Preaching Against Evolution in Evangelical Churches Creates Atheists

First video blog I’ve made in a couple years… with the exception of the Compassion Water Video. I hope the fact that it is only 3 mins and ask a direct question keeps you interested :-)

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  • Galadriel

    A religion that insists we are “sinners” sets people up for failure anyway.  I left the conservative, evangelical church because I became impatient with people praying about how “bad” they are, yet do nothing about that “badness”.  So everyone is set up to be bad if they question the “conventional wisdom” as defined by the church leadership.  Imagine how that sits with kids who are trying to form their identities, discovering the inequities between truths.  (BTW, try crumbled goat cheese instead of feta.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.oller Stephen Oller

    I used to struggle against evolution and try my best to be a creationist, then I noticed a particular member of my church at the time who was a staunch creationist.  What struck me as odd was that he was constantly portraying evolution as the enemy of Christianity.  That seemed, and still seems, incorrect to me.  It occurred to me then that evolution is not the enemy of all Christians.  Maybe sin is that enemy, or maybe the devil is.   But putting such an emphasis on evolution is just theologically ridiculous.  I think it was atheists that pushed evangelicals to adopts such a strong anti-evolutionary stance.  They’re the ones who say we can’t believe in God because evolution is true.  Perhaps for some people the theory of evolution really is enough to drive them to unbelief, but I don’t think it HAS to be that way.

    Thanks for this post.  I’ve silently struggled against/with evolution for a while and it’s good to finally have someone publicly announce this question.

  • http://www.missional.ca/ Jamie Arpin-Ricci

    As a teen, I became very interested in “Creation Science”, buying all the books and even attending a huge conference where I heard (in awe) such voices as Ken Hamm & John Morris.  I was convinced it was true- and why not?  These teachings & the men who put them forward were presented to me as not only trustworthy, but as singularly authoritative.

    However, it was not until much later that I began to realize that “Creation Science” was not, strictly speaking, science at all.  I began to see their methods & agendas and, while they held them with sincerity and conviction, they were not honest.

    Interestingly, this became a blockade for my faith (though I never left the faith), NOT because science had upset my belief system, but rather because those I trusted would so blindly push something that was so unhelpful to my faith.  Further, that it became a litmus test for faithfulness also turned me off.

    I am grateful that, in all the voices that influenced me, my parents allowed me to explore
    this without ever insisting that this was the only way to see things. 
    They allowed me to explore alternate views as well.  Today I see the creation text as something much more powerful and beautiful than simply a verbatim record of God making stuff.  Instead I see something incredible about the nature of God and His intention for us and all of creation.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.oller Stephen Oller

      “Interestingly, this became a blockade for my faith (though I never left
      the faith), NOT because science had upset my belief system, but rather
      because those I trusted would so blindly push something that was so
      unhelpful to my faith.  Further, that it became a litmus test for
      faithfulness also turned me off.”

      I second the above quoted text because it applies to myself as well.  You worded that better than I could.

      • Richard D. Peachey

        Stephen, this is for both you and Jamie: Your mistake was to have “trusted” in man. Creationists cannot be “trusted,” nor can evolutionists be “trusted.” See Jesus’ approach in John 2:24. Only God is worthy of our trust. (And he tells us very clearly how he created, in Genesis 1 and 2. See Exodus 20:11 as well.)

        • Anonymous

          I know, from my reading of the bible, that God uses parables and symbolism to more effectively convey fundamental theological truths. I have looked at some the evidence and arguments, and from all I have
          seen, the evidence supports the idea that the world is old, and has
          developed slowly. I trust, from my experience with God, that He is neither a liar nor a viciously manipulative ass, and therefor I doubt that He would create a world filled with deliberately misleading evidence just to screw with people. This is why I lean towards theistic evolution. The creation narrative and the story of Jesus found in the Gospels have very different context and framing, and very different styles. I can see them as
          different kinds of stories within a set of collected writings about God and His people, without
          invalidating either one. I could be wrong, but there is a process of reasoning based on experience with God and His creation that led me to that conclusion.

          I also know, from my reading of the bible, that God has much bigger problems with my life than my opinion on how the world was created. I know that petty anger, lack of empathy, failure to act for justice, causing discord withing the church, lying (or speaking the strict truth with dishonest intent),  and arrogance are all likely to come between me and God than the Theory of Evolution. If I trust that Jesus can bridge that gap, I must also trust that he can get over my opinion on evolution should I happen to be wrong.

          It is clear that you feel very strongly about this. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the reason is that you believe that to deny the literal inerrancy of the creation passages in Genesis is to deny the validity of the entire Bible. If that is the case, then I am satisfied if you continue to believe that the creation story happened factually and literally as described in Genesis. It is more important that your faith in Christ and in the Gospel remain strong than that you change your mind about evolution. But I do want you to understand that when someone says being pushed into the literal creation narrative hurt their faith, that’s not an invitation to try to damage their faith again by repeating the process, even if you still think they’re wrong.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            I certainly do appreciate your attempt to be sensitive to where I’m coming from, and your concern for others, and your desire to keep things in balance as we debate issues.

            I do, however, think it appropriate and even necessary to question what sort of “faith” a person has that will be imperiled by a serious, forthright discussion of what the Bible appears to be plainly saying.

            Faith in Christ is key, indeed. But who is Christ? He is the Master Teacher who strongly affirmed Genesis and the rest of Scripture during his ministry on Earth. He is the Saviour from sin and the curse which trace back to the Garden of Eden. He is the Creator himself who knows how he created. The early chapters of Genesis provide the historical and theological foundation for the rest of Scripture. Furthermore, anyone who enters their views on a blog is asking to interact with others, including others who take a different view and wish to challenge them to take the Bible more seriously.

            For sure, all of us stand in need of more grace in our speaking. Your prayers for me will be welcome.

            Sincerely.

          • Sandy

            “I do, however, think it appropriate and even necessary to question what sort of “faith” a person has that will be imperiled by a serious, forthright discussion of what the Bible appears to be plainly saying.” I have thought myself to be a person with pretty strong faith in the past. This past year I felt led to delve more into the topic of homosexuality (due to realizing I have an extra dose of love for them as a group in general, and feeling like there was a reason for that). And just unpacking that one subject shook up my whole world, and definitely shook my faith. It was one of the hardest years of my life. It caused me to question everything, and you might think that means I had weak faith-maybe I did. Maybe weak faith is what happens when you grow up hearing certain things, and just take them as truth without question, even when questions make sense. And maybe strong faith is what happens when we ask those questions, and wrestle with God a little. The Bible is not easy. If it were, we would not have devoted, faithful scholars who have studied it for years camping at either extreme (and every place in the middle) on every subject you can think of. I agree with the person above who said that it’s frustrating and hurtful when things like this become a “litmus test” for true Christianity. Opposing evolution, believing that gay people are damned, being a republican….(or supporting evolution, not thinking the term “gay Christian” is an oxymoron, being a democrat, independent, or even not voting!) do not make me a Christian. What makes me a Christian is that I believe God sent Jesus to make a way for me and everyone else, and I follow Him.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            It’s interesting how often the issue of homosexuality has come up on this blog on evolution/creation.

            Homosexual behaviour is not explicitly forbidden until Leviticus 18:22, but the prohibition clearly connects with the creation account in Genesis. It was God who invented sex and marriage, and his intention was that the union be heterosexual and life-long.

            Scholars can produce lots of reasons for the views they want to market, but the Bible is clear from beginning to end: homosexual sex opposes God’s plan, and God is going to punish sin. Of course, those who repent of homosexual behaviour (and of other sins too) are welcomed into the family of God and will share with the rest of us sinners in the eternal kingdom. But woe to those who call evil good, and good evil (Isaiah 5:20).

            Richard Dawkins, by the way, would likely agree with the above: he described God as “homophobic” (among many other pejoratives) in The God Delusion.

  • http://OurRabbiJesus.com/ Lois Tverberg

    I used to teach an Old Testament overview class for adults at my church. In the first or second session, the group would barely be getting to know each other when these debates about Genesis would come up. If someone in the class decided to blurt out a strong opinion, a bunch of people would drop out by the next week. Of course, the people who’d quit coming were the ones with questions and little experience.

    I have to say, this is a great way to discourage people from Bible study.

    • Anonymous

      Jesus had the same problem.  “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” John  6:66.  We don’t judge truth as to whether people accept it or not. Some people are not ready to accept the truth. We are called to speak the truth in love.

  • Chadmiller

    Here is a link from Dennis Lamoure    a Prof from St. Joe’s Edmonton Alberta, very compelling stuff – his jounrey to being a Evoluationary creationist

    http://www.ualberta.ca/~dlamoure/3_story/index.html

  • http://twitter.com/Danny_Bermudez Danny Bermudez

    I feel like debating creation vs evolution is a big distraction to the message of Christ on the cross. It’s like trying to get people to believe in God by having them buy into your understanding of the gift of tongues. There are things our human, finite minds will never understand about God and God’s ways during this lifetime. Whether creation all happened in one day, one week, or seven years, I really don’t think it’s worth losing people along the way because they won’t buy into our interpretation.

    “In the beginning, God…”, that’s good enough for me.

    • Richard D. Peachey

      “In the beginning, God…” is “good enough” for you, Danny? So you jettison the rest of  Genesis? Or the rest of the first eleven chapters? Or the rest of the first two chapters? In any case, God had a lot more to say about how things began than just Genesis 1:1. The first verse may be where you want to stop, but that’s not where God stopped. Surely you don’t think you’re wiser than God?

      And why do you refer to the obvious, plain, straightforward reading (including the repeated word “day” along with “morning and evening” and ordinal numeration) as an “interpretation”?

      • jeff taylor

        Because it’s plain foolish to read 4000 year old texts as a literal, factual blow-by-blow account of  events.  For starters, that is a modernist, western way of reading. Not saying that’s right or wrong, just wholly inapplicable to ancient middle eastern way of thinking. It is allegory. Period. Genesis is no more literal that the Epic of Gilgamesh.

        • Richard D. Peachey

          Well, Jeff, there are certainly some parts of the Old Testament that purport to be historical in the sense of being sequences of events. Are none of them to be read as an actual account of events? Is the whole Bible completely non-historical? (New Testament too?) Did ancient near Eastern peoples really have no interest whatsoever in actual history?

          If any part of the Bible is legitimately read as historical, then you have to provide a specific reason or reasons why Genesis (which certainly seems to be offering an account of sequentially occurring events) must be read as some type of literature other than straightforward historical narrative.

          You can’t just label it “allegory” because you don’t prefer what it teaches. What is your contextual justification for deciding on that particular genre? (“Period” is not an argument. And your adjectives “foolish,” “modernist,” and “western” constitute nothing more than a vacuous ad hominem attack.)

      • Jeremypitcock

        Well, Richard, I suggest you look at the rest of those verses a bit more carefully. Since the Sun is not created until the 4th day of Genesis, and most people accept that a literal “morning” and “evening” are caused by the rotation of the earth relative to the Sun, perhaps a symbolic interpretation is the only possible one. There is also a talking snake in Chapter 2 (which nearly every evangelical I know thinks is a symbol for Satan, despite no literal reason to believe so from the text itself) and some other common literary devices such as trees with fruit that, when you eat it, cause you to have knowledge of good and evil/eternal life that would indicate allegory and/or symbolism.  And, of course, length of time is probably the most common symbolic device in the Bible. Nobody thinks that the “weeks” in Daniel are literal weeks, and the numbers 40 and 7 appear over and over again throughout the Bible. Consider the blatant numeric symbolism found in  Mark 8:16-21, and Jesus’ direct command in those verses to understand the symbolism. Given all the other symbolic interpretations found and accepted in the Bible, is it really so beyond belief that God would use symbolism and allegory to explain the unfathomable act of creation to desert nomads who would have been lucky to understand multiplication?

        • Richard D. Peachey

          Hi, Jeremy. Genesis is certainly worth looking at carefully, and I have done that. In fact, I have memorized chapters 1 and 2 in the original Hebrew.

          Regarding the creation of the Sun on the fourth day: In order to have a day/night cycle (with morning and evening), you need a rotating planet and a directional light source. God created light on Day One (Genesis 1:3), and the “separation” of light from darkness indicates that the light was directional. That God is able to produce light on Earth apart from the Sun is shown in such texts as Exodus 10:23; 40:34; Acts 9:3; Revelation 21:23. (Conversely, God can also make it dark despite the Sun’s presence, as in Exodus 10:22; Matthew 27:45.) The Bible disagrees with current secular cosmology, but there is no internal consistency in the Genesis cosmology. The creation of the Sun on Day Four is indeed a serious problem for day/age compromisers like Hugh Ross (because he wants the Sun in place prior to formation of the Earth), but not for straight-up creationists.

          John Calvin’s comment on Genesis 1:3 is noteworthy: “It did not, however, happen from inconsideration or by accident, that the light preceded the sun and the moon. To nothing are we more prone than to tie down the power of God to those instruments the agency of which he employs. The sun and moon supply us with light: And, according to our notions we so include this power to give light in them, that if they were taken away from the world, it would seem impossible for any light to remain. Therefore the Lord, by the very order of the creation, bears witness that he holds in his hand the light, which he is able to impart to us without the sun and moon.”

          Regarding the talking snake, Bible-believing evangelicals do not see this as “symbolic” of Satan. They see Genesis 3:1-5 as a historical occurrence of Satan either appearing in reptilian form or using a created animal to accomplish his evil purpose. This understanding is in line with such passages as John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:3 (cf. 1 Thessalonians 3:5); 1 John 3:8; Revelation 12:9; 20:2. That spiritual beings can invade the bodies of animals is shown in Mark 5:13. Talking animals may or may not have been typical in the Garden of Eden (C. S. Lewis’s Narnia series seems to suppose that they were), but there is a Scriptural incident of an animal being empowered by God to talk (Numbers 22:28), and Satan does possess great supernatural abilities (Revelation 13:2-4,11-15).

          Regarding the concept that the tree of life and the numbered days are “symbolic,” you appear to be assuming (for worldview reasons?) what actually needs to be demonstrated. If you are interested, I have developed in some detail an argument why the “days” must be understood as normal (24-hour) days. The two additional articles referenced at the end of the linked page are worth considering as well. (http://www.creationbc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=82&Itemid=62)

  • Jordan Bradford

    I believe when God said, “Let there be light,” that was the Big Bang. Light is more than what we see. Visible light is the small range of wavelengths of energy that our eyes and brain interpret as light, but there’s infrared light, ultraviolet light, x-rays, gamma rays, radio, and everything else in the electromagnetic spectrum. The simple-sounding statement “Let there be light” carries with it a host of physics. The laws of thermodynamics are wrapped up in there. Einstein’s theory of special relativity (E=mc^2) that states energy and mass are the same thing with a proportional relationship — that’s part of “let there be light.” God set the universe into motion in that one statement.

    After the earth was formed God said, “Let the earth bring forth….” which sounds to me like God granted the earth itself some of his power of creation. That’s how I think evolution fits into the biblical creation story.

    But I also believe God did literally form Adam from the dust of the earth and breathe life into him, because we are the only creatures on earth that are made in the image of God. The Big Bang and emergent behavior from the laws of thermodynamics brought about the universe and the earth, the earth brought about plants and animals through evolutionary rules (which is again emergent behavior), and then God stepped in to personally create human beings — he handcrafted Adam. :)

    So in my opinion, God’s design for Adam was based on what the earth had developed through the course of evolution, but perfected and made in his image.

    I think a major problem with how the creation story is taught is that so many evangelicals forget that not everything in the Bible should be interpreted literally. We don’t take Jesus literally when he tells us to cut off our hands or pluck out our eyes if they’re causing us to sin. We interpret the Song of Solomon as a poetic metaphor of Christ’s relationship with the church; if read literally it’s a poetic description of the love between newlyweds.

    But another problem is that Christians are fighting the wrong battles. How we got here, and how we should teach in schools about how we got here, is nowhere as important as how we should live. I can certainly understand how a literal teaching of creation would cause a crisis of faith in a person, but what really drives people from the church and from God is when Christians aren’t being Christ-like. When they aren’t giving up everything for others, serving them, helping them, and even dying for them but are instead judging, condemning, and behaving like the Pharisees did.

    • Galapagospete

      “I believe when God said, ‘Let there be light,’ that was the Big Bang.”

      Except Genesis puts the creation of the Earth before the Big Bang, which is impossible as we understand cosmology.

      When you later say that “…not everything in the Bible should be interpreted literally…” you are correct.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Illumination-Church/228909823826961 Brad Danielson

    We, as humans, are so ignorant and prideful.  We think we’ve got it all figured out, but we know almost nothing about the expansive universe that God has created.  I could share a few stories with you about other things that I have seen, which really challenge perspectives on things.  This has nothing to do with your topic, so I apologize, but I do believe that God left many things as a mystery to keep us searching for His truths and allow us to put our entire FAITH in Him.  Wouldn’t it be easy if we knew everything?  Faith would not be needed, it would just be Fact.  If you’re interested, try googling the “Bray Road Beast” sometime.  People scoff at me about it, but I had 7 other witnesses with me when I encountered this thing, which was about 5 feet in front of me.  God has allowed things to evolve, and there’s a whole lot out there that we know nothing about.  Accept it and find it exciting that we are constantly searching to unravel God’s wonderful mysteries!

    • Galapagospete

      “We think we’ve got it all figured out…”

      Really? Which scientists “think we’ve got it all figured out…”?

      I don’t think any of them do, because if they did – they’d stop.

  • Cindi Knox

    I stopped going to my local Evangelical Free church before I turned 13, largely due to the bullying from other kids in Sunday School and youth group. So I got to learn evolution without the challenge from the church, until I joined the Bible Students as an adult.

    The Bible Students are young Earth creationists. This is important to them because part of their doctrine is that God’s plan for the ages is laid out in the Great Pyramid – one year per pyramid inches.  I avoided the subject.

    Over the years, I have thought about 7 day creation, a God-directed evolution, the universe as a God-planted seed. Where I’m at now: God created time. If God didn’t create time, then time is the god of God, and I don’t care for that model.

    If God is time’s creator, God works within time and outside of time, This frees God from the causality in our universe: God can change the starting parameters based on how things end. I like to think of it as the way some authors write a story – not necessarily beginning to end, but in pieces as it comes into being.

    By freeing God from living in our time, God can remain sovereign over events and events can still occur naturally.  Science tells us how the story works. Faith tells us about the author.

    • Pastorjack

      Never heard of this teaching on the pyramid. That’s way out of whack to what evangelicals believe.

  • Anonymous

    So preaching against something that is obviously true and expounding on the truth of something that is obviously not true encourages atheism? I can believe it.

    My own story is that I grew up in a church that did this very thing but I was, by nature, very interested in science. This wasn’t too much of a problem if I didn’t think about the evolution part of science which I poohpoohed loud and long as a pre-teen due mostly to the itinerant evolution-deniers that would blow through town regularly. Our church would have special “services” for these guys to lecture us on the failings of evolution and how it was opposed to God.

    Anyway, I grew up and I grew away from my faith. Evolution wasn’t directly related to my drifting away but it was a sticking point. I maintained a nominal faith and just tried to avoid thinking about evolution. It wasn’t until I decided to take a Science degree that it was forced into my face and thus unavoidable. Ironically, it was at this same time that my faith really started to have a meaning for me again.

    But the trouble was the disconnect. I became a voracious reader of both popularized and academic books on evolution. Some favourites to this day are Dawkins and Theodosius Dobzhansky. In any case my faith grew and my knowledge of evolution did too. It was my girlfriend (now wife) who was getting her masters at a Bible College that finally convinced me that perhaps these two were not incompatible. She was right of course, as she is about many things.

