Al Mohler on Adam and Eve vs. The Facts

Phil Plait just linked back to a 2009 post of his that’s a favorite of mine. “I’m skeptical of denialism” discusses the important distinction between a skeptic and a denier.

It’s helpful to understand where Plait is coming from. He’s an astronomer and the veteran of an epic battle with moon-landing deniers. Those are the folks who claim that human beings have never walked on the moon — that the Apollo missions were a giant hoax and that Armstong, Aldrin and the rest were really filmed at a top-secret government sound stage somewhere.

Moon-landing deniers don’t call themselves that. They call themselves moon-landing skeptics — thus laying claim to the mantle of science-y critical thinking.

Plait — who is himself a scientist and therefore, professionally, a skeptic — won’t let them get away with that:

Skepticism is a method that includes the demanding of evidence and critical analysis of it. That’s not what Moon hoax believers do; they make stuff up, they don’t look at all the evidence, they ignore evidence that goes against their claims. So they are not Moon landing skeptics, they are Moon landing deniers. They may start off as skeptics, but real skeptics understand the overwhelming evidence supporting the reality of the Moon landings. If, after examining that evidence, you still think Apollo was faked, then congratulations. You’re a denier.

A skeptic, as Plait says, engages the evidence carefully without imposing or requiring any foregone conclusions about what it may or may not indicate. An especially skeptical skeptic may insist on a very high standard of proof, but is still open to the possibility of such proof. A skeptic, in other words, follows the evidence as far as it leads. Skeptics may refuse to go beyond that evidence, but they will never refuse to accept such evidence if it is credible and honest.

And because of that, skeptics themselves are credible and honest.

Deniers are neither.

Deniers are not open to following credible evidence unless it leads to where they want it to lead. They will accept any evidence — no matter how flimsy — if it seems to support their foregone conclusions, thus displaying a credulity incompatible with skepticism. And more importantly, they reject any evidence — no matter how incontrovertible — that goes against their foregone conclusion. Because deniers adamantly refuse to accept such credible and honest evidence, the deniers themselves cannot be regarded as credible or honest.

Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. The evidence for that is overwhelming and beyond any reasonable doubt. That some people cling to un-reasonable doubts does not earn them the right to be called skeptics, it simply makes them deniers.

Deniers don’t care what the evidence says. They believe what they want to believe, and if that belief is proven false they simply deny that such proof exists. Hence the name.

Most deniers don’t want to acknowledge that this is what they’re doing, so, like the moon-landing deniers, they prefer to call themselves skeptics. That adds another layer of dishonesty and it’s an insult to actual skeptics — an insult to the people who are principled in their care and respect for evidence so that they can be as honest and accurate as possible in their relationship to reality.

All of which is why I’m grateful to Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Seminary. Mohler is the one denier I know of who owns up to his denialism. Heck, he brags about it.

Mohler makes no claims to being a “skeptic” about evolution or the rest of science. He simply, forthrightly rejects it. He denies it as contrary to his preferred interpretation of the Bible. And he doesn’t deny that he’s a denier.

That doesn’t make Mohler’s denialism any more credible or honest than any other form of denialism, but it’s refreshing to encounter one denier who is at least honest about his dishonesty.

Evangelicals Question the Existence of Adam and Eve” NPR’s Barbara Bradley Hagerty reports, citing several devout evangelical scientists who say that the biblical story of the Garden of Eden should not be regarded as a historical account.

Asked how likely it is that we all descended from Adam and Eve, Dennis Venema, a biologist at Trinity Western University, replies: “That would be against all the genomic evidence that we’ve assembled over the last 20 years, so not likely at all.”

Venema says there is no way we can be traced back to a single couple. He says with the mapping of the human genome, it’s clear that modern humans emerged from other primates as a large population — long before the Genesis time frame of a few thousand years ago. And given the genetic variation of people today, he says scientists can’t get that population size below 10,000 people at any time in our evolutionary history.

To get down to just two ancestors, Venema says, “You would have to postulate that there’s been this absolutely astronomical mutation rate that has produced all these new variants in an incredibly short period of time. Those types of mutation rates are just not possible. It would mutate us out of existence.”

Al Mohler is having none of that. It’s not that he’s skeptical of “all the genomic evidence that we’ve assembled over the last 20 years,” it’s just that he doesn’t care that it exists and thus prefers to pretend it doesn’t.

