Alexander the Great to themselves.

          • Edward

            You’ve lost your place in this conversation. We were specifically discussing your lack of scientific understanding, as evinced in your two, babbling, incoherent rants above.

            You, personally, are not Western Christianity. Neither are you some representation or authority on the subject of Western scientific enterprise. Therefore it is a complete misappropriation for you to claim to be some scientific insider, merely because you go to church on Sunday and hold to some idiotic notion of Creation Science. The next thing I expect to hear from you is about your tin-foil hat and your Captain Crunch Decoder Ring and how these give you special insight into the word of God.

            The evidence you’ve provided here shows, in your own words, you are not equal to the task of science or scientific understanding, let alone logical or well-reasoned thinking. Each time you are challenged and bested, you wander to some other argument, unable to stay on subject because you’ve no where left to go. You make amorphous statements that have no basis in anything other than your own “unique (read: incoherent)” thought process and you claim them to be some special understanding. Your comments are laced with fallacies from beginning to end: you make appeals to ignorance and inappropriate authority and popularity, you conflate issues, you commit ad hominems, and you have no understanding of why your composition fallacy regarding you, the church and science calls even your basic reasoning into question.

            The surest way to distinguish a charlatan from a worthy opponent in a debate is how well he stays to the point. You couldn’t stay to the point if the subject were a potent ferrite and your brain was an electromagnet; too much flux, too many eddy currents; to much noise. In short, you’re not worthy and you are wasting my time. Piss off.

          • ctrace

            OK, Edward, carry on.

          • Civic

            Edward, I see no scientific rebuttal. The only thing I can see are ad hominem attacks. Grow up!

          • Minion

            Strange, where is your scientific rebuttal other than saying. Science is this, science is that. Quote your journals man.

  • Bryan

    Isn’t interpreting the “Word of God” by the “Word of God” circular reasoning?

    • Edward

      Indeed it is. It is a rhetorical tautology; it is true by every possible interpretation (e.g., it can’t be wrong, no matter what).

    • ctrace

      >Isn’t interpreting the “Word of God” by the “Word of God” circular reasoning?

      Not unless you have a more foundational ground of truth.

      • Bryan

        This is nonsensical. As Edward commented earlier, it is a tautology. It is a truth which can never be wrong because its conclusion is reiterated in the premise. If what you are suggesting is some aspect of foundationalism, this too is an impenetrable and unassailable. Universal truths, empirical ‘facts’ and impenetrable foundations are tantamount to inaccessible claims which no one can verify. Again, there is no doubt that this statement IS clearly circular.

  • ctrace

    One of the foundational presuppositions of Darwinism was that cells are mere blobs of ectoplasm. What we know about the workings of cells today is as zero to infinity compared to that. Indeed, what we know now is nigh miraculous compared to the primitive biological beliefs of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Biology is now known to speak the language of information (code) and nano technology, such things as are as far from primitive Darwinian belief in mechanical processes of development as the infrastructure of the American north east is as from Darfur.

  • Susan_G1

    “Creationism cannot explain, among other things, ‘why birds still carry
    genes to make teeth, whales to make legs, and humans to make tails,’ ”

    Why not? If they can believe God made “an old earth”, they can certainly believe God made “an old human”. Point is, they believe whatever they think fits the Bible, not what science has to offer.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

    Nicely stated. It’s great to hear an evangelical argue that rejecting science is bad theology. This kind of anti-science attitude is one of the factors pushing young people away from the church.

    • ctrace

      The words ‘rejecting science’ are not synonymous with ‘rejecting truth.’ And you’re not even using the term science correctly.

      If a Christian rejected, for instance, the laws of logic you would have a point. But the laws of logic exist in the mind of God.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        So therefore God exists? Wow–I didn’t know that a proof of God was so simple. And it was staring me in the face all along!

      • Thehermit

        ? Groovy.

  • dangjin

    Where in the Bible do both God and Jesus give permission to anyone to take science over their word?

    Please list all the verses you find from the Bible in your next post.

  • David Lamb

    Hey Pete, great post. The Hodge quote comes from “Scripture and Science” New York Observer, March 26, 1863, pages 98-99. A close friend of mine (Paul Gutjahr) wrote a great book on Hodge, Charles Hodge: Guardian of American Orthodoxy (won a CT award in 2011). The quote appears on p. 367 of Gutjahr’s book, and the reference is on p. 444, n. 8.


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