    I continue to grow in faith and accept that evolution is true (I detest the term “believe in evolution” because it sets up the foolish dichotomy between it and belief in the Christ). This isn’t really what you were looking for in the stories although it is an alternate outcome of the atheism due to my formative teaching.

    My take on it is that just because my ancestors were an ape-like being doesn’t take away my need for salvation and doesn’t negate Christ’s work on the cross.

    • Richard D. Peachey

      “My take on it is that just because my ancestors were an ape-like being doesn’t take away my need for salvation and doesn’t negate Christ’s work on the cross.”Actually, my friend, that is exactly what it does do. The good news of salvation through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ is rooted, historically and theologically, in the early chapters of Genesis. The origin of humans, the entrance of sin, the curse on the ground, and the first intimation of the gospel (the “protevangelium”) all appear in those chapters. If we treat Genesis as untrue (or as “profoundly true” while unhistorical), we set the gospel adrift from its moorings — like the astronaut who was tragically cut loose from his space capsule by the forces of evil in the movie You Only Live Twice. Darwinism does indeed negate the work of Christ — it is a fact that Charles Darwin himself rejected the New Testament quite early in his career.

      • Anonymous

        All I can say is I disagree. I feel that I need salvation and Christ is the sufficiency for that and I also believe what science shows me to be true. It is no impediment to my faith and indeed has increased it in many ways when I gave up trying to support the unsupportable. I’ll just have to keep trusting God in this. 

        • Richard D. Peachey

          Christianity/the Bible and evolution-laden science are in fundamental conflict. It is not logically possible to believe both at the same time. Here is a brief rundown on why I say this:
          1. IF EVOLUTION IS TRUE, THEN THE BIBLE SHOULD HAVE CLEARLY TAUGHT IT.Evolution, if true, is a wide-ranging, fundamentally important truth.Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson, in his book Consilience, explained how he left his evangelical church because its theology “made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?”If evolution is really true, the Bible should have positively and definitively taught us about this foundational reality which is (allegedly) so important for our worldview.The Bible, however, does not promote anything like evolution. When read in a straightforward fashion, Scripture teaches many things contrary to evolutionary thinking, including dozens of differences between the standard evolutionary order of events and the narrative sequence in Genesis 1.Therefore, either evolution is not true, or the Bible is not genuinely a book from an all-knowing, truth-loving God. We simply can’t have it both ways.2. IF EVOLUTION IS TRUE, THEN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST SHOULD HAVE TAUGHT IT.The Lord Jesus was a Biblical creationist, a Genesis literalist, and even a young-Earth creationist, as exhibited in Matthew 19:3-6 (see also the parallel passage, Mark 10:6-9).Jesus is the Christian’s master teacher “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). As well, Scripture teaches that Christ himself is the one who brought everything into existence (John 1:1-3,14; Colossians 1:15-16; Hebrews 1:2).It is imperative for us to hold fast to our Lord’s words “in this sinful and adulterous generation,” lest he be ashamed of us at his return (Mark 8:38).3. THE BIG PICTURE OF BIBLICAL HISTORY CONTRADICTS THE EVOLUTIONARY WORLDVIEW.Christians understand themselves to be in an existential valley (“this present evil age”) between two peaks named Paradise Created and Paradise Regained.But evolutionists see themselves as currently on an exalted mountaintop between two seas of pointlessness, the pre-Big-Bang emptiness and the final state of maximum entropy.These “big pictures” are diametrically opposed.4. ALL RECONCILIATION SCHEMES CONFLICT WITH THE BIBLE AND EACH OTHER.The various proposals by which Christians have tried to compatibilize evolution and Genesis end up saying, essentially, “God didn’t really mean what he said” and/or “God didn’t say what he really meant.” For example, the Gap theory, the Day-Age theory, the Revelation-Day theory, and the Framework Hypothesis.How damaging to the omnipotence and the integrity of God, and to the perspicuity of Scripture! (Also, how very reminiscent of the strategy used by the tempter in Genesis 3.)5. MOST TOP SCIENTISTS HAVE NO USE FOR GOD.The majority of leading scientists — i.e., those who are members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences — are either atheists or agnostics (Edward J. Larson and Larry Witham. 1998 [Jul 23]. “Leading scientists still reject God.” Nature 394:313). For biologists, the unbelieving proportion is 94.5%. Should Christians follow the teaching of such people regarding origins?

          • Anonymous

            All I can say again is I disagree and I’ll just have to trust God and not those who seek to destroy my faith. 

          • Richard D. Peachey

            My friend: If you believe in something (a rather significant something) that is completely contrary to what God has told you (as I have attempted to show you in detail), this would seem to be strong evidence that your faith is already in serious trouble.

            Actually, it’s hard to accept that you’re “trusting God” at all, since you appear to be refusing to take his Word seriously. What does “trust” mean to you?

          • vega

            … How can you possibly know what God has told RHoltslander?

          • Richard D. Peachey

            A fair question! Thank you for asking it.

            Based on RH’s earlier comments, I am treating RH as a professing Christian. Christians accept the Bible as God’s message for his people. This is evident in a text like Romans 15:4 — “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

            Other relevant texts to consider would include 2 Timothy 3:14-17; Acts 24:14; Psalm 119:97-104; Matthew 28:18-20 .

          • vega

            So you’re saying you know that God talked to the people who wrote the Bible, you know what God told those people to write, and what they wrote is what God told them to write, and nothing in their human minds possibly influenced their expression of the words of God as they transcribed it to the best of their own understanding; you know that the text did not suffer any important loss during transliteration between languages, nor does the context in which we read the text, that of our own society, cause any warping or disconnect from the context in which it was written, that of the ancient Judeans and later Imperial Rome; nor that there is any way different individuals can come away from reading the same text with a different interpretation as to what it means?

            Well, there’s one testable hypothesis in that last one- IF there is only one possible interpretation to be had from the text of the Bible, THEN all Christians who have read the Bible will agree with one another. We can set up that experiment tomorrow.

            Oh, but, Peachy- are you saying you know what God meant when he told those people to write the Bible? Did God tell you that’s what he meant? Oh that’s so exciting, do you know what God is thinking now?

            Hey Peachy what’re tomorrow’s lotto numbers gonna be!?

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Wow, my friend, you seem rather hostile. Some of the things you suggest I’m “saying,” I would agree with, but others I would not. I hold to the standard conservative evangelical teaching on the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture (which is based on what the Bible says about itself, and which is upheld by Jesus and the apostles) — a view which you appear to be deliberately attempting to caricature.

            In order for me to provide a more detailed response to you (if you want it), I would like two things from you:

            (1) Please advise me what position you are coming from (e.g., atheist, agnostic, disappointed Christian, or …). This is so that I formulate my response in light of possible common ground.

            (2) Please re-phrase your questions, if they are serious, without sarcasm or apparent hostility.

            Thank you.

          • vega

            So you’re saying you know that God talked to the people who wrote the Bible, you know what God told those people to write, and what they wrote is what God told them to write, and nothing in their human minds possibly influenced their expression of the words of God as they transcribed it to the best of their own understanding; you know that the text did not suffer any important loss during transliteration between languages, nor does the context in which we read the text, that of our own society, cause any warping or disconnect from the context in which it was written, that of the ancient Judeans and later Imperial Rome; nor that there is any way different individuals can come away from reading the same text with a different interpretation as to what it means?

            Well, there’s one testable hypothesis in that last one- IF there is only one possible interpretation to be had from the text of the Bible, THEN all Christians who have read the Bible will agree with one another. We can set up that experiment tomorrow.

            Oh, but, Peachy- are you saying you know what God meant when he told those people to write the Bible? Did God tell you that’s what he meant? Oh that’s so exciting, do you know what God is thinking now?

            Hey Peachy what’re tomorrow’s lotto numbers gonna be!?

          • vega

            I apologize for springing that on you, as well as for the double post. I had been formulating another post in reply to this and forgot that I hadn’t already made my position clear.

            As for my position, you can mark me as “hostile.” You can mark me as someone who once trusted adults to tell the truth, but found out otherwise. You can count me as someone who loves her relatives, but can’t speak openly around them about nearly anything because to disagree with them is to disagree with God. You can count me as someone who dislikes liars, but not nearly so much as she hates being made to lie.

            Mark me as well as someone who failed to realize that you could possibly see your words as anything other than fundamentally vicious. That was a failure on my part, as was the failure to restrain myself from responding in kind. As for answering my questions- don’t bother. You’ve made your position as a biblical literalist quite clear. As such, there’s really nothing you could say that I couldn’t get, and in very slightly less diluted form, from reading the book itself, and I’ve already made it quite clear to myself that I can’t be expected to interact with you in a civil way. I apologize for lashing out.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            I’m very glad to accept your apologies, dear friend. I do sympathize with your frustration. At one time I also was opposed to Christianity, and considered myself an atheist. I hope things will mellow between you and your relatives.

            Wishing you all the best, sincerely.

          • vega

            *deep breath.*
            Thank you for that. I just want to make clear, though- the explanation above was meant to address why I lashed out, not what I actually believe. I am not anti-Christian. I’m not even against Creationism. I don’t believe in them, as it happens, but I am not against people who do, as long as they’re not doing anything to hurt anyone else. I think it is possible to be factually wrong without being morally wrong. I don’t want to take away anything that gets people through their days, happy and healthy. But as some belief structures are set up, that’s not enough, that will never be enough, everyone has to believe THIS or THAT or they are automatically The Enemy, out to destroy everything that True Believers think is right and pure and good. And that’s the end of it. I can’t say to my relatives, No, I’m not against you, I don’t want to hurt anything you love, I just think different things about the universe, you don’t even need to know why because it seems to hurt you when people say it- I can’t say that, because even starting the conversation makes me the enemy, deceived, deceitful, deceiving.

            And these are the things I _feel,_ not the things I _think._ I am a very systematic thinker, I love figuring things out or following hypotheticals to their ends, I love science and science fiction and fantasy and comparative mythology, I love creating endless universes in my mind, or figuring out how things are by puzzling through little clues in front of me, I love listening to people who have spent their lives dedicated to learning about the world around them, I love playing “What If” or “How Could We Find Out,” and I can imagine a hypothetical universe in which all the conclusions people have come to based on the evidence in front of them is _wrong,_ but when someone says, “You have to live in that world and no other. This is the only truth and if you say otherwise, you are trying to destroy love and morality,” IT HURTS.

            It hurts because I can’t live in a world that small, it hurts because I don’t want to destroy things that people love even if I don’t think they’re real, it hurts because it’s not physically possible for me to absolutely believe something that I don’t think is true.

            For these reasons, I was never at any risk of becoming a Christian, and I never will be- because I was lead to believe that that was what it meant to be a Christian- accept this as truth, only this book, and only all of it, or you are the enemy of everything good and right and true.

            Oh, I knew Christians who thought otherwise, but the louder contingent seemed to be of the opinion that those weren’t the real sort of Christians. Later in life I came to the conclusion that, going strictly by word definitions, “Christian” need only mean “a follower of the teachings of the one who died on the cross.” (And of course common sense has to narrow that down given obvious context, because the Romans sure did nail up a whole lot of people.) And from my readings, that seems OK- Jesus seemed a decent sort of guy. Social justice, yeah, I can get behind that. And the claims of being the literal offspring of the creator of the Universe (which I would find damn skeezy even if it was the absolute literal truth- if your arguments are good, they should stand on their own merits rather than on claims of divine lineage) might have been exaggerated or taken out of context after he died… but most Christians I think would count believing that as a fundamental part of being a Christian (notable exception- my mom, with whom I get along just fine, who explains that when Jesus said that he was God’s son, it was because we’re all God’s children; not sure if that holds up scripturally but oh well; it would make the guy’s opinions more palatable to me if true, but that doesn’t mean it is. Which doesn’t really matter because, as I was going to point out as per the beginning of the sentence, I’m not a Christian by nearly any definition of the word, whew! Except possibly my mom’s, but she’s weird.)

            That doesn’t hurt me, but it does hurt others. People who consider themselves faithful Christians, but also grew up loving nature documentaries and collecting rocks and learning about stars. It’s to these people that you deliver your ultimatum: You must choose between Jesus Christ and Richard Attenborough. There is absolutely no room for them both to be good and right and moral, and no room for you to be good and right and moral if you don’t side absolutely with Christ and absolutely against Richard Attenborough.

            And it’s those people you hurt, and it’s those people you drive away, if that’s how they choose, or scar, by forcing them to give up something they love in order to keep their status in your eyes as decent, moral beings.

            And that’s how I’ll end it- I meant to make a little correction and ended up pouring my heart out to someone who’s probably not going to be receptive to it, when I really would rather be talking rationally instead of emotionally, and the narrow formatting is getting ridiculous so I’m really going to stop now.

            .

          • Richard D. Peachey

            My friend, I would love to pursue this with you but the column widths are now  a little too narrow!Want to write me at r.d.peachey@gmail.com?

  • Joyce Baker17

    I know a church fellowship (the place I attend) where the Sunday school teacher for the college age class was asked to quit teaching because he, an educated medical doctor, invited discussion on this very topic. He believed that evolution and God can coexist. He was asked to stop teaching–and he soon thereafter left the fellowship. One of the students in his SS class was a relatively new Christian who was studying to be a doctor himself. He stopped attending also–quite possibly altogether–I’m not sure. I totally believe that if certain groups of Christians try to convince young people who are college students or otherwise, that if they believe in evolution then they must not believe in the bible—then those young people will more than likely reject the whole christian thing–unless they have their own personal base that is stronger than “Christian peer pressure”. God is so much bigger than our interpretation of the bible. Bigger than evolution, creation, atheism, etc…And I do not believe at all that God is offended by our beliefs when it comes to this issue. Unless of course, those beliefs drive someone away from enjoying the love and acceptance of God.  That is when, I believe, creationist views become a stumbling block.

    • Richard D. Peachey

      Joyce: God definitely is opposed to false teaching, and he will stand against those who promulgate it in the church (see, for example, Revelation 2:15,16). The Bible is very obviously a creationist book. If God truly believed in evolution, he would clearly have taught it in his Word, a point readily understood by noted Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson, who put it this way in his book Consilience (page 6):
      “But most of all, Baptist theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?”
      So it’s not “creationist views” that are a “stumbling block,” but the Bible itself! The teaching of the Bible, whether about creation or the cross, is “foolishness” — to those who are perishing. (See 1 Corinthians 1:18.)
      It’s remarkable how compatible atheism is with evolution, and (on the other hand) how much twisting has to be done to the Bible before it even begins to allow for anything approaching a Darwinized secular worldview.

  • Ephraim7

    The evolution theory is an irrational falsehood, zealously embraced by atheists, that is a phony conclusion of the 600+ million year fossil record.  There is no “valid supporting data” for evolution.  In a court of law, or in a public forum, the same evidence that evolutionists would use to try to “prove” the validity of that theory, I would utilize to reveal the truth of Genesis.   In order to believe in evolution, you have to purposely ignore certain facts of reality.  For example, when you see illustrations of primates being pictured as evolving into humans, it can be shown in a court of law that such a premise is impossible, because certain human and primate traits are different, and could not have ever been shared. The only “common ancestor” that humans and primates share is God Himself.
     
    Current Creationism has refused to teach the truth of the Genesis text, and either teaches foolishness (young Earth), or false doctrines (non-literal reading of the text).  Creationists thoughtlessly try to prove “Creationism”, rather than seeking and teaching the truth of Genesis.  How can an untruth, ever prove another lie, to be in error?   You can’t do it.  That is why Creationism fails.  It essentially is also a lie, and should be discarded, even by Bible believers. 
     
    The correct opposing view to evolution is the “Observations of Moses”, which conveys the truth of Genesis chapter one.
     
    Herman Cummings
    ephraim7@aol.com

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      thanks but you went way off topic.

  • Anonymous

     Thanks for directly addressing this question of evolution and faith.  I think your observations are spot on. I have long felt that evangelicals stance on evolution has undermined their aims towards bringing people to the gospel and has actually caused the reverse to happen.  By allowing our fears to control us we actually bring on what we fear most.

    I was raised with Creation Science.  As a teenager I questioned my biology teacher tremendously.  When I went to college I got a degree in Physics. Even though I didn’t have a career in science I continued to read popular science magazines.  The first question I had to deal with in sorting out my faith with respect to evolution was that all truth is God’s truth and recognizing the scientific method is a good means to understanding material truth. The second was that God is not provable and science cannot prove or disprove God.   The third dealt with God’s sovereignty: God is able to create the world any way he likes, what do I learn of God by the way in which he created the world. Is the birth of child any less miraculous since we know the process of how  babies grow? The forth was understanding how the scriptures were inspired by God. How does God talk to mankind; how does God talk to me? How can I hear God through the praise of creation? The fifth question has to do with God’s purpose for me, and the rest of life; what was the purpose of all life having similar DNA structure, etc. The sixth question has been understanding how God is saving me.

    As I have plumbed these questions I have found that evolution has enriched my faith rather than detracted from it.  It would have been nice to have others with whom I could process my thoughts. I have come to the conclusion that the idolization of the scripture has much to do with causing the creation/evolution debate. As much as we say God is constant, he is also a dynamic person.  He does not live in any religious box. He is not controlled by the four spiritual laws.  We must adjust our understandings of him based on what he teaches us.   Unfortunately, we have forgotten the first lesson of faith and that is to have grace and humility.

    My husband has struggled a lot with his faith because of the whole evolution/creation debate.  He recently read The Price of Altruism and has found that helped his faith a lot.  It has given him an evolutionary understanding of the teachings of Jesus.

  • Unwelcome

    Since when does someone need to “believe” in evolution? Faith doesn’t come into it because, unlike religious myth and legend, there is physical evidence of it’s existence. I would love to know who was standing at God’s side with a stylus and tablet to write down that grand flourish “Let there be light!” Maybe some of you who have studied the Bible, and it’s origins, closely, can tell us the names of all those who had a hand in writing such contrivances, and when? I think you’ll find that the list is long, the time frame wide, and their motivations obscene. Pull the blinders from your eyes, question and resist, and live as free human beings in a world where you take responsibility for your own actions.

    • Richard D. Peachey

      “Responsibility”? In an atheist universe? Responsible to whom? If there is no God, everything is permitted (in the sense that nothing is ultimately forbidden). If evolution is true, ethics is dead. Freedom (in your sense) is just another word for nothing left to lose.

      • John Dibble

        “If evolution is true, ethics is dead.”

        I couldn’t disagree more. If evolution is true then it shows the triumph of ethics and morality. These things are about how we treat one another, and they are absolutely required for advanced social species to cooperate. It is through that that our species has spread across the globe. It is through that that our species is the first to leave this planet, giving hope to the prospect of life from this world surviving past this world’s capacity to sustain it. If evolution is true, then it must be through evolution that we gained our capacity for ethics and morality, and it is because of that our species has reached the heights it has so far and it is because of that we will continue to climb.

        • Richard D. Peachey

          If evolution is true, John, ethics is indeed dead. Here I’m not saying that atheists are immoral (they may or may not be, to a lesser or greater extent). What I’m pointing out is that ethics has no ultimate logical foundation. Evolutionary ethics is an oxymoron, and an illusion. Some prominent evolutionary philosophers, like Michael Ruse, have pointed this out with refreshing honesty.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=767404039 Robert Powell

            Ethics simply describe morality. Morality is a changeable thing and is governed not by god but by consensus of the given society. There is very little morality in the OT, for instance where it is permissible to take slaves, kill innocents and where god say’s you’re bound for damnation if you eat prawns (Leviticus is a rich source of what we would find unethical immoral behaviour). Evolution isn’t – as I expect you’ve been taught – survival of the fittest, it’s survival of the most successful, regardless of fitness. The most successful is that which, to paraphrase, goes forth and multiplies. By existing in a society where ethics allow both freedom and safety of movement that ability is greatly enhanced. Ethics and Evolution sit hand-in-hand quite happily. 