“This stuff is unavoidable,” says Dan Harlow at Calvin College. “Evangelicals have to either face up to it or they have to stick their head in the sand. And if they do that, they will lose whatever intellectual currency or respectability they have.”

“If so, that’s simply the price we’ll have to pay,” says Southern Baptist seminary’s Albert Mohler. “The moment you say ‘We have to abandon this theology in order to have the respect of the world,’ you end up with neither biblical orthodoxy nor the respect of the world.”

Mohler likes to focus on “the respect of the world” because that’s easier than talking about his towering disrespect for the world. God so loved the world. Al Mohler doesn’t even like to look at it, let alone study it, learn from it or learn about it.

If I hadn’t been reading Mohler’s writing for years, I might suspect that Bradley Hagerty was unfairly cherry-picking a quote that would make him seem ridiculously self-congratulatory and egomaniacal. But that’s actually a restrained and relatively humble statement there from Mohler, whose central theme whenever discussing his rejection of science is that his denialism is a noble act of great courage — that he is bravely making himself a martyr by boldly preferring unreality to evidence, fact and truth. If a brave defense of his peculiar notion of “biblical orthodoxy” demands that he turn his back on the facts as we know them to be, then very well, Al Mohler, Bold Champion of “Biblical Orthodoxy,” will deny whatever truth needs to be denied. Al Mohler, Brave Protector of Mohlerian Mohlerianity, will happily deny that which is undeniable.

That might make him a self-aggrandizing delusional blowhard, but at least he doesn’t try to pretend that he’s just a “skeptic.”

I want to return to this NPR story on Adam and Eve in another post, but for now let me just highlight Amy Julie Becker’s excellent response, which begins:

I read the Bible literally. Which is why I don’t believe in an historical Adam and Eve. …

We need to get some English majors involved in this debate. Reading Genesis literally does not necessitate an historical Adam and Eve. It does necessitate respect for the text itself. It requires us to let the text tell us how to read it.

Yes. Mohler and the others demanding a historical Adam and Eve aren’t just denying and abusing science, they’re also denying and abusing the Bible. They are rejecting what the text says about itself, imposing on it a reading that it does not readily allow.

  • Joshua

    As I understand it, Augustine’s doctrine of original sin is quite commonly believed across most of the western church – Catholics, Protestants, not just fundamentalism. I’m sure most people update it a bit, since theology has marched on and some of the steps in his reasoning seem to suffer from bad translation into Latin and prescientifc ideas of inheritance that seem silly to most of us now, but the basic idea frequently still holds.

    I don’t really know how theologians who don’t take the story literally adapt the doctrine to fit. My lecturer on the subject admitted the difficulty, but I can’t remember what he said after that, and don’t know what anyone else may have said.

  • Rikalous

    When fundies deny evolution in the face of the evidence they call God a
    liar. Words can be figurative and we know from the Gospels that our God
    is fond of using allegory. Empirical evidence is something else.

    Or as someone put it: “Humans wrote the Bible; God wrote the rocks.”http://www.echoschildren.org/CDlyrics/WORDGOD.HTML

  • Rikalous

    When fundies deny evolution in the face of the evidence they call God a
    liar. Words can be figurative and we know from the Gospels that our God
    is fond of using allegory. Empirical evidence is something else.

    Or as someone put it: “Humans wrote the Bible; God wrote the rocks.”http://www.echoschildren.org/CDlyrics/WORDGOD.HTML

  • Rikalous

    And also why snakes don’t have legs.  That’s critical too.  Although it
    always seemed like a dick move for God to curse an entire suborder just
    because Satan happened to choose a member of that group for
    his disguise.  If A&E had been tempted by a panda bear, then today
    you could go to China and see thousands of fuzzy white-and-black legless
    balls rolling from place to place, and it’d be the most adorable thing
    ever.

    Now we couldn’t, because the silly buggers would have got themselves extinct even faster.

  • Rikalous

    And also why snakes don’t have legs.  That’s critical too.  Although it
    always seemed like a dick move for God to curse an entire suborder just
    because Satan happened to choose a member of that group for
    his disguise.  If A&E had been tempted by a panda bear, then today
    you could go to China and see thousands of fuzzy white-and-black legless
    balls rolling from place to place, and it’d be the most adorable thing
    ever.

    Now we couldn’t, because the silly buggers would have got themselves extinct even faster.

  • P J Evans

     I actually ran into a mid-19th century description of someone who was either gay or bi:
    Cleveland was hush! hush!  Twas said he hadn’t slept with his wife for fourteen years.

  • P J Evans

     I actually ran into a mid-19th century description of someone who was either gay or bi:
    Cleveland was hush! hush!  Twas said he hadn’t slept with his wife for fourteen years.

  • Lunch Meat

    I don’t really know how theologians who don’t take the story literally adapt the doctrine to fit. My lecturer on the subject admitted the difficulty, but I can’t remember what he said after that, and don’t know what anyone else may have said.

    Paul uses the example of Adam in Romans, comparing Adam to Jesus. He says, basically, that just as sin and death came to humanity through one man, salvation and life also came through one man. Because of one man’s disobedience, all of humanity, and the earth itself, were changed; because of one man’s sacrifice, all of humanity and the earth itself have been redeemed. My interpretation is that just like we don’t all have to be descended from Jesus to receive the benefits of salvation, we don’t all have to be descended directly from Adam to receive the consequences of (and the tendency to) sin. And just as Jesus’ death affected those who were alive at the same time as well as those who came after, Adam’s sin affected the rest of the human community alive at that time, as well as those who came after.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    Original sin is definitely not a universal concept in Christianity.

  • Anonymous

    Okay, I’m sort of following you. But not quite. Without “the fall”, what’s the explanation for the general cruddiness of mankind, if we were created by God? I’ve always heard the interpretation of the story as Eve being tricked by Satan and sin being a result of that. But I’m not religious so what I know is mostly what I’ve gleaned from, um, pop culture, I guess.  

  • Anonymous

    It didn’t seem like it could be, with all the different ways of interpreting things, but it’s a concept that I’ve heard over and over, so I wasn’t sure. Thanks. I realize original sin isn’t really the topic of the post, but I was confused.

  • http://twitter.com/Rhysdux Rhysdux

    Chris the cynic:

    I think it’s the problem of not having a rhyming name. You could say, “God created Adam and Eve, not Madam and Eve,” but that’s still a title rather than a name.

    Also, I’ve run into quite a lot of people in my life–in fact, many of them were my high school teachers–who didn’t believe that lesbianism was anything more than a smear leveled at intelligent women. I recall at least three who told me quite earnestly that women who were reported to have been lesbians (like Sappho) couldn’t POSSIBLY have had women as lovers, because two women didn’t have the right…equipment. 

    Yes, they were dead serious.

  • http://twitter.com/Rhysdux Rhysdux

    Cathy W:

    There are a couple of stories about Cain’s wife, actually.

    According to the Midrash, Cain had a twin sister and Abel was one of triplets (the other two were girls). Cain married his twin and Abel married one of his sisters. The third sister, not the sacrifice to God, was the cause of the fatal quarrel: Cain used the eternal big brother argument of, “I should have this ’cause I’m the oldest,” while Abel was all, “Yeah, but she was born with ME.”

    The Muslim version says that Cain was
    born with a twin sister who was named Aclima, and Abel with a twin
    sister named Jumella
    . Abel wanted to marry Cain’s twin while Cain married his. Cain didn’t like that idea. The two of them sacrificed to God to see who would get to marry Aclima. God rejected Cain’s sacrifice as a way of saying, “At least marry a girl from a different litter!” Cain got pissed off, killed Abel, then ran off with Aclima. Jumella  eventually ended up marrying Seth, according to this tradition.

  • http://scyllacat.livejournal.com Scylla Kat

    This is a delightful thread.  

    Congrats to Evilkate and fiancee.I’m still laughing at the legless pandas and the thought of a mere talking snake.

    And everyone has covered any points I had, so there’s a liberal sprinkling of Like through here.

  • Matri

    That all still doesn’t change the fact that they’re just retconning their holy books to fit their narrow interpretations.

  • Matri

    That all still doesn’t change the fact that they’re just retconning their holy books to fit their narrow interpretations.

  • Matthew Funke

    Some people go one step beyond the mere denialism that Fred and Dr. Plait described and attempt to make their ridiculous standard of proof evidence that anyone in the audience can use to claim that the Big Bad Thing can’t possibly be true.  I’m thinking specifically of challenges like Kent Hovind’s “prove evolution to me to my satisfaction and win a big pile of cash” challenge.