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Robert: On what basis can you condemn anything done by anyone else? By comparing their actions to  your own society’s current (changeable) morality? You have castigated certain practices as “immoral,” but if that society agreed on them, how can you speak against that? Are you appealing to some higher law? I note that your own society seems fairly comfortable with killing innocents (unless you think pre-born children are somehow “guilty” of something).

            Regarding your statement on “survival of the fittest,” I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but you’re quite mistaken. “Survival of the fittest” is an alternative term for “natural selection” — Darwin’s proposed mechanism for evolution — rather than for evolution itself. This is abundantly clear from Darwin’s own statements in the Origin of Species (6th edition). Darwin writes, “I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection, in order to mark its relation to man’s power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the Survival of the Fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient” (chapter 3). Again, Darwin says, “This preservation of favourable individual differences and variations, and the destruction of those which are injurious, I have called Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest” (chapter 4). Several other similar statements from the Origin could be cited (from chapters 4 and 15).

            My college text for a fourth-year evolution course (Peter W. Price’s Biological Evolution, 1996) showed no qualms about using the term “survival of the fittest,” and even quoted at length the two passages from Darwin given above.

            Evolutionists, of course, have trouble empirically determining who is the “fittest.” As you suggest, the real criterion is reproductive success. But “survival of the fittest” then becomes a tautology: “Survival of those who survive (and reproduce).” So “natural selection” is, operationally, nothing other than “differential reproduction.”

            But, Robert, unethical people often reproduce quite well, don’t they? Genghis Khan is reputed to have quite enjoyed slaying his enemies and sleeping with (“on the bellies of”) their wives and daughters. I have heard that something like 0.5% of the world’s people now have the surname Khan. In light of such a fact (assuming it’s true), how can you logically connect Evolution with Ethics? To revise your wording, “Immorality and Evolution sit hand-in-hand quite happily.”

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Robert: On what basis can you condemn anything done by anyone else? By comparing their actions to  your own society’s current (changeable) morality? You have castigated certain practices as “immoral,” but if that society agreed on them, how can you speak against that? Are you appealing to some higher law? I note that your own society seems fairly comfortable with killing innocents (unless you think pre-born children are somehow “guilty” of something).

            Regarding your statement on “survival of the fittest,” I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but you’re quite mistaken. “Survival of the fittest” is an alternative term for “natural selection” — Darwin’s proposed mechanism for evolution — rather than for evolution itself. This is abundantly clear from Darwin’s own statements in the Origin of Species (6th edition). Darwin writes, “I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection, in order to mark its relation to man’s power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the Survival of the Fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient” (chapter 3). Again, Darwin says, “This preservation of favourable individual differences and variations, and the destruction of those which are injurious, I have called Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest” (chapter 4). Several other similar statements from the Origin could be cited (from chapters 4 and 15).

            My college text for a fourth-year evolution course (Peter W. Price’s Biological Evolution, 1996) showed no qualms about using the term “survival of the fittest,” and even quoted at length the two passages from Darwin given above.

            Evolutionists, of course, have trouble empirically determining who is the “fittest.” As you suggest, the real criterion is reproductive success. But “survival of the fittest” then becomes a tautology: “Survival of those who survive (and reproduce).” So “natural selection” is, operationally, nothing other than “differential reproduction.”

            But, Robert, unethical people often reproduce quite well, don’t they? Genghis Khan is reputed to have quite enjoyed slaying his enemies and sleeping with (“on the bellies of”) their wives and daughters. I have heard that something like 0.5% of the world’s people now have the surname Khan. In light of such a fact (assuming it’s true), how can you logically connect Evolution with Ethics? To revise your wording, “Immorality and Evolution sit hand-in-hand quite happily.”

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Robert: On what basis can you condemn anything done by anyone else? By comparing their actions to  your own society’s current (changeable) morality? You have castigated certain practices as “immoral,” but if that society agreed on them, how can you speak against that? Are you appealing to some higher law? I note that your own society seems fairly comfortable with killing innocents (unless you think pre-born children are somehow “guilty” of something).

            Regarding your statement on “survival of the fittest,” I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but you’re quite mistaken. “Survival of the fittest” is an alternative term for “natural selection” — Darwin’s proposed mechanism for evolution — rather than for evolution itself. This is abundantly clear from Darwin’s own statements in the Origin of Species (6th edition). Darwin writes, “I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection, in order to mark its relation to man’s power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the Survival of the Fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient” (chapter 3). Again, Darwin says, “This preservation of favourable individual differences and variations, and the destruction of those which are injurious, I have called Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest” (chapter 4). Several other similar statements from the Origin could be cited (from chapters 4 and 15).

            My college text for a fourth-year evolution course (Peter W. Price’s Biological Evolution, 1996) showed no qualms about using the term “survival of the fittest,” and even quoted at length the two passages from Darwin given above.

            Evolutionists, of course, have trouble empirically determining who is the “fittest.” As you suggest, the real criterion is reproductive success. But “survival of the fittest” then becomes a tautology: “Survival of those who survive (and reproduce).” So “natural selection” is, operationally, nothing other than “differential reproduction.”

            But, Robert, unethical people often reproduce quite well, don’t they? Genghis Khan is reputed to have quite enjoyed slaying his enemies and sleeping with (“on the bellies of”) their wives and daughters. I have heard that something like 0.5% of the world’s people now have the surname Khan. In light of such a fact (assuming it’s true), how can you logically connect Evolution with Ethics? To revise your wording, “Immorality and Evolution sit hand-in-hand quite happily.”

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Robert: On what basis can you condemn anything done by anyone else? By comparing their actions to  your own society’s current (changeable) morality? You have castigated certain practices as “immoral,” but if that society agreed on them, how can you speak against that? Are you appealing to some higher law? I note that your own society seems fairly comfortable with killing innocents (unless you think pre-born children are somehow “guilty” of something).

            Regarding your statement on “survival of the fittest,” I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but you’re quite mistaken. “Survival of the fittest” is an alternative term for “natural selection” — Darwin’s proposed mechanism for evolution — rather than for evolution itself. This is abundantly clear from Darwin’s own statements in the Origin of Species (6th edition). Darwin writes, “I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection, in order to mark its relation to man’s power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the Survival of the Fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient” (chapter 3). Again, Darwin says, “This preservation of favourable individual differences and variations, and the destruction of those which are injurious, I have called Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest” (chapter 4). Several other similar statements from the Origin could be cited (from chapters 4 and 15).

            My college text for a fourth-year evolution course (Peter W. Price’s Biological Evolution, 1996) showed no qualms about using the term “survival of the fittest,” and even quoted at length the two passages from Darwin given above.

            Evolutionists, of course, have trouble empirically determining who is the “fittest.” As you suggest, the real criterion is reproductive success. But “survival of the fittest” then becomes a tautology: “Survival of those who survive (and reproduce).” So “natural selection” is, operationally, nothing other than “differential reproduction.”

            But, Robert, unethical people often reproduce quite well, don’t they? Genghis Khan is reputed to have quite enjoyed slaying his enemies and sleeping with (“on the bellies of”) their wives and daughters. I have heard that something like 0.5% of the world’s people now have the surname Khan. In light of such a fact (assuming it’s true), how can you logically connect Evolution with Ethics? To revise your wording, “Immorality and Evolution sit hand-in-hand quite happily.”

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Robert: On what basis can you condemn anything done by anyone else? By comparing their actions to  your own society’s current (changeable) morality? You have castigated certain practices as “immoral,” but if that society agreed on them, how can you speak against that? Are you appealing to some higher law? I note that your own society seems fairly comfortable with killing innocents (unless you think pre-born children are somehow “guilty” of something).

            Regarding your statement on “survival of the fittest,” I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but you’re quite mistaken. “Survival of the fittest” is an alternative term for “natural selection” — Darwin’s proposed mechanism for evolution — rather than for evolution itself. This is abundantly clear from Darwin’s own statements in the Origin of Species (6th edition). Darwin writes, “I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection, in order to mark its relation to man’s power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the Survival of the Fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient” (chapter 3). Again, Darwin says, “This preservation of favourable individual differences and variations, and the destruction of those which are injurious, I have called Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest” (chapter 4). Several other similar statements from the Origin could be cited (from chapters 4 and 15).

            My college text for a fourth-year evolution course (Peter W. Price’s Biological Evolution, 1996) showed no qualms about using the term “survival of the fittest,” and even quoted at length the two passages from Darwin given above.

            Evolutionists, of course, have trouble empirically determining who is the “fittest.” As you suggest, the real criterion is reproductive success. But “survival of the fittest” then becomes a tautology: “Survival of those who survive (and reproduce).” So “natural selection” is, operationally, nothing other than “differential reproduction.”

            But, Robert, unethical people often reproduce quite well, don’t they? Genghis Khan is reputed to have quite enjoyed slaying his enemies and sleeping with (“on the bellies of”) their wives and daughters. I have heard that something like 0.5% of the world’s people now have the surname Khan. In light of such a fact (assuming it’s true), how can you logically connect Evolution with Ethics? To revise your wording, “Immorality and Evolution sit hand-in-hand quite happily.”

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Robert: On what basis can you condemn anything done by anyone else? By comparing their actions to  your own society’s current (changeable) morality? You have castigated certain practices as “immoral,” but if that society agreed on them, how can you speak against that? Are you appealing to some higher law? I note that your own society seems fairly comfortable with killing innocents (unless you think pre-born children are somehow “guilty” of something).

            Regarding your statement on “survival of the fittest,” I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but you’re quite mistaken. “Survival of the fittest” is an alternative term for “natural selection” — Darwin’s proposed mechanism for evolution — rather than for evolution itself. This is abundantly clear from Darwin’s own statements in the Origin of Species (6th edition). Darwin writes, “I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection, in order to mark its relation to man’s power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the Survival of the Fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient” (chapter 3). Again, Darwin says, “This preservation of favourable individual differences and variations, and the destruction of those which are injurious, I have called Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest” (chapter 4). Several other similar statements from the Origin could be cited (from chapters 4 and 15).

            My college text for a fourth-year evolution course (Peter W. Price’s Biological Evolution, 1996) showed no qualms about using the term “survival of the fittest,” and even quoted at length the two passages from Darwin given above.

            Evolutionists, of course, have trouble empirically determining who is the “fittest.” As you suggest, the real criterion is reproductive success. But “survival of the fittest” then becomes a tautology: “Survival of those who survive (and reproduce).” So “natural selection” is, operationally, nothing other than “differential reproduction.”

            But, Robert, unethical people often reproduce quite well, don’t they? Genghis Khan is reputed to have quite enjoyed slaying his enemies and sleeping with (“on the bellies of”) their wives and daughters. I have heard that something like 0.5% of the world’s people now have the surname Khan. In light of such a fact (assuming it’s true), how can you logically connect Evolution with Ethics? To revise your wording, “Immorality and Evolution sit hand-in-hand quite happily.”

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Robert: On what basis can you condemn anything done by anyone else? By comparing their actions to  your own society’s current (changeable) morality? You have castigated certain practices as “immoral,” but if that society agreed on them, how can you speak against that? Are you appealing to some higher law? I note that your own society seems fairly comfortable with killing innocents (unless you think pre-born children are somehow “guilty” of something).

            Regarding your statement on “survival of the fittest,” I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but you’re quite mistaken. “Survival of the fittest” is an alternative term for “natural selection” — Darwin’s proposed mechanism for evolution — rather than for evolution itself. This is abundantly clear from Darwin’s own statements in the Origin of Species (6th edition). Darwin writes, “I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection, in order to mark its relation to man’s power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the Survival of the Fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient” (chapter 3). Again, Darwin says, “This preservation of favourable individual differences and variations, and the destruction of those which are injurious, I have called Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest” (chapter 4). Several other similar statements from the Origin could be cited (from chapters 4 and 15).

            My college text for a fourth-year evolution course (Peter W. Price’s Biological Evolution, 1996) showed no qualms about using the term “survival of the fittest,” and even quoted at length the two passages from Darwin given above.

            Evolutionists, of course, have trouble empirically determining who is the “fittest.” As you suggest, the real criterion is reproductive success. But “survival of the fittest” then becomes a tautology: “Survival of those who survive (and reproduce).” So “natural selection” is, operationally, nothing other than “differential reproduction.”

            But, Robert, unethical people often reproduce quite well, don’t they? Genghis Khan is reputed to have quite enjoyed slaying his enemies and sleeping with (“on the bellies of”) their wives and daughters. I have heard that something like 0.5% of the world’s people now have the surname Khan. In light of such a fact (assuming it’s true), how can you logically connect Evolution with Ethics? To revise your wording, “Immorality and Evolution sit hand-in-hand quite happily.”

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Robert: On what basis can you condemn anything done by anyone else? By comparing their actions to  your own society’s current (changeable) morality? You have castigated certain practices as “immoral,” but if that society agreed on them, how can you speak against that? Are you appealing to some higher law? I note that your own society seems fairly comfortable with killing innocents (unless you think pre-born children are somehow “guilty” of something).

            Regarding your statement on “survival of the fittest,” I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but you’re quite mistaken. “Survival of the fittest” is an alternative term for “natural selection” — Darwin’s proposed mechanism for evolution — rather than for evolution itself. This is abundantly clear from Darwin’s own statements in the Origin of Species (6th edition). Darwin writes, “I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection, in order to mark its relation to man’s power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the Survival of the Fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient” (chapter 3). Again, Darwin says, “This preservation of favourable individual differences and variations, and the destruction of those which are injurious, I have called Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest” (chapter 4). Several other similar statements from the Origin could be cited (from chapters 4 and 15).

            My college text for a fourth-year evolution course (Peter W. Price’s Biological Evolution, 1996) showed no qualms about using the term “survival of the fittest,” and even quoted at length the two passages from Darwin given above.

            Evolutionists, of course, have trouble empirically determining who is the “fittest.” As you suggest, the real criterion is reproductive success. But “survival of the fittest” then becomes a tautology: “Survival of those who survive (and reproduce).” So “natural selection” is, operationally, nothing other than “differential reproduction.”

            But, Robert, unethical people often reproduce quite well, don’t they? Genghis Khan is reputed to have quite enjoyed slaying his enemies and sleeping with (“on the bellies of”) their wives and daughters. I have heard that something like 0.5% of the world’s people now have the surname Khan. In light of such a fact (assuming it’s true), how can you logically connect Evolution with Ethics? To revise your wording, “Immorality and Evolution sit hand-in-hand quite happily.”

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Robert: On what basis can you condemn anything done by anyone else? By comparing their actions to  your own society’s current (changeable) morality? You have castigated certain practices as “immoral,” but if that society agreed on them, how can you speak against that? Are you appealing to some higher law? I note that your own society seems fairly comfortable with killing innocents (unless you think pre-born children are somehow “guilty” of something).

            Regarding your statement on “survival of the fittest,” I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but you’re quite mistaken. “Survival of the fittest” is an alternative term for “natural selection” — Darwin’s proposed mechanism for evolution — rather than for evolution itself. This is abundantly clear from Darwin’s own statements in the Origin of Species (6th edition). Darwin writes, “I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection, in order to mark its relation to man’s power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the Survival of the Fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient” (chapter 3). Again, Darwin says, “This preservation of favourable individual differences and variations, and the destruction of those which are injurious, I have called Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest” (chapter 4). Several other similar statements from the Origin could be cited (from chapters 4 and 15).

            My college text for a fourth-year evolution course (Peter W. Price’s Biological Evolution, 1996) showed no qualms about using the term “survival of the fittest,” and even quoted at length the two passages from Darwin given above.

            Evolutionists, of course, have trouble empirically determining who is the “fittest.” As you suggest, the real criterion is reproductive success. But “survival of the fittest” then becomes a tautology: “Survival of those who survive (and reproduce).” So “natural selection” is, operationally, nothing other than “differential reproduction.”

            But, Robert, unethical people often reproduce quite well, don’t they? Genghis Khan is reputed to have quite enjoyed slaying his enemies and sleeping with (“on the bellies of”) their wives and daughters. I have heard that something like 0.5% of the world’s people now have the surname Khan. In light of such a fact (assuming it’s true), how can you logically connect Evolution with Ethics? To revise your wording, “Immorality and Evolution sit hand-in-hand quite happily.”

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Robert: On what basis can you condemn anything done by anyone else? By comparing their actions to  your own society’s current (changeable) morality? You have castigated certain practices as “immoral,” but if that society agreed on them, how can you speak against that? Are you appealing to some higher law? I note that your own society seems fairly comfortable with killing innocents (unless you think pre-born children are somehow “guilty” of something).

            Regarding your statement on “survival of the fittest,” I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but you’re quite mistaken. “Survival of the fittest” is an alternative term for “natural selection” — Darwin’s proposed mechanism for evolution — rather than for evolution itself. This is abundantly clear from Darwin’s own statements in the Origin of Species (6th edition). Darwin writes, “I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection, in order to mark its relation to man’s power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the Survival of the Fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient” (chapter 3). Again, Darwin says, “This preservation of favourable individual differences and variations, and the destruction of those which are injurious, I have called Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest” (chapter 4). Several other similar statements from the Origin could be cited (from chapters 4 and 15).

            My college text for a fourth-year evolution course (Peter W. Price’s Biological Evolution, 1996) showed no qualms about using the term “survival of the fittest,” and even quoted at length the two passages from Darwin given above.

            Evolutionists, of course, have trouble empirically determining who is the “fittest.” As you suggest, the real criterion is reproductive success. But “survival of the fittest” then becomes a tautology: “Survival of those who survive (and reproduce).” So “natural selection” is, operationally, nothing other than “differential reproduction.”

            But, Robert, unethical people often reproduce quite well, don’t they? Genghis Khan is reputed to have quite enjoyed slaying his enemies and sleeping with (“on the bellies of”) their wives and daughters. I have heard that something like 0.5% of the world’s people now have the surname Khan. In light of such a fact (assuming it’s true), how can you logically connect Evolution with Ethics? To revise your wording, “Immorality and Evolution sit hand-in-hand quite happily.”

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Robert: On what basis can you condemn anything done by anyone else? By comparing their actions to  your own society’s current (changeable) morality? You have castigated certain practices as “immoral,” but if that society agreed on them, how can you speak against that? Are you appealing to some higher law? I note that your own society seems fairly comfortable with killing innocents (unless you think pre-born children are somehow “guilty” of something).

            Regarding your statement on “survival of the fittest,” I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but you’re quite mistaken. “Survival of the fittest” is an alternative term for “natural selection” — Darwin’s proposed mechanism for evolution — rather than for evolution itself. This is abundantly clear from Darwin’s own statements in the Origin of Species (6th edition). Darwin writes, “I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection, in order to mark its relation to man’s power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the Survival of the Fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient” (chapter 3). Again, Darwin says, “This preservation of favourable individual differences and variations, and the destruction of those which are injurious, I have called Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest” (chapter 4). Several other similar statements from the Origin could be cited (from chapters 4 and 15).

            My college text for a fourth-year evolution course (Peter W. Price’s Biological Evolution, 1996) showed no qualms about using the term “survival of the fittest,” and even quoted at length the two passages from Darwin given above.

            Evolutionists, of course, have trouble empirically determining who is the “fittest.” As you suggest, the real criterion is reproductive success. But “survival of the fittest” then becomes a tautology: “Survival of those who survive (and reproduce).” So “natural selection” is, operationally, nothing other than “differential reproduction.”

            But, Robert, unethical people often reproduce quite well, don’t they? Genghis Khan is reputed to have quite enjoyed slaying his enemies and sleeping with (“on the bellies of”) their wives and daughters. I have heard that something like 0.5% of the world’s people now have the surname Khan. In light of such a fact (assuming it’s true), how can you logically connect Evolution with Ethics? To revise your wording, “Immorality and Evolution sit hand-in-hand quite happily.”

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Robert: On what basis can you condemn anything done by anyone else? By comparing their actions to  your own society’s current (changeable) morality? You have castigated certain practices as “immoral,” but if that society agreed on them, how can you speak against that? Are you appealing to some higher law? I note that your own society seems fairly comfortable with killing innocents (unless you think pre-born children are somehow “guilty” of something).

            Regarding your statement on “survival of the fittest,” I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but you’re quite mistaken. “Survival of the fittest” is an alternative term for “natural selection” — Darwin’s proposed mechanism for evolution — rather than for evolution itself. This is abundantly clear from Darwin’s own statements in the Origin of Species (6th edition). Darwin writes, “I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection, in order to mark its relation to man’s power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the Survival of the Fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient” (chapter 3). Again, Darwin says, “This preservation of favourable individual differences and variations, and the destruction of those which are injurious, I have called Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest” (chapter 4). Several other similar statements from the Origin could be cited (from chapters 4 and 15).

            My college text for a fourth-year evolution course (Peter W. Price’s Biological Evolution, 1996) showed no qualms about using the term “survival of the fittest,” and even quoted at length the two passages from Darwin given above.

            Evolutionists, of course, have trouble empirically determining who is the “fittest.” As you suggest, the real criterion is reproductive success. But “survival of the fittest” then becomes a tautology: “Survival of those who survive (and reproduce).” So “natural selection” is, operationally, nothing other than “differential reproduction.”

            But, Robert, unethical people often reproduce quite well, don’t they? Genghis Khan is reputed to have quite enjoyed slaying his enemies and sleeping with (“on the bellies of”) their wives and daughters. I have heard that something like 0.5% of the world’s people now have the surname Khan. In light of such a fact (assuming it’s true), how can you logically connect Evolution with Ethics? To revise your wording, “Immorality and Evolution sit hand-in-hand quite happily.”

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Robert: On what basis can you condemn anything done by anyone else? By comparing their actions to  your own society’s current (changeable) morality? You have castigated certain practices as “immoral,” but if that society agreed on them, how can you speak against that? Are you appealing to some higher law? I note that your own society seems fairly comfortable with killing innocents (unless you think pre-born children are somehow “guilty” of something).

            Regarding your statement on “survival of the fittest,” I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but you’re quite mistaken. “Survival of the fittest” is an alternative term for “natural selection” — Darwin’s proposed mechanism for evolution — rather than for evolution itself. This is abundantly clear from Darwin’s own statements in the Origin of Species (6th edition). Darwin writes, “I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection, in order to mark its relation to man’s power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the Survival of the Fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient” (chapter 3). Again, Darwin says, “This preservation of favourable individual differences and variations, and the destruction of those which are injurious, I have called Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest” (chapter 4). Several other similar statements from the Origin could be cited (from chapters 4 and 15).

            My college text for a fourth-year evolution course (Peter W. Price’s Biological Evolution, 1996) showed no qualms about using the term “survival of the fittest,” and even quoted at length the two passages from Darwin given above.

            Evolutionists, of course, have trouble empirically determining who is the “fittest.” As you suggest, the real criterion is reproductive success. But “survival of the fittest” then becomes a tautology: “Survival of those who survive (and reproduce).” So “natural selection” is, operationally, nothing other than “differential reproduction.”

            But, Robert, unethical people often reproduce quite well, don’t they? Genghis Khan is reputed to have quite enjoyed slaying his enemies and sleeping with (“on the bellies of”) their wives and daughters. I have heard that something like 0.5% of the world’s people now have the surname Khan. In light of such a fact (assuming it’s true), how can you logically connect Evolution with Ethics? To revise your wording, “Immorality and Evolution sit hand-in-hand quite happily.”

          • Veylon

            Evolution isn’t, and shouldn’t be, a basis for morality. Evolutionists do tend to twist themselves in knots over this and sundry other pedantries. Animals don’t take care of the injured and elderly, for instance.

            But the Old and New Testaments are poor guides as well. Are we to regard pork flesh as forbidden now and forever? What about women speaking in church? Or slavery?

            We’ve decided that slavery is inherently wrong, but on what basis? There is no ultimate logic behind such a decision in either the Bible or evolution.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Sounds like we agree regarding the lack of sound connection between Evolution and Ethics. But what about the Bible as a guide for morality?

            Question One has to be: Did Jesus Christ really rise from the dead? If he did not, then there’s no use referring to ancient book containing such false claims for a discussion of morality. But if he did, then the risen Lord’s view of Scripture becomes important (he obviously considered it authoritative).

            For Christians, the various Old Testament laws regarding foods (along with priesthood, Temple, animal sacrifice, circumcision, and other Israel-specific issues) are not considered obligatory. They are treated as prophetic foreshadowings of the new era, which have now been fulfilled in Christ’s person and work. The food laws in particular are obsolete because they represented the spiritual distinction/separation between Israel and the surrounding Gentiles (see Acts 10:9-29; Colossians 2:16-17). This distinction is now obsolete because of Christ (Ephesians 2:11-22).

            Slavery may be unpleasant and open to a lot of abuse but the Bible does not view it as a ‘wrong-in-itself.’ For a balanced Christian approach to slavery, see the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 7:21-23; Colossians 3:22-4:1; and the little book of Philemon.

            Regarding women speaking in church, male and female human beings are both created in the image of God, and are both joint-heirs of the grace of life in Christ, but we have differing roles. Husbands are to take responsibility for loving leadership (which we so often fail to do!) and wives are to serve along with their husbands in a full-blooded supportive role. (Many Christians have taken a different view from mine on the role of women. It’s a thorny issue in this individualistic age — but the New Testament’s focus is on humility and service, and not so much on assertion of our ‘rights.’)

          • Anonymous

            “Sounds like we agree regarding the lack of sound connection between Evolution and Ethics.”

            And a lack of connection between ethics and Relativity, and between ethics and astronomy as well. But these disciplines, like evolutionary biology, are not intended to be the basis of an ethical system, so it doesn’t matter.

            “Question One has to be: Did Jesus Christ really rise from the dead?”

            Highly unlikely, and without any evidence that it happened – which no one has ever provided – the presumption must be that he did not.

      • http://twitter.com/SusanRussell70 Susan Russell

        responsible to whom? responsible to one another! i find the insinuation that one cannot be moral without worshipping a god reprehensible.  an if the morals in the OT are any guide, you can keep your “morality”, thanks.  i’m good without god.  i’m good for it’s own sake.

        • Richard D. Peachey

          “Responsible to one another”? Sez who, Susan? And to which “one another”? Only the folks we feel like being “responsible” to, right?

          Regarding being “good for goodness’ sake” — that’s a cute line in a Santa Claus song, but who gets to define what is “good”? In an atheistic world, we must all ultimately live by the Golden Rule: He who’s got the Gold sets the Rules. Those are the true “evolutionary ethics,” are they not?

          • Anonymous

            “‘Responsible to one another’? Sez who, Susan?”
            Susan did, and she is correct. Clever comeback on your part, by the way, though it would have been stronger if you had preceded it with a stinging “Oh, yeh?” and followed it with “Yer mudder wears army boots.”

            “And to which ‘one another’? Only the folks we feel like being ‘responsible’ to, right?”
            We’re all demonstrably responsible to others, because if we behave in a way they don’t like, they can punish us.

            “Regarding being ‘good for goodness’ sake’ — that’s a cute line in a Santa Claus song…”
            Apparently the concept eludes you that when you put someone else’s remarks in quotes the quoted text is to be *exactly* what the person said and not a paraphrase; but then of course you couldn’t have made your “Santa Claus song” “joke.” (That was another use of quotes; showing that the word in quotes is ironic or sarcastic, and means the opposite.)

            “…but who gets to define what is ‘good’?”
            Society does.

            “In an atheistic world, we must all ultimately live by the Golden Rule: He who’s got the Gold sets the Rules.”
            What evidence do you have to support the curious notion that an atheistic society would be lawless as well? History shows us that people like laws.

            “Those are the true ‘evolutionary ethics,’ are they not?”
            Evolution is the process by which life on Earth became diverse; it can no more provide a basis for a system of ethics than can gravity. Evolutionary theory is the explanation for that process, as relativity explains gravity, and is also not intended to provide a basis for a system of ethics.

            If this is intended as support for your odd position about atheists and laws, it fails.

            This is a concept that creationists seem unable to grasp, probably due to their misunderstanding (deliberate distortion?) of the meaning of the phrase, “Survival of the fittest,” which is descriptive, nor prescriptive, and in any case refers only to a species’ fitness to survive in a particular ecological niche, not its physical strength or ability to kill its competition.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Hi, Pete. I certainly enjoyed your humour.

            What you (and Susan?) seem to be saying is that ethics/morality is determined by what society’s legal/judicial system is prepared to punish us for. Is that a correct understanding of your position?

            If so, you would appear to be saying, essentially, that Might makes Right. (After all, who gets to pass the laws? Those in power, correct?) The following thoughts would appear to follow logically from that premise:

            (1) All ethics is determined by law. This conveniently reduces all ethics courses to a single short lecture: “Obey the law, in particular those that are being currently enforced. Thus you will avoid society punishing you.”

            (2) There can never be, in any society, such a thing as an unethical law. Therefore slavery in the U.S. (before the Civil War) was a fully ethical practice and there was no real ethical impetus to fight for abolition.

            (3) Since a society’s government makes the laws, no government can ever be said to act immorally. Therefore the governments of Iran and North Korea are morally right in all they are currently doing.

            (4) Since our society will not judicially punish anyone who commits adultery, there is nothing immoral about Newt Gingrich’s cheating on his (second) wife — not even if he was hypocritically complaining about Bill Clinton’s activities at the same time he was doing the cheating.

            (5) Since society punished Martin Luther King by putting him in Birmingham Jail (among other things), his non-violent campaign against social injustice was obviously immoral.

            (6) Since Stalin was never judicially punished within his own lifetime, all of his murderous dictatorial acts were ethical and righteous.

            Since all these points are nonsensical (I hope you understand that I’m giving you a reductio ad absurdum), the original premise must be a mistake. Perhaps you would be willing to clarify your position.

            By the way, regarding your objection to my use of quotation marks, it would be obvious to most readers that I used them because I was quoting from the song, not from Susan herself. The words in quotes, however, do seem to me to be an accurate rendering of Susan’s own view.

          • Galapagospete

            Pity you couldn’t find a response to my questions about what experiences you’ve had to support your assertions about evolution, atheists, laws and ethics.

            Also, I stand by my remarks about misusing quotes to belittle what someone else posted. If you think so little of humans that you cannot imagine someone finding goodness satisfying in itself, just say so.

            However, on to your basic mistaken point.
             
            “If so, you would appear to be saying, essentially, that Might makes Right…All ethics is determined by law.”

            Amazing. Not only did you reverse what I actually said – which was the laws are shaped by ethics, NOT that ethics are determined by laws – you then said that since I described something to be the case then therefore I must approve of it; you fail to understand the difference between descriptive and prescriptive.

            Example: “The strong prey on the weak” is a descriptive sentence; it states a fact of nature. You and I may deplore it, but it is a fact nevertheless.

            However, merely because I make that statement does not mean I endorse strong people preying on weaker people. I may, but you cannot take that away from my having made the statement unless I follow it up with, “And that’s a *good* thing.”

            Since you completely misunderstood my earlier point, then everything you wrote that follows proceeds from a false premise, and is therefore irrelevant.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Hi, Pete. I have carefully gone over your previous post and confess I am unable to find any of your “questions” about my “experiences.” The only question I see is: “What evidence do you have to support the curious notion that an atheistic society would be lawless as well?” I do not hold such a notion, and the question appears to me as either just rhetorical or simply an attempt to score a point, so I didn’t answer it.

            I don’t doubt at all that people can feel good (self-affirmed) after doing something right. That is an interesting feature of our makeup, and it’s something that the Bible describes (Romans 2:14,15). But it’s a somewhat subjective matter, and I think it has only limited value (though some, certainly) in discussions on disputed ethical issues.

            I thank you for your clarification regarding your position on the relationship of ethics to law. Looking over your previous post, I don’t really think you had made it clear before. You talked about “society” defining what is good, and people liking laws. That’s all.

            So back to my original issue: If evolution is true, why should I be concerned to be ethical? And who determines what is ethical? (“Society” is not really an answer. When an ethical debate arises, who determines, and how, which position prevails? Is it just a matter of who manages to push their view into law? — so that the law reflects “society’s” position on what is right? That is what I thought you were driving at, previously.)

            I apologize to you, my friend, if I’ve contributed a sense of hostility to this discussion. If I have spoken brusquely or sharply, it’s because I think the issues are important and can get frustrated with views that strike me as obviously incorrect. :)

            All the best,
            Sincerely.

  • http://twitter.com/JoeBoyd Joe Boyd

    1. I agree that this is a problem, especially for the situation you describe of kids going to college.

    2. As a trained comedian I feel obligate to tell you that the line “Oh, I forgot my feta” kills.

  • http://twitter.com/ChukchiDogs Woof.

    I think my journey towards atheistm started when I was very young, but I, like many, had a religious phase. When I heard someone tell me that evolution was wrong, and that my best friend was going to “hell” for being gay, I left and never looked back.

  • Benjamin Burton

    I’ve spent the majority of my life in conservative baptistic churches and 7 literal day creation has always been the standard belief. I’ve spent my time post-high school in a conservative Bible college and seminary and have recently come to the point where I’ve needed to explore this topic further. I understand theology as system and how it works but I’ve never looked at science as a system in attempts to understand, well, anything. 

    I’ve come to the point where I can see evolution as being possible and I’m embarking on a reading journey through some popular material that has been written. I don’t doubt that God had something to do with getting all this to be what it is, but I’m starting to see that it probably (and doesn’t have to be) what I’ve always been taught.

    Thanks for the video, Kurt. I look forward to hearing more. 

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      @google-ecbe25f5256abb778cc7e6bfaf83cdd7:disqus … I hope you’ll check out the ebook i plan to publish in the coming months!

  • BestValue

    Personally, I reject evolution primarily because the scientific evidence is against it. The fact that the Bible happens to agree is a bonus and evidence for its inspiration by God.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=767404039 Robert Powell

      Unfortunately, this is incorrect. I was a Christian with a very special relationship with god not just in church – as a great deal of Christians seems to be – but outside too. I was that in awe of the Universe God created that I studied it, through science. That doesn’t mean I just read science books I actually studied the process of science determined to find just how tried and tested science claims were. When I found contradictions I queried them and and – like you I suspect – made the mistake of going to Christian Scientists for explanations. The problem with that is that I now knew the science process and when I checked the claims and credentials of those with an agenda of faith against those with an agenda of just understanding, the faith claims lost every single time.

      Claims that ‘scientific evidence is against it’ are plain simply incorrect. Oh I’m sure you’ve been told that they’re true and have even been shown evidence but when you challenge that evidence it every single time fails.

      Do you know what science says about the existence of God? Nothing, not a thing, it can’t be tested so it has no interest in it. Do you know what it says about the claims of religion, which is a man made thing like it or not,  a great deal.

      I now call myself an atheist, simply because it’s easier to understand than agnostic, which everyone takes to mean 50-50 unsure. I’m sure to about 95% that there is no god, I’m sure to 100% that the claims of religion are false.

      • Galapagospete

        In a literal sense, we’re all agnostics, because no matter how much or how loudly anyone on either side protests that they *know*, all they can truly say is what they believe to be true. So there are agnostic theists and agnostic atheists.

        If you do not believe that there are gods, you are an atheist. That’s all an atheist is: someone who does not accept the existence of gods.

        Doesn’t mean that you can’t believe that gods possibly *may* exist, just means you haven’t accepted it. So 50-50, 95-5, 5-95, 0-100 – all atheists. And all agnostics.

        If you believe that gods exist, then you are a theist – an agnostic theist.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=767404039 Robert Powell

          You’ve just explained exactly why I call myself an atheist instead of an agnostic. To expect rational analysis from people who don’t understand or worse have been taught the direct opposite of scientific methodology and whose answer to any mystery is not to explore and answer it but to just say ‘goddidit’ to accept that agnosticism covers a wide range of views, is contrary to experience and observation.

          Your argument is correct, but it doesn’t fit in to the departmentalised world view of the majority of people – religious or not . To most people there are just three positions, believer, atheist and 50-50 unsure, the fact that theists and believers come in many shades of (dis)belief escapes them.

          So just because your conclusion is correct it doesn’t mean you’ll win the argument because the final judge is human consensus and we’re very rarely a logical species.

          Sadly.

          • Anonymous

            I agree, and like you that’s also why I call myself an atheist.

            But you never know, it might make someone say, “Well, maybe he has a point.”

            Just saving one mind would be worthwhile.

    • http://twitter.com/SusanRussell70 Susan Russell

      sorry.  the mountain of scientific evidence for evolution begs to differ.  please post a peer-reviewed scientific article that supports your conclusion.

      • Richard D. Peachey

        Susan: please point us to a peer-reviewed scientific article that actually argues, on a solid logical basis (gratuitous assertions don’t count) for your purported reality of macroevolution. Given your statement above, you should be able to provide a mountain of them! 

        • Galapagospete

          I think we can do better than that.

          Go to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ and search on human  evolution.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            OK, my friend, I did as you suggested. The search produced 1537 items. I went to the first one (#2) which contained the term “human evolution” in its title. It was an article by J. Proust, “Cognitive enhancement, human evolution and bioethics,” from J Int Bioethique. Only the abstract was available, and here’s what it said:

            “The goal [sic] of this article are three-fold. The first is to explore the relations between the properties designated by the terms ‘human,’ ‘post-human,’ ‘Transhuman’, and to clarify the corresponding ‘isms’. The second is to scrutinize the current techniques for cognitive enhancement in order to assess their relations with the three categories just mentioned, and, with the specific ethical issues that they are raising. The third is to examine whether general ethical principles could be invoked either in favor of or against, the normative proposals of post- and trans-humanism, and to consider how compatible the types of enhancement presently developed are with respect to these principles.”

            I don’t mean to be critical, but somehow I don’t think Proust’s piece, as intriguing as it sounds, would meet my criteria of “a peer-reviewed scientific article that actually argues, on a solid logical basis [for] macroevolution.”

            Could you possibly point me to one or two specific articles that might more closely match my request? (I really don’t want to browse through another 1536 abstracts like the one I’ve cited above!)

            By the way, I also tried using just “evolution” as my search term. That produced 307091 results. The first one (“Echinoderms Have Bilateral Tendencies”) seemed quite interesting, but the abstract included a lot of wording like “were believed to be,” “are thought to have,” “might be,” “It is very likely that,” and “may have.” The actual scientific work that the experimenters did was just to measure starfish body parts and statistically analyze their behaviour as the critters crawled, turned over, or fled danger. Hmm … I get the feeling that article probably wouldn’t meet my criteria either!

          • Richard D. Peachey

            OK, my friend, I did as you suggested. The search produced 1537 items. I went to the first one (#2) which contained the term “human evolution” in its title. It was an article by J. Proust, “Cognitive enhancement, human evolution and bioethics,” from J Int Bioethique. Only the abstract was available, and here’s what it said:

            “The goal [sic] of this article are three-fold. The first is to explore the relations between the properties designated by the terms ‘human,’ ‘post-human,’ ‘Transhuman’, and to clarify the corresponding ‘isms’. The second is to scrutinize the current techniques for cognitive enhancement in order to assess their relations with the three categories just mentioned, and, with the specific ethical issues that they are raising. The third is to examine whether general ethical principles could be invoked either in favor of or against, the normative proposals of post- and trans-humanism, and to consider how compatible the types of enhancement presently developed are with respect to these principles.”