    Of course, once you look at the terms of the challenge, you realize some key things.  First, that the challenger has no idea what their philosophical opponent is claiming.  To win Kent’s prize, you needed to demonstrate that, for example, “Early life forms learned to reproduce themselves” and that “Time, space, and matter came into existence by themselves” — neither of which are things that the Modern Synthesis of Evolution even addresses.  Second, you have to prove it to the challenger — and, as noted countless times, people can be remarkably stubborn with respect to simple things like evidence and logic.  You can’t convince someone who won’t be convinced(*).

    Before anyone mentions the JREF’s million-dollar prize for evidence of paranormal activity, I should note that the JREF hires a third party to act as moderator.  Both the claimant and the JREF determine what kind of evidence will be permissible.  You don’t have to prove your claims to someone who won’t be swayed; all you have to do is produce evidence that you agree beforehand should be producible to a third party.

    In my experience, when you ask a dyed-in-the-wool creationist what kind of evidence would cause them to reconsider their point of view, they have one of three responses: (1) production of something that evolution never claims would exist (e.g., a mermaid — no, seriously, I got that once!); (2) some kind of supernatural event that cannot be produced on demand (God would have to come down and tell them that they’ve got the Bible wrong); or (3) no evidence at all would cause them to reconsider.

    (*) And that, in a nutshell, is exactly why science exists.  People are obscenely good at coming up with weird explanations for things, or cockamamie excuses for why you should still take their claims seriously in light of evidence or more parsimonious explanations.  There needs to be a way to test empirical claims systematically, to weed out the errors and keep what still appears to be true even after our best efforts to prove it wrong.  That’s science.

  • Anonymous

    So we’re made in God’s image? Behold!!

    uggc://zrqvn.cubgbohpxrg.pbz/vzntr/Fnvybe%20Ohoon/geryvbe/cbfgre70008354.wct

    ROT13′d because, seriously! Also, brain bleach from the stall by the exit, $40 per
    gallon.

    and

    I dunno man, that thing is just wrong!

    Sorry, I at least don’t appreciate the fat-shaming and othering in your comments.

    Dude, you’re being a dick. Knock it off.

  • Anonymous

    This is rather fascinating.  I’d been reading the story of Cain as the conflict within a civilization going from hunter-gatherers to settled agriculture, but this is an interesting take as well.  It’s also interesting that the two versions have very different morals.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    I like the “Compromise Theory” proposed in Science Made Stupid:  Adam and Eve were created by God, and their sons married women who evolved from hominids via natural selection.

  • Anonymous

    The antagonism between agriculturalists and pastoralists is actually a very strong theme in Genesis (Abraham vs. the Cities of the Plain, Jacob vs. the Canaanites and Hebrews vs. Egyptians are prominent examples).

  • Pthalo

    Congrats to Evilkate and fiancee

    Thank you. I’m lucky to be marrying her :D

  • Evilkate

    Noooo – I’m the lucky one. You can be ucky, I’ll be luckiest :D

  • Hawker Hurricane

    I always liked the “Two creation stories, two creations”.  Since 1st and 2nd Genesis have many contradictions with each other, each is a seperate creation event.  Cain, descended from A+E (2nd Genesis) married a woman descended from humans from 1st creation (1st Genesis).

  • Anonymous

    A quite belated congratulations to EvilKate and Pthalo!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Lipton/100001171828568 Jeff Lipton

    A quite belated congratulations to EvilKate and Pthalo!  — from me too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Lipton/100001171828568 Jeff Lipton

    What about “the Land of Nod”?  It has a population specifically enjoined from killing Cain (is “Killing Cain” a band name?).  Where did these people come from.

    And who did Seth marry?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Lipton/100001171828568 Jeff Lipton

    Answered above — duh!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Lipton/100001171828568 Jeff Lipton

    Answered above — duh!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    I always liked the “Two creation stories, two creations”.  Since 1st and
    2nd Genesis have many contradictions with each other, each is a
    seperate creation event.  Cain, descended from A+E (2nd Genesis) married
    a woman descended from humans from 1st creation (1st Genesis).

    There are in lot of interesting ideas about that in Documentary Hypothesis. Of course, it operates on the idea that the Pentateuch was written by humans rather than dictated to Moses, so it’s obviously a product of Ebil Intellectualism.

  • Anonymous

    I always liked the “Two creation stories, two creations”.  Since 1st and
    2nd Genesis have many contradictions with each other, each is a
    seperate creation event.  Cain, descended from A+E (2nd Genesis) married
    a woman descended from humans from 1st creation (1st Genesis).

    What’s wrong with the Lilith story? Adam and Lilith were created simultaneously, then Adam decided he was meant to rule over Lilith, or alternately, Lilith decided she was sick of missionary position, and the other one objected, and Lilith stormed out of Eden, and God created Eve to be more subservient…and that’d be what’s wrong with it. Lilith remains awesome, though.

  • Amaryllis

    I always liked the “Two creation stories, two creations”.  Since 1st and
    2nd Genesis have many contradictions with each other, each is a
    seperate creation event. 

    If I recall my catechism classes correctly, one reason to regard the two stories as two different ways of looking at the same event, was to underline the fact that all human beings share a common descent– are the same family. No one gets to say that their ancestors were a separate creation, an earlier creation, a more later, perfected creation; we’re all the same. The answer to “who is my brother, or sister?” is “All of us.”

    In an earlier thread, I was reminded of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, and now I’m reminded again. In that novel Pi tells two stories about his life, one with animals behaving as animals will, with no blame to them; and one with people behaving very badly indeed. And he asks the listener, “Which do you prefer, the story with animals or the story without animals?”

    Mohler and his ilk prefer the story without animals. They prefer the story in which humans with no kinship at all to other animals freely choose evil and bring death upon themselves, to a story in which humans inherit their physical nature with all its capabilities and susceptibilities from the animal “base class,” so to speak.

    But really, the story with animals in it is a much better story. It’s got many more possibilities in it.

  • Dan Audy

    If I recall my catechism classes correctly, one reason to regard the two
    stories as two different ways of looking at the same event, was to
    underline the fact that all human beings share a common descent– are
    the same family. No one gets to say that their ancestors were a separate
    creation, an earlier creation, a more later, perfected creation; we’re
    all the same. The answer to “who is my brother, or sister?” is “All of
    us.”

    That is a very important detail that I feel doesn’t get the proper historical context necessary.  Today we still have significant tribalism but our ‘tribes’ are greatly expanded in size and breadth.  In an era without a reliable government providing many basic services there was no social safety net so you relied on your family to care for the infirm and elderly, without a fair legal system you relied on your family to take revenge against the family of someone who wronged or killed you, and making business deals outside family was extremely risky.  By declaring everyone to be your brother or sister, Jesus was bringing everyone into the trusted inner circle which was HUGE for the day when much of human rights would be scoffed at.

  • Lunch Meat

    Without “the fall”, what’s the explanation for the general cruddiness of mankind, if we were created by God? I’ve always heard the interpretation of the story as Eve being tricked by Satan and sin being a result of that.

    Oh, I understand what you’re asking now. “The fall” is actually a different doctrine from “original sin”, and is probably much more common in Christianity. And there are some ideas about the Fall which could correspond to non-literal interpretations of Genesis; for instance, there’s the scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey (I think? Or is it a different one?) with the aliens helping the apes evolve further. So you could say God allowed humanity to evolve to a certain point, and then came down and revealed Godself to them, breathing life into them and making a kind of proto-covenant, with very simple rules (whether it was a literal fruit, or just “be nice to each other”), and God helped them create a community in which they had everything they needed and did not need to fight. The fall would be them choosing to fight and compete anyway.

    That’s my unstudied, untested attempt at a symbolic interpretation of Genesis that agrees with science, anyway.

  • Nomuse

    Apropos of that, I’ve a technical question. 

    Many of the Creationist arguments about Noah’s Ark make a big deal about the Pact.  As in, there were no meat-eaters, and probably no other inconvenient things like parasites until after the Ark had safely landed.  Basically, t. rex and fluffy bunnies and humans were all one big happy family, and they kept those teeth and claws safely engaged in cracking coconuts all the way from the expulsion from the Garden until the water drained from the Flood.

    How does this work, with the Fall being the whole out-of-the-garden thing?  Does it take 2,000 years for the result of Adam’s sin to percolate down to wolves and liver flukes?  

  • Amaryllis

    Me, last night: “a more later creation”? I must have been more tired than I thought.

    On another site last night, I was waxing condescending about a particular blogger’s writing skills. Does that internet law about pots & kettles apply even across blog universes?

    @Dan:disqus Audy: you’re right about context, of course. The creation story predates Jesus by a few thousand years, and the ancient Israelites knew a thing or two about tribalism, I believe. Still, they could come up with a story in which everyone is “The People.” Maybe not “God’s Chosen People,” but still his creation.