            I don’t mean to be critical, but somehow I don’t think Proust’s piece, as intriguing as it sounds, would meet my criteria of “a peer-reviewed scientific article that actually argues, on a solid logical basis [for] macroevolution.”

            Could you possibly point me to one or two specific articles that might more closely match my request? (I really don’t want to browse through another 1536 abstracts like the one I’ve cited above!)

            By the way, I also tried using just “evolution” as my search term. That produced 307091 results. The first one (“Echinoderms Have Bilateral Tendencies”) seemed quite interesting, but the abstract included a lot of wording like “were believed to be,” “are thought to have,” “might be,” “It is very likely that,” and “may have.” The actual scientific work that the experimenters did was just to measure starfish body parts and statistically analyze their behaviour as the critters crawled, turned over, or fled danger. Hmm … I get the feeling that article probably wouldn’t meet my criteria either!

          • Richard D. Peachey

            OK, my friend, I did as you suggested. The search produced 1537 items. I went to the first one (#2) which contained the term “human evolution” in its title. It was an article by J. Proust, “Cognitive enhancement, human evolution and bioethics,” from J Int Bioethique. Only the abstract was available, and here’s what it said:

            “The goal [sic] of this article are three-fold. The first is to explore the relations between the properties designated by the terms ‘human,’ ‘post-human,’ ‘Transhuman’, and to clarify the corresponding ‘isms’. The second is to scrutinize the current techniques for cognitive enhancement in order to assess their relations with the three categories just mentioned, and, with the specific ethical issues that they are raising. The third is to examine whether general ethical principles could be invoked either in favor of or against, the normative proposals of post- and trans-humanism, and to consider how compatible the types of enhancement presently developed are with respect to these principles.”

            I don’t mean to be critical, but somehow I don’t think Proust’s piece, as intriguing as it sounds, would meet my criteria of “a peer-reviewed scientific article that actually argues, on a solid logical basis [for] macroevolution.”

            Could you possibly point me to one or two specific articles that might more closely match my request? (I really don’t want to browse through another 1536 abstracts like the one I’ve cited above!)

            By the way, I also tried using just “evolution” as my search term. That produced 307091 results. The first one (“Echinoderms Have Bilateral Tendencies”) seemed quite interesting, but the abstract included a lot of wording like “were believed to be,” “are thought to have,” “might be,” “It is very likely that,” and “may have.” The actual scientific work that the experimenters did was just to measure starfish body parts and statistically analyze their behaviour as the critters crawled, turned over, or fled danger. Hmm … I get the feeling that article probably wouldn’t meet my criteria either!

          • Anonymous

            If you are not certain where to begin, I suggest you go to either Pharyngula or Why Evolution is True, both of which are blogs run by biologists, and place your request there.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            I’ll place my request right here, once again, on the same thread we’re all posting on: 
            Please point us to a peer-reviewed scientific article that actually argues, on a solid logical basis (gratuitous assertions don’t count) for macroevolution.I’ll take your non-response as an admission that you aren’t personally aware of even a single good-quality article that meets my criteria.

          • extremities

            I’d be suprised if you find one.  Why?  Because macroevolution and microevolution are made-up creationist terms.  there’s no reason that an actual scientist would ever use them, as the distinction that they purport to describe is a fiction of the denialists.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            You’re 100% mistaken, my friend. The terms “macroevolution” and “microevolution” were coined by I. A. Filipchenko in 1929 (as discussed in Scott F. Gilbert et al., 1996, Developmental Biology 173:358). Filipchenko, a Russian academician, is noted for having been Theodosius Dobzhansky’s teacher.

            Here are a couple of quotations from “actual scientists” who have used those terms in more recent times:

            “A long-standing issue in evolutionary biology is whether the processes observable in extant populations and species (microevolution) are sufficient to account for the larger-scale changes over longer periods of life’s history (macroevolution). Outsiders to this rich literature may be surprised that there is no consensus on this issue, and that strong viewpoints are held at both ends of the spectrum, with many undecided.” (Sean B. Carroll, 2001, Nature 409:669)

            “A wide spectrum of researchers — ranging from geologists and paleontologists, through ecologists and population geneticists, to embryologists and molecular biologists — gathered at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History under the simple conference title: Macroevolution [!]. Their task was to consider the mechanisms that underlie the origin of species and the evolutionary relationships between species…. The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomena of macroevolution. At the risk of doing violence to the positions of some of the people at the meeting, the answer can be given as a clear, No.” (Roger Lewin, 1980, Science 210:883)

            If you’d like more citations of this sort, I’ll be glad to provide them.

          • Anonymous

            If you are interested in learning something, then you go to people who are experts on the subject.

            Whether I am acquainted with such a specific paper is beside the point.  If you really want to have your question answered, you will go to a science blog run by a biologist, such as Pharyngula or Why Evolution is True, and post your request there.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            What I’m interested in learning is, whether anyone posting on this thread is able to do for evolution what the original commenter above suggested I ought to able to do for creation: come up with a peer-reviewed scientific journal article properly supporting it.

            I’m interested that so far none of my opponents has managed to locate such an article. If there’s really a “mountain” of evidence for your side, it should be a trivial matter to reference one solid article meeting my criteria.

          • Guest

            Well, I do believe that even most evolutionary biologists think “macroevolution” would take quite awhile to observe; in fact, even observing/detecting speciation (one species becoming two, in case I didn’t spell that coherently) can be difficult and controversial (among evolutionary biologists!).  I think a peer reviewed study that would meet your criteria would be a very very long time in the making, and I for one am not surprised it’s not easy to come by that sort of study.  

            Here’s a study that is one of the first actual records of natural selection acting on a population: http://students.clarku.edu/~rking/bumpusI.pdf (the only pdf I could find online is some sort of class exercise, but the actual paper and data is there).  In the last 150 years there have been many more papers like this, though the statistics can get complicated for a lay person (or a grad student (like myself)).  

            I believe God created the earth.  I also believe natural selection happens.  I believe natural selection could lead to “macroevolution” and that the evidence points strongly in that direction.  I also believe that the way we live in the light of the Gospel, is far more important than what we believe about the precise details of the earth’s creation.  

          • Richard D. Peachey

            I appreciate your honesty in admitting the scarcity of peer-reviewed scientific articles documenting macroevolution.

            There have indeed been many papers discussing fluctuations within populations of a given species, such as the one in the link you provided. But informed creationists are not disputing this. In fact, creationists were writing about these things well before Darwin proposed natural selection as his mechanism for evolution.

            You’ve suggested that the evidence points “strongly” in the direction of natural selection leading to macroevolution. The reality is that the evolutionary community itself is quite divided on this question. See my article here: (http://www.creationbc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=130&Itemid=54)

            Regarding living in the light of the Gospel, I think we have to consider what the Gospel is: free salvation of human beings from sin, through faith in Christ. But what is sin? What are human beings?Who is Christ? All these (and other) questions have the logical and theological foundation for their answers in the book of Genesis.

            Thanks very much for your contribution to this blog. I wish you all the best in your scientific studies, and in your walk with God.

          • Galapagospete

            There are many thousands of scientific papers written every year on the topic of evolution; to write a paper that encompassed every piece of evidence would hardly be practical, or even possible.

            What some people have done is write popular books based on their knowledge of the work that has been done; the books are not peer-reviewed in the sense that papers are, though the authors are biologists and will have other biologists review the manuscript.

            Try “Why Evolution is True” by Jerry Coyne, which presents the evidence for evolution.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            I’m not asking for an all-encompassing article, just a peer-reviewed research piece that has appeared in a standard peer-reviewed scientific journal documenting some sort of evidence of macroevolution. If there are really thousands, please refer me to one. Coyne’s book, as you acknowledge, does not meet my criterion. Recall that the initial challenge from Susan (“TheQ”) was for a peer-reviewed scientific article. If a popular book would satisfy that challenge, then I could easily mention several of those. So let’s stay with journals.

          • Galapagospete

            Then go back to the web site where I sent you; that’s exactly what they have there. It’s up to you to find an article that meets your requirement.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            So you can’t specify one yourself? You want me to do the work? Why shouldn’t I respond to Susan in exactly the same way? The graduate student who responded to my challenge has already admitted the scarcity of articles meeting my criteria.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Grimes/100001668000952 John Grimes

             I’m not the best person by a long shot to tell you what articles to read.; you would want a biologist for that.

            Go to the website Why Evolution is True and make your wishes known. Dr. Coyne will, I’m sure, be more than happy to give you some suggestions for specific artiles that will meet your needs.

            It’s always best to go directly to someone like that instead of asking random m people on blogs.

            Good luck!

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Tried what you suggested, John. Unfortunately, Jerry Coyne allows only media to contact him, no one else. Can’t any of you evolutionists point to one published peer-reviewed scientific research article that documents empirical support for macroevolution? If you can’t even do that, why are you twitting creationists for not specifying such an article documenting creationism?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Grimes/100001668000952 John Grimes

            PZ Myers’ email address is pzmyers@gmail.com. Jerry Coyne’s email address is j-coyne@uchicago.edu. I am sure that both men receive a large volume of email – in fact Myers states this specifically – so it might be a while before you hear back.

            I suggest that you state frankly that you are a creationist who would like references to peer-reviewed articles that support the theory that all life on Earth – including humans – have common ancestry. My guess is that it’ll take more than one paper, as they tend to be very narrow in scope, and research tends to be built on research.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Thanks for your input, John. I take it, then, that you yourself are unable to specify an article that meets my criteria.

            Instead of my writing to one of these gentlemen, and being ignored or ridiculed because of my creation viewpoint, how about if you were to send them a quick email stating frankly that you are disputing with a creationist and need some assistance. I think that would be more likely to produce a result.

            I’ll be very interested to know if anything comes back to you.

        • http://questionablemotives.wordpress.com/ tildeb

           Go to town, Richard.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Not sure what you’re intending, my friend. Have you read all the attempted responses by others, below? Can you suggest such an article yourself. Note especially the graduate student’s reply admitting the scarcity of such articles.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Ah, sorry, tildeb, I overlooked the link in your comment. I’ll have a careful look at the site and get back to you.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            A while back, Susan (“The Q”) challenged me to “post a peer-reviewed scientific article” supporting creation. I countered by asking her for such an article arguing for (not merely asserting) macroevolution. Various contributors have suggested this or that, but only “tildeb” has referred me to an actual article: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html

            I have spent time studying tildeb’s suggested article, and found it to be an interesting piece. This 1995 paper by Joseph Boxhorn does not use the word macroevolution, but it does detail several “observed instances of speciation.” The article itself is not peer-reviewed, but its bibliography lists dozens of articles from journals that presumably are subject to peer review. For the sake of discussion, I will assume the article accurately summarizes the journal items it draws on.

            1) Even if we were to grant the validity of every one of these “speciation” claims, this would exemplify “macroevolution” in only the barest, most trivial, definitional sense of that word. These are cases of (inferred) barriers to gene flow, in which (some degree of) reproductive incompatibility has arisen within a population of what had been considered a single species. No new structures have arisen; no significantly different organisms have appeared; only some kind of inability has been manifested. Fruit flies remain fruit flies; primroses are still primroses. This sort of thing may satisfy one particular concept of speciation (the Biological Species Concept, or BSC), though not necessarily others.

            2) It’s important to recognize that informed young-Earth creationists have no need to deny such instances of speciation. In fact, their position even seems to require it! This is because they understand the great biodiversity of land-dwelling air-breathing animal “species” to have arisen from just a few thousand breeding pairs (representing created “kinds”) that were on board Noah’s ark only about 4500 years ago. Creationists need those ark “kinds” to undergo lots of “speciation” within a relatively brief amount of time, which has actually led some of their opponents (such as Hugh Ross) to accuse them of being “evolutionists.” See this typical article by a creationist heartily welcoming examples of speciation: http://creation.com/speciation-conference-brings-good-news-for-creationists

            3) Some of the “observed instances of speciation” in Boxhorn’s 1995 article are questionable on various grounds. A good reference here is the book Speciation (2004) by evolutionists Jerry A. Coyne and H. Allen Orr.

            a) Re examples of plant speciation involving polyploidy (variants with different chromosome numbers), Coyne and Orr state: “But plant systematists rarely use the BSC. In particular, they almost never name autopolyploids [non-hybrid polyploids] as distinct species and instead often speak of ‘ploidal races’ within species.” (p. 327) As for allopolyploids (produced through so-called “hybridization”), if the offspring are viable, what solid basis would there have been (under a strict BSC) for categorizing the parents as two distinct species? Allopolyploidy then appears to reduce to just an interesting sort of autopolyploidy.

            b) Boxhorn’s article itself reports difficulties with several of its “observed instances of speciation.” For example, in section 5.3.2 on Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly), “eighteen labs attempted unsuccessfully to reproduce these results.”

            c) The article states (4.2), “There is no unambiguous criterion for determining that a speciation event has occurred in those cases where the BSC does not apply.” But according to Coyne and Orr, even the BSC itself is not strictly applied: “Some critics have argued that it is impossible to apply the BSC in nature because one simply cannot perform the many hybridizations needed to determine the number of biological species in one area (Sokal and Crovello 1970). However, in reality this exercise is unnecessary, for reproductive isolation can be inferred from morphological, chromosomal, or molecular traits. . . . In nearly every case, species diagnosis is based not on reproductive isolation but on fixed differences in in morphological, ecological, or molecular traits.” (pp. 36f.) The article (2.2.2) acknowledges this issue: “In practice, even strong adherents of the BSC use phenetic similarities and discontinuities for delimiting species.” But to the extent species are difficult to distinguish, speciation cannot be dogmatically stated to have occurred.

            I’m still looking for a scientific research article in a standard peer-reviewed journal that argues empirically and logically for (not just asserts gratuitously) significant macroevolution. If Susan and her associates can’t locate such an article, she might consider withdrawing her challenge to me. :)

          • Richard_Peachey

            Supplementary to what I wrote above, I recently came across Casey Luskin’s in-depth review and critique of that TalkOrigins Speciation FAQ.
            Worth perusing! http://www.discovery.org/f/8411

  • Krisw66

    I grew up going to a Presbyterian church that O really enjoyed. The people were nice, it was very positive and I loved the church camps. I hit 11 and started going to junior fellowship with the older kids on Sunday evenings. I loved that too, but there were two things that clarified to me that religion is about belief vs. facts.

    1) One of the fellowship leaders was a young man about 18-19 and he kept insisting the world was only 6,000 years old and that dinosaurs were either fake or confined to that 6,000 year time span. I had read a LOT about archaeology and paleontology (Eventually went to college for archaeology) so I really felt he was not looking at the facts. I argued with him at length, but he really just clung to that belief, because it was his interpretation of the Bible or maybe someone pounded it into his head. In any event, he wouldn’t even entertain any other possibility. It really struck me as strange. I remember asking my Mom – If God gave you a brain that questions, why would you not use it? For fear of offending God? At that moment, it occurred to me that one person investigating the history of the earth, with modern techniques, probably wouldn’t threaten God in any way. I’m guessing millions of people doing the same Thing would probably not phase him either. If he gave us the minds, the curiosity and the free will, he probably realized we’d use them to explore. He’d be disappointed if we didn’t. I doubt I could ever think up something that would ever threaten God, I’m sure he has a good head on his shoulders and amazing self-esteem. People that never think or challenge ideas aren’t more pious, just more fearful. That young man helped me come to that conclusion.

    2) that horrific movie they show about the second coming should be banned. I think it’s called, “Left Behind.” this gave me nightmares when I was 12 & I felt incredibly manipulated since my church had always emphasized love, fellowship and kindness. What a rude shock that was. It felt like extortion – you have free will, but you better accept Christ or you’ll burn in he’ll after being left on a wartorn planet with the Beast to fend for yourself. That was the tipping point for me. I’m all for good belief systems, but when you tell me I shouldn’t think too hard or I “have” to accept Christ or I’ll be tortured in hell for eternity, well, that’s where I draw the line. I love the divine positive aspects of Christanity, but I reject the negative, Threatening and ignorant ideas that humans try to push. So, I appreciate my experience in the church when I was younger, but both incidents moved me to broaden my horizons and look to becoming more spiritual vs. Religious.

    • EZK

      It’s called A Thief in the Night

  • Joe Wallen

    Evolutionary Biology is only one branch of science that reveals religion (Christianity) to be silly and wrong.

    The more literal the interpretation of scripture one uses, the more one will have to close one’s eyes to the real world.

    • Anonymous

      Hey Joe

      Hey Joe. Watch this:

      CREATION 101 with Dr. Ed Neeland
      http://www.kcc.net/cgblog/42/CREATION-101-with-Dr-Ed-Neeland.html

      • Joe Wallen

        An intelligent chemist regurgitating dozens of debunked claims.
        This man has his eyes closed.

        • R2D3

          If the universe formed naturally, where did the matter and energy come from that we
          see in the universe today since matter and energy do not form from nothingness (1st
          law of thermodynamics.) (See Living Fossils, Evolution The Grand Experiment Volume
          2)

          How could the ordered universe form from a disorderly rapid expansion or big bang
          since order never proceeds from disorder (2nd law of thermodynamics) (See Living
          Fossils, Evolution The Grand Experiment Volume 2)

          How could the first single cell organism form from chemicals spontaneously in a
          primordial soup since DNA, proteins, and functional cell membranes do not form from
          chemicals naturally in an abiotic environment. (See The Grand Experiment Volume 1)

          Why do all seven major animal phyla appear without ancestors (Cambrian Explosion)
          given the fact that one billion fossils have been collected and many of these
          fossils are soft-bodied including sea pens, jellyfish, etc. (See The Grand
          Experiment Volume 1)

          Why do we even believe in evolution if all of the major plant divisions living today
          have been found in dinosaur rock layers and appear unchanged and all of the major
          animal phyla have been found in the dinosaur layers and appear unchanged? Examples
          of modern animals with dinosaurs include parrots, ducks, owls, boa constrictors, box
          turtles, hedgehogs, opossums (alphadon), etc. (See Living Fossils, Evolution The
          Grand Experiment Volume 2)

          See:

          http://www.thegrandexperiment.com/

          • Joe Wallen

            If you really want to know the answers to those questions, go out and get an education.

            I am not going to waste my time on someone who doesn’t actually want to learn.

          • R2D3
  • Joshuamurdoch

    My own personal observation is that many are more turned off by the way the debate has been handled and a little less about the actual debate itself. Many on either side of the debate have created this tension by drawing virtual lines in the sand. By drawing such lines we show where our loyalties truly lay, not with Christ but with an idolatress evil covered with a “christian” veneer.

    While I do have my own intellectual hangs up with the debate I will say that I would not be any less amazed if God did create humanity by way of Evolutionary process nor if by our “traditional” understanding”. We can discuss the details of how, when and where to our dying breath, what matters most is that we hold that God created.

    • Richard D. Peachey

      Joshua: On what basis would you assert that a simplistic belief “that God created” is “what matters most”? God has provided a lot more information than just that in his Word. Do you think it is acceptable to God that we adopt a stance of unbelief (or supposed “neutrality”) toward something he has made very clear? 

      • jeff Taylor

        God provided precious little, indeed almost no “information” in His Word. The only “information” I remember reading is the language of the Law and the accounts of troop movements. There is simply no way to determine the literal veracity of Genesis. I’m sorry, there just isn’t. The reason there is no debate here is that two different subject matters are being discussed as though they were one.  For starters, judging by your language, your whole angle seems to be to defend your faith against the negation of its preeminence. You’re really going to attack others’ faith on this premise? That’s weak brother.

        • Richard D. Peachey

          My point to Joshua was that a lot more is said in Genesis 1 and 2 than just “God created.” There is a detailed account of what God said, what resulted, etc. for each of the six days of creation. My argument was: What basis do you even have for believing God created (as Genesis 1:1 states) if you ignore the rest of the early chapters of Genesis?

          Hope that clarifies.

          Regarding the veracity of Genesis, Jesus believed in its authority and historicity. So for anyone who accepts the lordship of Jesus, there ought to be a readiness to take Genesis seriously.

    • http://twitter.com/SusanRussell70 Susan Russell

      i continue to be astounded by the people who insist that a “debate” is being had.  it isn’t.  evolution by natural selection is a scientific fact.   people who understand the science are attempting to explain it to those who don’t. some take the information in and reach the conclusion that evolution is indeed a fact. those who refuse to accept the fact of evolution are merely resisting out of fear induced by faith and calling that pushback a “debate”.  it’s ridiculous.  are we going to debate gravity too?

      • Richard D. Peachey

        OK, Susan, there’s no point in debating the fact of gravity, but there can be lots of debate about the explanation for it. Likewise with the fact of biodiversity: Darwinian evolution is a highly debatable explanation for that reality. (By the way, did you know that Isaac Newton, father of the Law of Universal Gravitation, was very much a creationist? Young earth, too!)

        • Galapagospete

          “Darwinian evolution is a highly debatable explanation for that reality.”

          What makes you think that the process of evolution is debatable? What makes you think that it is more debatable than the existence of gods?

          “Isaac Newton, father of the Law of Universal Gravitation, was very much a creationist[.]”

          Isaac Newton, father of the Law of Universal Gravitation, was very much an alchemist. Just because you’re smart doesn’t mean you’re right about everything.

          It could also mean that Newton had insufficient data, an excuse nobody has today. Who knows what he would believe if he lived in modern times?

          • Richard D. Peachey

            My friend, evolution is indeed debatable. I dispute it, as do many others. If we’re in the minority, so what? Are you attempting to shut down debate? How is that different from fascism?

            The existence of God (or gods) is also debatable. Many have debated it over the years. The fact that I have a firm position on that issue does not mean I would try to stifle debate — as is the case with too many Darwinists.

            Yes, Isaac Newton was mistaken about some things (though I don’t agree his creationism was one of them). Nonetheless he was a lot smarter than most of us. Are you quite sure that you yourself have all the data necessary? (Even though you live in so-called “modern times”?)

          • Anonymous

            “…evolution is indeed debatable.”
            Well, I suppose *anything* is technically debatable, but in science, evolution is considered to be a fact, for which the theory of evolution is the explanation. And even if there was a debate going on within the scientific community about whether evolution was factual, “I dispute it, as do many others,” would not be considered a compelling argument for your side.

            “Are you attempting to shut down debate?”
            I don’t think that word means what you think it means, because unless I’m mistaken, debate is exactly what’s going on here. How do *you* define “debate”?

            “How is that different from fascism?”
            Obviously you left school before the subject of fascism was discussed, and have not troubled yourself in the time since to acquaint yourself with what a fascistic society is actually like, if simple disagreement strikes you as fascism.

            But off the top of my head, I would say that fascism would be a government that required scientists – private citizens – to take seriously the ridiculous religious beliefs of some people, and require that these scientists pursue lines of inquiry that were not only nonsense but had already been refuted time and time again, but were continually offered with with tiny, purely cosmetic changes to appear – and fail – to make them seem new.

            It would mean a government that required that these religious beliefs be taught in science class as true, or even likely, in spite of the fact that they have been made up out of whole cloth, as demonstrated by the total lack of evidence, and the total lack of understanding by their promoters as to what constitutes evidence.

            “The fact that I have a firm position on that issue does not mean I would try to stifle debate…”
            Well, you’d have to understand what debate *is* before you could stifle it, so religions usually err on the side of caution and just punish – often with extreme prejudice – those who disagree that their particular god is the correct one.

            “Nonetheless [Newton] was a lot smarter than most of us.”
            Not about whether there was a god; he had no facts that I do not, and I have hundreds of years more history than he did where there’s been no evidence of a god provided.

        • Piobairean

          Newton believed in alchemy, studied drawings of the temple in Jerusalem convinced it’s dimensions foretold the second coming of Christ, and did not believe in the trinity.  Using someone from the 17th century as an authority in science  (even Newton)  is a the height of the ridiculous. 

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Yes, Newton ought to have believed in the Trinity. That was definitely a failing on his part.

            When you say “even Newton,” that wording is an admission that he was a exceptionally great scientist, with whatever failings he may have had.

            Could the “great scientists” of today also possibly have great failings? Could their shared dogmatic belief in evolution be one of those failings?

            I mentioned Newton’s name simply because Susan brought up the topic of gravitation. But you’re correct, the fact that one person believes something is obviously not “proof” of anything. More than that, even if almost ALL scientists believed something in a particular century (e.g., caloric or phlogiston or ether), that doesn’t make it true either. Same with evolution.

      • Ian

        This hardly makes you look like a good person. And if youve ever studied logic youd realize theat your using a logical fallacy called affirming the antecedent.

        Also I think it’s worth mentioning that there are really two kinds of evolution. One is fact one is theory. The fact is Darwin was right, species adapt to their environment via natural selection. This has been observed even. It happens. Fact. The assertion that this has been happening for millions of years is only theory because it cannot be demonstrated.

  • Nonezoner

    I am not an evangelical Christian, but a mainliner Protestant.  But surprise surprise.  I am going to point to the Bible.  There are two creation stories in the book of Genesis–from two different writers reflecting two different traditions.  Genesis chapter 1 states that God made humanity in God’s image, both male and female.  BOTH male and female are made in the image of God.Chapter 2 states that man was made out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.  Then God decides man should not be alone and creates a woman out of Adam’s rib.  If this is literal, how come we have the same number of ribs?

    • Anonymous

      “Then God decides man should not be alone and creates a woman out of Adam’s rib.  If this is literal, how come we have the same number of ribs?”
      See:
      http://creation.com/regenerating-ribs-adam-and-that-missing-rib
      http://creation.com/Adams-rib

      *
      http://www.trueorigin.org/evomyth01.asp

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=516524954 Jacqui Norman

      because if person has, for whatever reason, an accidental or deliberate amputation it does not effect their genetic form.

      EG Because a person has lost an arm in an accident does not doom any children that they conceive after said event to be born with one arm!!

      and I actually think it is parable. Even if I believed it were literal it would not be possible for the ‘one less rib for all males for all time’ to be a realistic or sensible option!!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=516524954 Jacqui Norman

        sorry – should have psted this as a reply to the comment below.

    • Galapagospete

      In fairness, the story says only that he took a rib from Adam, not that he changed Adam’s DNA to cause all of his male descendents to also be missing a rib.

      Just because your father has a rib removed before you are conceived does not mean that you will be born with a similar missing rib. Biology doesn’t work that way. If it did, a great many people would be born circumcised.

  • Anonymous

    Phillip Johnson says naturalists define words like “evolution” and “science” in such a way that naturalism is true by definition. He said in World magazine: “Evolutionary science is based on naturalism and draws philosophical conclusions to that base. That’s why any theistic evolution is inherently superficial. It leads people into naturalistic thinking, and they don’t realize it.” (Nov. 22, 1997, p.13)http://www.worldmag.com/articles/1390

    • Galapagospete

      Well, that makes no sense, because you can’t define anything in such a way as to make it “true by definition.” A definition merely describes what something is, doesn’t say whether it’s true.

      But then, this is the same man who says, in the very funny article from the above link,  that “Darwinism” is crumbling because “Those people [scientists] are already fighting with each other.”

      Poor Mr. Johnson; he is apparently unaware that scientists spend a lot of their time “fighting” with each other; it’s called doing science. If I come up with a hypothesis, I have to defend it. Other scientists will attack it because it’s up to me, the person making the claim, to present the evidence supporting the claim.

      It’s the duty of scientists to attack new ideas, because if they survive the attack, it’s far more likely that they’re true, and if they don’t they’re probably wrong.

      Which is not to say that new data will not turn that around in the future.
      That’s how science works.

      And no theory, in all its particulars, is ever accepted by every scientist in the field in which it pertains. While evolution as a whole is considered true, there is much speculation and disagreement over the specific processes within evolution.

      Science isn’t perfect, because people aren’t perfect, but science is the best tool we have for learning about the natural world. And even if we knew nothing at all about the natural world, that would in no way support the belief that “the gods did it”; it would only mean that we did not know.

  • Anonymous

    “Preaching Against Evolution in Evangelical Churches Creates Atheists”

    or is it

    “Preaching For Evolution in Colleges and Universities Creates Atheists”

    • Galapagospete

      Whatever works – I’m good with both.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=516524954 Jacqui Norman

    Kirt, thank you so much for addressing this issue. I have a 26 year old daughter who is a brilliant scientist, a lovely, caring, ethical and beautiful young woman of whom I am endlessly proud. She is now studying for her Ph.D. with Cambridge University, and  at the foremost research institution in Europe, maybe even the world. As a child she had a faith in and love for God, but now does not, and this is _one_ of the key issues for her. 
    Personally, I see very little conflict. The Scientific order is so close to the Biblical order, and I have never believed in the young earth, the Bible says a thousand years is like the twinkling of an eye for the Lord. AND we know that the length of a ‘day’ is changing every year, because the moon is moving further away from earth. ( to quote one of my heros (as a dyslexic) 
    Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock  “On early Earth, when the Moon was newly formed, days were five hours long, but with the Moon’s braking effect operating on the Earth for the last 4.5bn years, days have slowed down to the 24 hours that we are familiar with now, and they will continue to slow down in the future.”) and the length of a ‘day’ is  also altered by cataclysmic events, such as the earthquake in Japan on 11th March 2011(CBS news Tech quote – ‘A new analysis of the 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan has found that the intense temblor has accelerated Earth’s spin, shortening the length of the 24-hour day by 1.8 microseconds, according to geophysicist Richard Gross at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. ‘)HOW then is it intelligent to suppose that the creation story, written to record the word of mouth history stories, when writing started, is referring to a 60 second, 60 minute, 24 hour day???The Problem I had with The Theory of Evolution was the fact that I do believe that Humankind is uniquely created in God’s image and how then could we be the descendants of another creature? Looking in to this all again recently, I was very much helped by your ‘What about Adam?’ series. We know that ‘in the image’ does not mean that God has bodies like us. We know that the Bible is meaning a Spiritual image, that we – uniquely amongst the species – have the capacity for a relationship with God.  We also know that the Bible uses anthropomorphic language to help our finite minds to understand the infinite God. Therefore, your point that He could have placed that spirit into humankind at any stage (as indeed He reawakens it at the point of Salvation in a person’s life “_I_am _a_new_creation_”)Genesis 1 v 1 gives no time scale, and is followed by two creation stories. Surely the important thing is to know that God made everything, by His Son and through the power of His Spirit …. no matter how long it took Him to do it, and by what method!!!! So many fundamental creationists use the platform of preaching to say that to accept scientific proof is to reject God and His whole Bible. A classic example of the divisive, damaging and intrinsically PROUD and self-magnifying  spiritual oneupmanship that says, on any given issue, “I have the whole truth and if you disagree with me you are wrong”.  (and yes, I have heard ”
    if you disagree with me you are wrong” specifically used in a sermon :(  )I thank you again.Jacqui

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      @facebook-516524954:disqus … thanks for this excellent comment on the issues surrounding evolution! Sorry it took me a while to comment back ;-)

  • http://www.squidoo.com/What-Evolution-Isn-t Kylyssa Shay

    Kurt Willems wrote: “I think it was atheists that pushed evangelicals to adopts [sic] such a strong
    anti-evolutionary stance.  They’re the ones who say we can’t believe in
    God because evolution is true. ”

    This is by no means correct across the board.  In fact, I am an atheist and several years ago I wrote an article titled “What Evolution Isn’t” which questions this very assertion.  Many people in the world who think evolution happened and continues to happen are Christians of one type or another.  The official stance of the Catholic Church (composed of over one billion Christians) is that evolutionary theory is correct.  Most Christians in most of Europe have no problem with evolutionary theory, either. 

    I think it’s Evangelical Christians who sincerely believe evolution theory is an evil attempt to strip away their belief in God who are behind this bizarre, anti-science movement.  As an atheist, it boggles my mind as to why they would not think their God would use the natural laws they believe He created to create life on earth.  An all-knowing, all-powerful God would know exactly how to set up the constraints of nature to ultimately create whatever He wanted.  One would think that creating man in that manner would be a million times more awe-inspiring than creating man by violating the natural laws of the universe and creating man magically.

    The science is not trying to disprove God, it’s simply observing what has happened in the past.  Claiming evolutionary theory disproves God is as illogical as saying gravitational theory disproves God.  The theory of evolution says absolutely nothing about the existence or non-existence of God or Gods. 

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      @aa2a7b357339294dbb41cde64eaa664b:disqus … for the record… I didn’t say this: “I think it was atheists that pushed evangelicals to adopts [sic] such a strong anti-evolutionary stance.  They’re the ones who say we can’t believe in
      God because evolution is true. ”

      You are quoting someone else in this thread… but certainly not me :-)

  • Ephraim7

    My comment was right on target.  If people would stop refusing to learn the truth of Genesis, you would not be having this discussion, speaking totally from ignorance of the text.

    There are no “creation stories” in Genesis.  In fact, about all of theology and creationism have no idea what Moses was writing about.  You can’t simply take an advanced book of math or science, and try to read from it on your own without personal instruction.

    For example, Genesis declares that mankind has been on this Earth, in his present likeness, for more than 60 million years.  The “male and female” in Genesis chapter one was not “Adam & Eve”.  Has modern science discovered that yet?

    Herman Cummings
    ephraim7@aol.com  

  • Anonymous

    With no examples, 
    Joe Wallen erroneously wrote: 
    “Evolutionary Biology is only one branch of science that reveals religion (Christianity)
      to be silly and wrong.”

    Contrary to ‘Evolutionary Biology”, 
    Cutting-edge science informs us that:

    - Molecules-to-man evolutionism violates the Law of Biogenesis: Life does not come from non-life.- The specific complexity of genetic information in the genome does not increase spontaneously. Therefore, there is no natural process whereby reptiles can turn into birds, land mammals into whales, or chimpanzees into human beings.

    Cutting-edge science is in accord with the Biblical creation:
    Exodus 20:11
    For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

    See:

    (1.) The Bible (Genesis 1-11)      http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%201-11&version=NIV1984(2.) Cutting-Edge ScienceCreation DoctrineWhat Does the Catholic Church Teach about Origins?
    What Does Cutting-Edge Science Teach about Origins?http://www.kolbecenter.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=83:creation-doctrine&catid=19:creation-doctrine&Itemid=81

    • Anonymous

      “Molecules-to-man evolutionism violates the Law of Biogenesis: Life does not come from non-life.”

      The theory of evolution does not have anything to do with the origin of life, and Joe is misapplying what biogenesis is about.

      Biogenesis refers to the fact that modern life forms do not spontaneously come into existence from nonliving, usually organic matter, such as mice being generated by grain, maggots from rotting meat, or bugs from leaf litter decaying on the forest floor. It has no bearing on whether simple self-replicating molecules could have been formed by some natural process, a subject addressed by the *modern* theory of abiogenesis.

      “The
      specific complexity of genetic information in the genome does not
      increase spontaneously.”

      “Specific complexity” is a phrase that has no meaning. Or at least ID creationists don’t seem to be able to explain it, which is sort of funny inasmuch as they invented it in the first place.

      And in fact, genetic information *does* increase; when a gene duplicates itself imperfectly, there is new information. Frequently it’s harmful or at best useless new information, but it’s new, and occasionally it’s beneficial.

      “Therefore, there is no natural process whereby
      reptiles can turn into birds, land mammals into whales, or chimpanzees
      into human beings.”

      Not surprisingly, since his preceding statement was incorrect his conclusion is also wrong, and this is shown by the fossil record, which totally contradicts his first two claims.

      And since chimpanzees, like humans, are modern life forms, neither *could* have evolved from the other; nor does science make any such claim. However, chimpanzees and humans are cousin species, both having descended from a common ancestor.

      “Cutting-edge science is in accord with the Biblical creation.”

      As I’ve shown, no, it isn’t; as you’ve been told many, many times before, by myself and others, cutting-edge science completely disagrees with your bible’s creation myths, Joe.

      And it always will.

  • Anonymous

    Evolution: The Creation Myth of Our Culture
    http://www.trueorigin.org/evomyth01.asp

  • JR

    Kurt,

    I grew up in a religious home and the version of Christianity that was presented to me — both at home and at church — was very black and white.  I’ve always been they type of person who asks a lot of questions.  I don’t questions things with the goal of being contrary.  Rather, I want to learn more.  Somewhere during my teenage years, I started to ask questions about my faith.  I realized that creationism simply didn’t sit right with me.  It just doesn’t make as much sense as does evolution.  I felt like all of the Christians around me seemed to equate believing in evolution with not being a Christian.  

    After my realization involving creationism, I started to realize that there were other things about Christianity (as it was presented to me) with which I couldn’t make peace.   One example is the homophobia of many church goers.  Also, I had friends who were not Christians.  I could not accept the fact that my friends — who were all very nice, kind people — would burn for eternity, while I would be on eternal vacay, simply because I was lucky enough to be born into a family that believed the “right” way, while my friends were not so lucky.  I am not able to believe in a version of religion that is so unjust.

    JR

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

      @98afd70101965335fe6e5e6ac8c6b261:disqus … your experiences are the ones that I hope to correct in the church.  Sad. Sad. Sad.  Thanks for sharing your story!

  • JenG

    I recently received a prayer request email which said “if god made the world in just 6 days, imagine what he could do in this situation!!”. My heart broke. This is exactly why evolution is so hard for people – they think 6 day creation is a more spectacular display of creativity and power than billions of years of evolution. Too bad.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7FC4FII2MM3ZXDL6E6VJSBXJ6U SteveB

    Science develops theories based on observations and reproducible
    experiments.  Religion doesn’t fit into this
    criterion.  Science doesn’t attack
    religion.  It is not a factor and is not
    addressed.  Science doesn’t say “Wow, that’s complicated.  There must be a deity at work”

     

    This upsets the religious.  They want their deity in the teachings.  They feel that science is attacking.  They have asserted that those who believe are
    not true believers.

     

    Science accepts those of any faith or precision.  Any one can join.  Can you say the same for your religion?

    • Richard D. Peachey

      Hi, Steve. A few thoughts regarding your post:

      You seem to be using “science” as a personification for “scientists.” Scientists as persons are the ones who actually develop theories.

      But noted scientists are very much on the attack against Christianity. Leaders in the scientific community, such as Richard Dawkins, Jerry Coyne, Steven Weinberg, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, have been very severe in their attacks. Not just as individuals either: they have done this within the context of “scientific” meetings as well.

      Christians are not opposed to true science. Why would we be? — We invented it! (This is a little bit of a simplification, but historians of science generally acknowledge that modern science arose within and was nurtured by a biblical worldview. Some, such as Peter Harrison, formerly at Oxford, even specify that the Protestant Reformation was a key factor in the rise of science.)

      Scientists do not necessarily accept everyone — have you watched the movie “Expelled” or read Jerry Bergman’s “Slaughter of the Dissidents”?