    I don’t know enough about Biblical sources to say, and it may be that the two creation stories are modifications of myths in which Yahweh did create his people separately, and Cain’s in-laws in the Land of Nod were the children of some other god. Still, by the time we know it, the story had been modified enough to provide a basis for “we’re all in this together.” In the same boat, so to speak. Or Ark.

    @Nomuse:disqus : Do the YECs really say that there were no predator animals before the flood? It sounds unlikely to me! After all, “God made the animals according to their kinds,” and the “kind” of some of them is to be carnivorous. Are they claiming that God modified his Creation? That seems to leave a door open, doesn’t it…

    Anyway, I prefer to regard the Noah story as a tale about good zookeeping.

    Since this is turning into the Life of Pi thread (at least for me; once you see a relationship you go on seeing it)…anyway, Pi survives for months lost at sea in a lifeboat, in the company of a Bengal tiger, by a combination of good luck and good zookeeping. Now you can regard this tall tale as a straight-up adventure story, or you can imbue it with all sorts of metaphorical meanings– but either way, it’s a better story when the tiger is allowed to be a tiger, not a vegetarian pussycat.

  • http://twitter.com/Rhysdux Rhysdux

    EllieMurasaki:

    Did you ever read about Adam having three wives?

    According to the Midrash, after Lilith left, God created another woman for Adam. She never had a name, poor thing. (I’ve always thought of her as Miriam, because her fate was a bitter one.)

    Adam saw her being  created, with all the organs and muscles and things being put into her. “She was full of secretions and blood,” says the Midrash.

    And Adam wouldn’t touch her. He was creeped out by all the squishy stuff inside her.

    What happened to her–well, stories differ. Some say that God destroyed her, which I do NOT like. Other versions say that God allowed her to leave the Garden alone.

    So when God created Eve, says the story, He put Adam to sleep so that he wouldn’t see all the gooshy parts going into this third woman and get grossed out again.

    Neil Gaiman put a version of this into the Sandman series, but yeah, it really is based on rabbinical commentaries on Genesis.

  • http://twitter.com/Rhysdux Rhysdux

    EllieMurasaki:

    Did you ever read about Adam having three wives?

    According to the Midrash, after Lilith left, God created another woman for Adam. She never had a name, poor thing. (I’ve always thought of her as Miriam, because her fate was a bitter one.)

    Adam saw her being  created, with all the organs and muscles and things being put into her. “She was full of secretions and blood,” says the Midrash.

    And Adam wouldn’t touch her. He was creeped out by all the squishy stuff inside her.

    What happened to her–well, stories differ. Some say that God destroyed her, which I do NOT like. Other versions say that God allowed her to leave the Garden alone.

    So when God created Eve, says the story, He put Adam to sleep so that he wouldn’t see all the gooshy parts going into this third woman and get grossed out again.

    Neil Gaiman put a version of this into the Sandman series, but yeah, it really is based on rabbinical commentaries on Genesis.

  • Matthew Funke

    Nomuse: How does this work, with the Fall being the whole out-of-the-garden thing?  Does it take 2,000 years for the result of Adam’s sin to percolate down to wolves and liver flukes?

    Don’t ask me.  These are the same people who think that the bombardier beetle’s defense system is extraordinarily good evidence for optimal, divine design.  One might easily ask, since this is supposed to be a defense system, what this design was for when all potential predators were created vegetarian.

    (It’s more complicated than that, of course; many bombardier beetles are themselves predatory.)

    Rather than being one of the best evidences of optimal, divine design, I take the bombardier beetle as one of the best evidences that creationists don’t do their homework.  Some species have fully-formed wings under fused carapaces, giving support to common descent and arguing rather powerfully against this kind of design.  And the actual line — popularized by Duane Gish, and repeated endlessly by the gullible faithful — that bombardier beetles would explode if they didn’t mix their defensive chemicals just right, is one that can easily be tested, since the chemicals in question are easy to obtain (hydrogen peroxide from a pharmacy, and hydroquinone from a camera store).

    The whole problem being, of course, that creationists aren’t the slightest bit interested in testing their “knowledge”.  So I wouldn’t expect any kind of thoughtful or well-corroborated answer to when Adam’s evil managed to percolate properly through the rest of biology.

  • JH

    In the very unlikely event you would really be Al Mohler, no. You really do lack scientific understanding.

  • GentlemanScholar

     I am a former student of Dr. Mohler.  And YOU, clearly, are not Dr. Mohler.


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