      Christianity does accept everyone, on the simple basis of repentance from sin and confession of Jesus Christ as the crucified and risen Saviour and Lord. People from all races, languages, backgrounds, and socioeconomic levels are welcome.

  • TexasPops

    “17 For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News — and not with clever speeches and high-sounding ideas, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power. 18 I know very well how foolish the message of the cross sounds to those who are on the road to destruction. But we who are being saved recognize this message as the very power of God. 19 As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy human wisdom and discard their most brilliant ideas.” 20 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made them all look foolish and has shown their wisdom to be useless nonsense. 21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never find him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save all who believe. 22 God’s way seems foolish to the Jews because they want a sign from heaven to prove it is true. And it is foolish to the Greeks because they believe only what agrees with their own wisdom. 23 So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended, and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. ” 1 Corinthians 1:13-23 NLT

    The Truth IS divisive! It is what separates the sheep from the goats. Just as the message of the cross is an offense to those who choose not to believe it, the message of Creation is an offense for the same reason. God thought His role as Creator was so paramount to His Word that He began the entirety of Scripture with the words, “In the beginning, God created…” (Genesis 1:1a) All of creation points people to God and inspires them to worship Him. That’s why He said in Romans 1:18-22, “18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves. 19 For the truth about God is known to them instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts. 20 From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God. 21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead.”

    God’s Word shows that He intended for His creation (specifically six-day creation) to lead people to acknowledge and worship Him. Those who choose not to worship Him do so to their own peril. Refusing to accept clear Truth is based on pride and idolatry and it angers God. Verse 19 above says that God put the knowledge of creation and its intent in man’s heart so that he is “without excuse” when he refuses to acknowledge God as Creator. Evolution gives credit to nature for what God has done and points man away from God and ultimately from Christ, Who was a part of creation as well. A true Christian simply cannot rectify evolution and creation any more than he can believe that salvation is possible through any means other than the death and resurrection of Christ.

    The creation/evolution debate is NOT a distraction to the message of Christ because what one believes about creation (and the first eleven chapters of Genesis) determines what he believes about Christ and His finished work of the cross. If God did not create the world and everything in it in three 24-hour days as He says He did, how can we know that Christ only spent three 24-hour days in the tomb? How, for that matter, can we believe anything His Word says if the first verses of it cannot be taken at face value and believed?

    I would encourage readers to visit: http://www.icr.org/ and click on the Evidence for Creation link. There is more factual evidence to support literal six-day creation than there is for any other theory of how it all came to be. Let the Truth speak for itself!

  • Diez

    Sorry, but in my mind, God’s masterpiece is not a book.  It is a universe.  If the universe and the book come into conflict, the universe wins, because the universe is where I live. 

    Science studies the universe.  It makes predictions based on experimentation.  It has created wonders that would have been unimaginable even 20 years ago and seems set to continue to do so.  Creationism, by contrast, doesn’t seem to do much.

    Science is useful.  Creationism is useless.  Science studies the universe.  Creationism largely discards it.

    Creationism loses.

    If God truly created both the universe and the Bible, and He intended for the Bible to be taken at the absolute, literal level, then God is, to put it bluntly, an asshole, and creation is a prank.  I refuse to worship a prankster god.  They tend to be dicks (see Loki).

    • s0l0m0n

      Diez,

      You are perfectly blind (blind in heart). You boasted science wonders.
      God has created the swiftest flying machine billions of years ago. You
      want to know what? It’s the (((HOUSEFLY))).

    • s0l0m0n

      Evolution is a (((HOAX))).

      If evolution was true there must be first, a creation.How can an ape
      evolute into a man if there is no ape? There’s nothing to evolute!

  • extremities

    If I had started from liberal Christianity, then I might have stayed a Christian.  But I didn’t: I started from a fundamentalist/evangelical Christianity, hit liberalism in a desperate attempt to salvage something of my faith, then crashed right on through.  So in a way I’m almost grateful to the literalists and creationists–without them I might have lacked the emotional impetus necessary to truly follow my questions through to the end and face up to what the lack of answers meant.

    • Richard D. Peachey

      I’m curious as to what your ‘questions’ were.

      (My own journey went in the opposite direction from yours. An atheist until age 22, I became a Christian and then some time later a creationist. But I was never anything so non-sensical as a ‘liberal’ ‘Christian’.)

      • Andrea

        I would be curious to hear your story.

        • Richard D. Peachey

          Hi, Andrea. Thank you for your interest.

          I was an atheist during my late teen years because I was annoyed at God for not doing things my way. At age 22 I had a series of three motor vehicle accidents within about 4 months — God got my attention. The first and second accidents were on the same afternoon. In the second one my car was hit at the back right side, which spun it around 180 degrees, leaving it pointing the “wrong” way at the side of the road. (Symbolism?) At that moment a car full of Christians, including a pastor, came by. The pastor helped me out, drove me home, and invited me to his church. I attended the next Sunday, out of gratitude (atheists do have some reasonableness). Over the next four months I met warmhearted young people, listened to sermons, voiced a lot of objections to Christianity, and engaged in a study group on the Gospel according to John. By the time we got to John chapter 8, I had become very impressed by the claims of Jesus, and with the evidence for his resurrection. My objections had largely been answered.

          My third car accident, which was my fault — I had been drinking too much alcohol — broke my self-sufficient will, and I surrendered to God. A few months later I encountered the origins issue (“evolution versus creation”). The Bible provided the initial challenge for me to explore the controversy, but my investigation was conducted along scientific lines. (That is, I didn’t take the Biblical creationist position for granted.) I was struck by the diametric opposition of the two views, especially in regard to the startup and development of the universe. The secular/evolutionary view (speaking of evolution in its broadest sense) starts with approximately zero complexity and moves “upward,” eventually arriving at the universe we now experience. The Bible, in contrast, starts with a “very good” creation and moves “downward” on account of the Fall into sin. The first and second laws of thermodynamics are broadly compatible with the Biblical view, but appeared to me to contradict the secular story. I became a creationist.

          I have continued to investigate origins-related issues over the years, earning degrees in both theology (including Greek and Hebrew) and science (biology/chemistry). For several years now, I have worked with the Creation Science Association of British Columbia, writing many of the articles on their website (http://www.creationbc.org).

          All the best to you, Andrea, in your own search for truth.

          • Andrea

            You say, “I was an atheist during my late teen years because I was annoyed at God for not doing things my way.” That sounds more like not-Christian than atheism. But allowing your self-identification, I assume that your initial atheism was more a matter of not having given your beliefs much thought, rather than being a position you came to through thought. Would that be accurate?

            Also, in regards to your mentioning the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, if my understanding is correct, it only holds within a closed system. Earth isn’t a closed system since we have a constant influx of energy from the sun.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            You’re right, Andrea, my “atheism” was more of an emotional state than a carefully-worked-out intellectual thing. I did consider myself an atheist for several years, though. My moral life slid downhill, and I became increasingly depressed and purposeless. I had no interest whatsoever in developing any intellectual arguments for my “atheism” — why (logically) should anyone work to uphold a worldview that is so nihilistic? (You may find it interesting to Google and read the article “Darwin’s Nihilistic Idea: Evolution and the Meaninglessness of Life” which appeared in the journal Biology and Philosophy, 2003, volume 18, pages 653-668.)

            Regarding the Second Law of Thermodynamics, I didn’t actually refer to the Earth but to the universe as a whole. Since the universe by definition includes all the matter and energy of the cosmos, I think you would agree that it does not exchange matter or energy with its surroundings. (Actually this makes it an “isolated” system, even more restricted than is a “closed” system, which by definition can still exchange energy with its surroundings.) Without doubt, the Second Law must apply to the universe as a whole (unless of course one believes in wormholes leading to parallel universes or other such SciFi devices).

            Evolutionists like to critique creationists re the Second Law, but creationists (leading ones at least) are better informed on thermodynamics than some evolutionists may want to believe. Biochemist Duane Gish has an interesting 60 pages on this topic in his 1993 book Creation Scientists Answer Their Critics. Also, if you go to creation.com and enter “thermodynamics” in the search engine, you’ll see what physical chemist Jonathan Sarfati has written more recently in response to such criticisms.

  • Jorian

    Treating the bible as a science book strips it of its value as a spiritual guide.

    • Richard D. Peachey

      If the Bible were a science textbook, it would have to be revised every couple of years!

      The Bible is primarily a book of history, in which God progressively reveals himself to humankind. The Bible is a valid spiritual guide because God himself is the overarching Author of the 66 books.

      In light of that reality, Bible-believing Christians affirm that wherever the Bible touches on issues related to “science,” it teaches the truth. So when the Bible teaches about the non-evolutionary origin of the cosmos, or of biodiversity, or of human beings, it presents truth. And when it takes up three chapters to describe a catastrophic year-long world-covering Flood, again it records truth.

      But if you disagree with those statements, then what basis do you have for viewing the Bible as a worthwhile ‘spiritual guide’?

      • Jacqui Norman

        presumably then Richard, you have stoned all your sons when they disobeyed you.
        And you believe that when Jesus – precious and fully God and Man – THE WORD who was there before it all began and by whom and for whom it was all created – said he taught in parables you think he must have been lying.
        Interesting.

  • s0l0m0n

    Evolution is a (((HOAX))).

    If evolution was true there must be first, a creation.How can an ape
    evolute into a man if there is no ape? There’s nothing to evolute!

  • http://twitter.com/joshkelley Josh Kelley

    I don’t have any stories per se, though I know the freedom I had to question my faith is what kept me from leaving it.

    RE: a hermeneutically sound perspective: Hugh Ross’ “A Matter of Days” is pretty good.

    • Richard D. Peachey

      Hi, Josh. Hugh Ross does have some interesting things to say in contradiction to evolution, but there are also some significant flaws in his work.

      Regarding his book “A Matter of Days” in particular, feel free to have a look at my brief critique here:

    • Richard_Peachey

      Hi, Josh. Just a quick comment regarding Hugh Ross’s “A Matter of Days.”
      I suggest to you that in fact that book is far from hermeneutically sound.
      One of Ross’s three main arguments regarding yom (the Hebrew word for day) is based on Genesis 2:4. He completely misunderstands that use of yom within a specialized, idiomatic prepositional phrase, and he then tries to apply his wrong understanding to the “days” of Genesis 1.
      For a detailed discussion of Ross’s egregious mistake here, please see my article on this topic: http://www.creationbc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=102&Itemid=54

  • http://real.uwaterloo.ca/~mboos Mike Boos

    It actually didn’t happen in university for me – when I was somewhere between grades 4 and 6, I learned about evolution, and somehow got it in my head that evolution and Christianity were incompatible. I don’t know if I should blame church, or anyone else, I just remember it happening. I kept it bottled up for months, and finally told my parents that I was having trouble believing the Bible stories they’d taught me. I remember crying “What’s the proof?” They were quite good about it, they didn’t force me, but my Dad and I read through some Josh McDowell books about how reliable the Bible was. Satisfied that Jesus was crucified and raised, my faith was restored.

    I guess I assumed creationism was part of the Christian package (I even remember going to some kind of creationist VBS as a kid) and being young and shockingly obedient, I tended to accept what I was taught. I tended to hold a rather conservative perspective on things most of the way through undergrad. I studied (well, I’m still studying, 2 graduations later!) engineering, so I’ve never encountered the challenge of a biology class. I guess the shift occurred as I began to see more and more Christians with robust faith who accepted evolution and modern cosmology. There’s a physics prof at my school that gives presentations explaining how scientists understand there was a Big Bang, but also explains how the order of the universe points him to God. So the age of the Earth (and by extension, the universe) was the first thing to shift for me. 

    Evolution was a more difficult matter. Having memorized some of Paul’s letters as a youth, it was hard to see how to understand the relationship between sin and death could play out in the world, and how the ‘first Adam’ fit in. But I’ve slowly come to terms with the fact that I’m better off seeing the world for what it is and doing the hard work of untangling a theological challenge than to ignore God’s world so that I don’t have to think when I read the Bible. 

    I’ve also recently read Peter Enns’ new book, one that I’d highly recommend. (I actually bought it in response to a small debate online with a friend over how Genesis 1 is to be understood.) The first part, understanding Old Testament scholarship, how Genesis was written, how it is best understood, is extremely helpful. (Of course, having taken a secular-taught Old Testament course in first year university, I know that seeing some of this scholarship for the first time might easily be dismissed as ‘liberal’. How I’ve grown!) I also appreciate the second half, where he tries to reconcile an understanding of Paul’s understanding of Adam, though it’s not quite as compelling. Shame I bought it as an e-book, it would be worth having on my shelf as a conversation starter or to be able to lend it out to those who are grappling with these issues.

    • Richard D. Peachey

      Hi, Mike. May I suggest to you that your earlier instinct was actually correct: evolution and Christianity truly are incompatible. If you’d like to consider my brief article on this, you’ll find it here:

      Also, there are lots of Christians of robust faith (and who have a strong science background) who do not accept evolution or modern cosmology. I recommend the articles on the Creation Ministries International website:

      • http://real.uwaterloo.ca/~mboos Mike Boos

        I’ve been on both sides, and now I know where I stand, thanks. Also, acknowledging evolutionary science doesn’t change my belief that Jesus came, lived, was crucified, was raised, and reigns now and forevermore. 

        • http://patheos.com/blogs/thepangeablog/ Kurt Willems

          @mboos:disqus … EXCELLENT COMMENT AND STORY!

  • http://cognitivediscopants.wordpress.com Chris M

    Kurt, I have not left Christianity, but I would certainly point to the dishonesty of creationist apologetics as a major factor for my ongoing doubts about the faith. I tell my story here: 
    http://cognitivediscopants.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/why-i-have-difficulty-trusting-christians/

    • Richard D. Peachey

      Chris, a few thoughts after having read your story on your website.

      (1) For an example of very honest creationist apologetics see this article: (http://creation.com/moving-forward), in which Jonathan Sarfati points out a variety of creationist “evidences” that should no longer be used. (Have evolutionists ever penned an article of this kind?)

      (2) Based on Jesus’ own approach, you should have known long ago not to put your trust in any mere human being (John 2:24).

      (3) Is it possible that you are actually being dishonest with yourself? You say you haven’t left Christianity, yet you appear to be dishonouring God’s Word with your comments on your website. This is not something the Saviour of the world taught you to do, is it? He held an extremely high view of Scripture, including even the early chapters of Genesis. (See Matthew 19:3-6.)

      • http://cognitivediscopants.wordpress.com Chris M

        Richard, in response to your points:
        1) I am quite familiar with Mr. Safarti. The fact that creationists have resiled from some of their more easily rebuttable claims doesn’t mean they are being honest with the rest. The entire scientific method is built upon the testing and falsification of hypotheses. So yes “evolutionists” are continually discarding disproven hypotheses. That’s what makes them real scientists and it’s what distinguishes them from creationists.
        2) Am I to understand that you never trusted anyone? That you never believed on faith what your parents or church taught you? That you have personally investigated everything you believe? If not, then you are in the same boat as me. We all trust people.
        3) I am doing my best to let the Bible be what the Bible actually is, rather than treating it like something it is not. If you think my blog dishonors God’s word, please interact with me there and show me where you think I have gone wrong.

        • Richard D. Peachey

          Hi, Chris.
          (1)(a) You say you’re quite familiar with him, but actually you’ve garbled his name. It’s Sarfati (Hebrew for “Frenchman”).(b) Thanks for introducing me to the verb “resile.” I hadn’t seen that one before. :) But isn’t that what scientists do on a regular basis? When evolutionists “spring back” from their previous claims (later shown to be mistaken, or fraudulent, or without proper basis) we’re told “That’s how science works.” Well, that’s how creation science works too!(2) I’m not saying I’ve never been disappointed or hurt, although I don’t think that my trust level was as high as yours. Maybe your parents were nicer than mine. For several years I was skeptical of Christianity, calling myself an atheist. But in any case, the Bible teaches that trust in people is a very perilous thing, not only in John 2:24, which I cited, but throughout. The human heart is very dark, desperately wicked in fact. We shouldn’t even trust our own selves. And we certainly shouldn’t turn against the Bible (as you appear to have done) when people grieve us. After all, the Bible itself warned us against trusting people!

          (3) Thank you for your invitation to interact on your blog. I will take you up on that, as time permits.

          Regards,
          Richard

  • Val

    As someone who is being affected by the new church doctrine – Evangelical Free’s new statement of faith insists on a literal Adam/Eve, in several ways (can’t volunteer at church, for example).  I think the new GENETIC revelations that we are not all descended from a single human breeding pair, rather, a population that, at it’s lowest, was about 10,000 (a bottleneck), I feel that the genetic evidence will usher evolution into Christian acceptance – since it is much easier to believe evolution was the mechanism for creation of humans that ‘throwing out’ the Adam and Eve story.  

    That said, I am reading through Walter Breuggermann’s book on Genesis and enjoying how the ancients viewed Genesis 1 – 11.  They were not concerned with how the earth came into existence or how humans were formed, rather, they wanted to know what humans were in the order of creator/creation/creature.  The ancients had gods in the sky, on the land and in the deeps (a mythical deep ocean full of chaotic evil).  God is revealing to them, in their understanding of the cosmos, who he is and who they are.  It was a radical idea that God would give mere man dominion over his animals and creation (earth).  Then, they get into what happens to man when he doesn’t follow God – not the origin of sin, that is our read on the text – but the tension between being created to do God’s will vs. our tendency to do our own.

    I have friends who have walked from the faith when they attempted to prove evolution wrong to atheist friends, I have agnostic friends who won’t even consider the claims of Jesus because of the churches handling of creation (making it literal).  In Canada, most kids are pretty versed in evolution, so trying to tell people who understand it , it didn’t happen with really silly pseudo science backfires.  Saying we have to believe in evolution to be saved is very bad theology.  Too bad we couldn’t spend more time on what Genesis really says.

    • Richard D. Peachey

      Val, I must agree with you that saying we have to believe in evolution to be saved would indeed be “very bad theology.” Who actually is saying such a thing? (Or did you make a typo there?)

      How would Walter Brueggemann know what concerned “the ancients”? Perhaps he ought to follow your suggestion and “spend more time on what Genesis really says.”

      For Christians and churches to hold to what the Bible plainly teaches (including its straightforward “literal” meaning in narrative sections) is the correct thing to do, and is supported by the example of the Lord Jesus, who took a very high view of Scripture. Check out this article: (http://www.creationbc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=138&Itemid=62).If genetics is a “revelation” of anything, it would be Intelligent Design. The late Antony Flew (at one time the world’s leading atheist philosopher), regarded DNA as a strong indication of the existence of God: “What I think the DNA material has done is that it has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements to work together. . . . It is all a matter of the enormous complexity by which the results were achieved, which looked to me like the work of intelligence. . . . Although I was once sharply critical of the argument to design, I have come to see that, when correctly formulated, this argument constitutes a persuasive case for the existence of God.” (See his book There Is a God.)

      • MattK

        That article did not say anything about genetics, is the link broken?

        • Richard D. Peachey

          Sorry, Matt, the link got a little garbled in the posting process. Here it is again: (http://www.creationbc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=138&Itemid=62)

          That linked article documents the high view of Scripture held by Jesus, which is what I was discussing just before giving the URL.

          The next sentence (in a new paragraph) was supposed to say: “If genetics is a ‘revelation’ of anything, it would be Intelligent Design.” And then I offer the Antony Flew quote showing how DNA (the molecule that makes up genes) pointed, in his view, to a Designer.

          Hope that clarifies!

      • Anonymous

        Flew didn’t have this kind of information on which to base his opinion about what DNA. And he certainly didn’t gain any further insight about it from his religious convictions because faith-based beliefs remain static and entrenched; scientific inquiry in contrast is dynamic and leads to new knowledge.

        Belief based on faith in supernatural causation produces no similar or equivalent new knowledge and no practical applications because it is not ‘another way of knowing’ anything about anything. It’s a way to fool one’s self into thinking that one’s beliefs accurately reflect reality.

        But the truth is that faith-based belief produces nothing but assertions equivalent to making stuff up and this is demonstrable in the tens of thousands of religions – each currently believed to represent reality – incompatible, incoherent, and in conflict with each other. That you are convinced YOU have selected the right one speaks more to your willingness to fool yourself when you brook no way to test this claim you make against reality. Believing in your belief is enough for you. This kind of belief is not equivalent to the method of science that produces ONE chemistry, ONE physics, ONE biology, and aims to find explanations about reality that are true for everyone everywhere all the time regardless of what is believed to be true about it. What you suggest is not persuasive to anyone who cares about what’s true.   

        • Anonymous

          What produces belief in creationism, which stands contrary and incompatible with evolution? The answer is unequivocal: religion.

          Consider:

          When asked what they would do if scientists were to disprove a particular religious belief, nearly two-thirds (64%) of people say they would continue to hold to what their religion teaches rather than accept the contrary scientific finding, according to the results of an October 2006 Time magazine poll. Indeed, in a May 2007 Gallup poll, only 14% of those who say they do not believe in evolution cite lack of evidence as the main reason underpinning their views; more people cite their belief in Jesus (19%), God (16%) or religion generally (16%) as their reason for rejecting Darwin’s theory.

          People can pretend all they want that science and religion are BFF, but the truth of the matter is that religious belief is incompatible with respecting the scientific method when the two make conflicting claims. Those who hold creationist beliefs reject what this method reveals ONLY when it interferes with a favoured belief. That’s not what ‘compatible’ means and people are fooling themselves to think otherwise.

          • Sandy

            I don’t think that science and religion have to be in disagreement….I think if a person believes that science is good and from God, and that God would be pleased with us using the brains He gave us to learn about the world, then it’s reasonable to think He would be there almost kinda cheering us on, like a proud parent, when we figure things out. (Ok, maybe not *reasonable, lol, but possible? This is how my brain pictures it.) I know many people who, when presented with scientific fact that *seems to go against something the Bible says, would do a little research for themselves, and if they feel the scientists are right, would change their interpretation of the Bible to line up with what science has revealed. We as Christians have done this so many times over the years, but every time it has been met with huge resistance, church splits, etc….it’s funny how we view the “big issues” of today as isolated ones, and forget that our understanding of the Bible has always been being shaped by science and more and more knowledge of the past and the cultures the Bible was written in. ;)

          • http://questionablemotives.wordpress.com/ tildeb

             Thanks for your response, Sandy. I would agree with you if we used the word ‘deism’ rather than religion… meaning it isn’t a belief in some fuzzy notion of a non-intervening god that is at issue; the problem with religion is that it establishes a set of specific tenets about cause and effect in reality that is not compatible with what we know about reality.

            You mitigate this fact by suggesting religion evolves over time to find alignment. Although this has been true over time for some notions (flat earth, geocentricity, a global flood), does that make religious belief compatible with the method of science?

            Well, let’s look at current problem, for example, of knowing that Adam and Eve cannot be an historical couple from whom the human race has descended. That claim of an historical Adam and Eve – and any historical actions attributed to them – cannot be true in reality if the science of genetics is correct. Once we undermine this specific claim by compelling genetic evidence that shows it is not true – we reveal this specific incompatibility between what is believed to be historical and what the genetic evidence clearly reveals cannot be historical. When we use science to undermine the supposed historical link, we have in effect undermined the central tenet of why Jesus had to die on our behalf. Now the best we can say is that he died for a metaphor. How many christian believers will rally around this notion comfortably? I think very, very few.

            When the story of Adam and Eve can only be metaphorical, then this causes people who appreciate just how damaging this is to the christian doctrine for the Fall to reject the specific scientific reasons here…. reasons which are ALSO the identical ones upon which we base vaccinations and establishing familial links through genetics! You can’t reject one and not the other without being open to charge of cherry picking, of intellectual hypocrisy.

            What we find is that religious believers are in the forefront of those willing to suspend the method of science  when  it causes religious angst for its conclusions… without realizing that by doing so they are rejecting a coherent and consistent methodology we know works remarkably well based solely on religious concerns for religious conclusions at odds with it. Yet it is the same methodology that informs the science we take for granted and are willing to trust with our very lives!

            And it is ALWAYS a one way process: science is the only method of inquiry into the nature of reality that produces applicable knowledge (my condolences to philosophers everywhere) because it alone links causal effects with a knowable naturalistic mechanism that works for everyone everywhere all the time. In comparison it is science alone that does any of this heavy lifting that yields reliable and consistent practical knowledge from which we create our technologies and applications that work for everyone everywhere all the time.

            Religion doesn’t do this. It produces no knowledge. It alone elevates faith to be a virtue in contrast to all other methods of inquiry that considers claims without compelling evidence to be a vice. And it divides people into faith camps… each claiming special access to divine truth about the nature of reality, its purposes and meanings. Furthermore, religion takes a leading role in resisting and interfering with scientific endeavors and its explanations whenever a major religious tenet of cause and effect is shown to be inaccurate. Of course, religion does not come equipped to be self-correcting because its method of inquiry presumes the conclusion first and then tries vainly to substantiate it, a methodology rejected by science because it simply doesn’t work.

            So you’re right: science and religion don’t have to be in disagreement as long as religion always grants to Caesar – in this case the method of science about the reality of this universe we inhabit – what is rightfully Caesar’s.
             

          • http://questionablemotives.wordpress.com/ tildeb

             Sorry. There should be after the word ‘method’.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            The science of sending a man to the moon is NOT the same sort of thing as the “science” of speculative reconstruction of the past. Laboratory or field science is repeatable, testable, empirical, falsifiable, whereas “historical” sciences (evolutionary biology, historical geology, and creation science) depend on (sometimes tenuous) chains of inference. Doubting an instance of the latter does NOT entail that a person rejects the former.

            True religion does involve true knowledge, revealed by the omniscient God who is able to communicate with persons created in his image. God created man to do science (among other mandates), and his Word provides the general framework, and the motivations, for the scientific enterprise. Modern science (i.e., the scientific method) arose in a context of acceptance of the biblical worldview; many branches of science were founded by men who respected the Bible’s teachings, including a historical understanding of the early chapters of Genesis. A good reference for this topic is Peter Harrison’s The Bible, Protestantism, and the Rise of Natural Science. A handy summary of Harrison’s key points can be found here: http://www.creationbc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=117&Itemid=62

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Grimes/100001668000952 John Grimes

            “The science of sending a man to the moon is NOT the same sort of thing
            as the ‘science’ of speculative reconstruction of the past.”

            It’s easy to say that now, of course, but you’re quite wrong on at least two counts.

            At one time, sending a man to the moon was not only speculative, the finest minds of the day considered it absolutely impossible. It’s easy to sneer at their ignorance now, if one is unkind enough to wish to do so, but their opinion was quite logical – it was just uninformed. (This, by the way, is why your request for a paper that “argues, on a solid logical basis” in support of a scientific principle is wrong-headed. Logic by itself cannot give us answers until it has evidence to work from.)

            Biology *is* the “same sort of thing” as engineering – although engineers and biologists might disagree! Both use the scientific method, they just work in different fields and achieve different output. But their goal is the same: to expand human knowledge.

            “True religion does involve true knowledge, revealed by the omniscient
            God…”

            Can you demonstrate that your statement is factual? For example, what special knowledge about natural phenomena has anyone ever had that could only have been acquired from an omniscient being? (No bible myths, only knowledge that has been demonstrated to be factual that we know could not have been a lucky guess or the result of human knowledge.)

            “…who is able to communicate with persons created in his image.”

            No such being has ever communicated with me, which is strange, since I am very easy to communicate with and people do so all the time.

            As for your claim that science was invented by creationists, I have no doubt that’s true. So what? It doesn’t seem to give creationists any particular advantage in doing research; atheists do just fine in the sciences.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Man was sent to the man based on empirical, repeatable, lab-tested physics — i.e., “hard science,” as opposed to the “soft science” of evolutionary biology (so described by John Horgan in Scientific American, and by others).

            My request for a paper that “argues” for evolution on a “logical” basis was intended to contrast with the frequent gratuitous references to evolution one finds in scientific articles. I’d like to see logical argument, not mere assertion. Of course I’m not looking for abstract philosophical logic divorced from any empirical evidence. (Do I really have to explain this??)

            Biologists are certainly able to use the scientific method, and so are physicists. But that’s not what they’re doing when they propound just-so stories about evolution or cosmology.

            My statements about true religion, God communicating, etc. were intended to outline (summarize) the views that were held by many who originated scientific disciplines. I’m interested to see you state you have no doubt that’s true. Since modern science began in Christianized Europe, the biblical worldview was a factor (some would say the major factor) that inspired and motivated scientific research. Why then would you try to say those who held that worldview didn’t have “any particular advantage”? Once the program was started, atheists were able to join it, but the reason it got started in the first place (and you indicate you don’t doubt this) is strongly connected to a particular (biblical) worldview.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Yikes, spending too long on the computer. Should have man was sent to the “moon.”

          • http://questionablemotives.wordpress.com/ tildeb

             Richard, you make all kinds of causal truth claims (true religion does involve true knowledge – a tautology, knowledge revealed by god- assertion without evidence, communicated by god – assertion without evidence, that god created man – assertion without evidence, god created man to do science – causal claim without evidence, god’s ‘Word’ provides a ‘framework’ – assertion without evidence, god’s ‘Word’ provides scientific motivation – assertion without evidence, modern science, and so on!) without once stopping long enough for breath to appreciate that you provide no causal evidence for ANY of them. You confuse correlation with causation (to reveal your reasoning about religious scientists, consider that priests are religious, there are pedophile priests, so religion and pedophilia are compatible! What could possibly be wrong with this reasoning?

            You insert mitigating terms like ‘speculative’ to describe endeavors that are anything but and pretend this is an accurate reflection of what’s true in practice. The science of sending a man to the moon uses the IDENTICAL methodology that informs evolution and geology.  Your arbitrary categorization has no merit in fact. And creation ‘science’ admittedly and proudly does not share this methodology… which is why it ‘ain’t no kin to no stinkin’ ‘science’!’ 

          • Richard D. Peachey

            You’ve introduced a bit of confusion here, my friend, by submitting your comment as a reply to “tildeb,” i.e., yourself.

            The historical fact that modern science arose in the context of a biblical worldview is not merely “correlation.” There is a causal connection, involving those concepts you’ve alluded to in your first sentence. Men who believed in those things founded many scientific disciplines. For more on this, see: http://www.creationbc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=87&Itemid=62

            Pedophile priests act contrary to the official dictates of their religion, just as scientists who plagiarize or conduct fraudulent research act in opposition to the standard ethics of their profession. Both should be punished severely. I’m sure you agree.

            If evolution doesn’t involve speculation, how come the stories keep changing? W. Ford Doolittle (Dalhousie University), leading theorist on the (alleged) evolutionary origins of basic types of organisms, wrote: “Evolutionary scenarios are an artform. They usefully exercise the brain, causing us to look at old data in new ways and stimulating us to collect new data. They do not have to be true!” Sounds a lot like speculation to me! See the first reviewer’s report in http://www.biology-direct.com/content/1/1/29

            That kind of thing is obviously NOT what put a man on the moon, despite your claim that they are “identical”!

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Grimes/100001668000952 John Grimes

            “‘They do not have to be true!’ Sounds a lot like speculation to me!”

            Imagination is critical to a scientist, but that does not mean that scientific theories are not true, it just means that they imagine solutions for the problem, then find put which, if any, are true by doing the research.

            Religion stops at the imagining part.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            All imaginary religions or philosophical worldviews are, of course, worthless. The New Testament writers “did not follow cleverly invented stories” (2 Peter 1:16) but were “eyewitnesses” (Luke 1:2; cf. John 1:14; 1 John 1:1-3; Hebrews 2:3).

            Anti-God folks have their own share of worthless imaginations:

            “Imagine there’s no heaven” (John Lennon).

            “… their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened….” (Romans 1:21; cf. Genesis 6:5)

            Imagination may be important for scientists (as Einstein suggested) as part of a process of doing research. But far too many “scientists” (principally cosmologists and evolutionary biologists) have become mired in the quicksand of their futile imaginations.

        • Richard D. Peachey

          I pointed out Antony Flew’s conversion from over fifty years of atheism to an acceptance of Intelligent Design, and how part of his reasoning involved the complexity of DNA.

          Your response was: “Flew didn’t have this kind of information on which to base his opinion about DNA.” And you provided this link: http://www.nature.com/news/yeast-suggests-speedy-start-for-multicellular-life-1.9810

          That link is to a Nature article titled “Yeast suggests speedy start for multicellular life,” with the subtitle “Single-celled organism can evolve multicellularity within months.”

          But this article is totally irrelevant, though the results are definitely interesting to me as a biology graduate. There is no reason to think knowledge of this experiment would have prevented Flew’s conversion to theism.

          1. The article does not in any way discuss the *origin* of DNA, which was Flew’s point of interest. Yeast cells are fully formed organisms with a full supply of the DNA they need to survive and reproduce.

          2. The yeast cells the scientists started with included some that already had a tendency to cluster and stick together. The scientists simply selected for those, and allowed them to proliferate.

          3. No genetic change (mutation) is mentioned; the research involved only a process of selection of pre-existing tendencies. The potentiality for multicellular life was already present in the original yeast cell population!

          4. The concluding paragraph of the article states: “Yeast evolved from multicellular ancestors, so it is possible that they had an easier time of recreating their ancient lifestyle. However, Ratcliff [the lead author of the study] notes that yeast became single-celled organisms billions of generations ago, and would probably have lost the genes for multicellularity.” Let’s ignore the gratuitous undocumented references to evolution and billions of generations, and just note the word “probably.” Yeast already had a history of multicellularity?? (Then nothing new has “evolved,” despite the article’s sensational subtitle!) And the scientists don’t have key information relating to the genetics of their research organisms?? (They can only say the cells “probably” don’t have genes for multicellularity!)

          Sorry, friend, this article really does nothing to help your case.

  • Anonymous

    To be blunt:  I came to the conclusion that if the people pushing creationism were lying to me, then why should I believe them when they talked about salvation? What else might they be hiding. That turned out to be quite a bit. Yeah, I’m outside the church now. 

  • Anonymous

    The blockade is very significant and meaningful. Evolution by natural selection offers a clue: the key word is ‘natural’. That means no guiding agency, no intervening designer. Life evolves and we have nothing but overlapping evidence from many different avenues of inquiry that all line up… and it doesn’t have to be this way, yet it is.

    So what? Maybe a creator got involved somewhere in deep time, somewhere prior to the pre-Cambrian blood worms from which we descend. That makes you a creationist. What is the evidence for some kind of intervention somewhere along the way? None.

    Now let’s assume the scientific method that informs evolution is solid. It is for every other application and technology we use so let’s presume it also works in evolutionary studies. What do we find?

    Well, using genetics we find the smallest possible human population from which we descend (remember, by natural selection) is about 10,000… and our common female ancestor predates our common male ancestor by about 30,000 years. Assuming the science is good – and the same results have been reproduced in three different studies now – what does this mean for christians?

    Well, it means that there is very good evidence that Adam and Eve have to be metaphorical and not historical. Many christians are okay with this and the current way around the science is to assume god selected one female from many and one male from many and simply called them the first couple. This is when the current crop of catholics like to suggest that god intervened at this point and infused a soul. How convenient.

    But we still have a problem for christians that is not rectified by this interpretation: if Adam and Eve were metaphorical, then an historical Jesus literally died for a metaphor, which is incoherent… a metaphorical death would have done just fine. If A &E were selected out of many, then they are not our historical ancestors and, again, an historical Jesus didn’t have to die.

    Evolution goes to the very heart of christianity and lays it open to rejection. This is why Albert Mohler has gone after BioLogos to get rid of anyone who suggests the biblical account of Adam and Eve is not as historically accurate as the historical Jesus; anything less undermines the central tenet of the faith.

    But the science used – genetics – works for everyone everywhere all the time. When it comes to solving this dilemma, only one is true and you simply cannot have it both ways. As they used to sing on Sesame Street, One of these things just doesn’t belong here. That’s why evolution and creationism have been, are, and forever more shall be incompatible. Anyone who tells you differently is either lying or misrepresenting what’s true.         

    • Val

      Jesus died for a metaphor?  That is one view.  Christianity has many atonement theories.  One is: Jesus died to set us free (from Satan), another, Jesus died to satisfy God’s demand for a perfect sacrifice (for our sins), another is Jesus is paying the price of Adam’s sin (and everyone else’s).  Anyways, I am a Christus Victor follower of the atonement, so, no, Jesus didn’t die for our sin’s per se, he died to set us free from evil, and his shed blood paid the ransom for us.  We may have been in bondage due to ours, or someone else’s sin (Adam’s or our ancestors), but Satan no longer has a claim on our soul/being if we have faith in Jesus’ death.

      • Anonymous

        And what is that ‘sin’ once you remove Adam from the historical and move him and his actions into the metaphorical? For what, specifically, is Jesus’ death an atonement for? The desire to know, to experience life, to grow up and be responsible for our actions? Human nature and curiosity? You see the problem?  A metaphorical Adam and Eve turns their actions into metaphor, which then turns the divine demand for the blood sacrifice of Jesus into a rather capricious one, don’t you think?

        • Val

          No.  I’m just not explaining it well.  I’ll put it this way – a young relative of mine worked on freeing slaves (bonded labourers) in a democratic, but corrupt country.  The labourers were often 5 generations in from the original debt. Therefore, they were born and raised there – no education, medical attention, etc.  Now, this was an on-going issue, and, in the past people had managed to free a few of them (the employer/slave owners were quite tricky – moving the workers from factory to factory with tips from corrupt officials).  The problem was, once the ppl. were freed, the silly factory owners, knowing these ppl. couldn’t find jobs or function at all in the ‘real’ world, would get their cronies to offer ‘money lending services’ to the legally freed workers/slaves.  Once they landed back in debt, they would be returned to the (or a) factory – sometimes transferred far from their local area -  and beaten for being freed.  My relative was working with freed labourers so they wouldn’t fall back under slavery.   

          Yeah, it sucks.  But here’s the parallel – we are born into Satan’s world – God created it good – we were to tend it for God, but Satan corrupted it, and caused us to live under his rule – the Bible really doesn’t say how, just that Satan is the prince of this world.  We, who knows how, are born under Satan’s control (like the kids, and grandkids of the labourers).  We are supposed to be stewarts of this earth, for God.  But, it is Satan who reaps the benefits of our labours.  Like the factory owners and slaves, we (slaves) work hard, he (Satan/Factory owners) get the benefit.

          Think of sin on a grand scale. Think of us over-using resources, so our future generations suffer – lack of clean water in many areas of the world, due to deforestation.  Industrial waste hurting poor people down stream/current, kids born with defects.  Crime, especially violent or exploitive crime against children, oppression, racism and on and on.  This beautifully made world is corrupt, mostly due to humans.  In the west, we are often insulated from much of the corruption – we have generally good governments, low crime rates, a good standard of living.  But, we won the birth lottery.  I lived in the eighth poorest country in the world for a year.  That was eye opening, especially as a woman.  I realized how free I was.  Even in a democracy, women born in many places cannot make choices on their own.  They have no means to do what they want.  If a woman gets any wealth, her extended family would take it from her, police didn’t protect women, and besides, the male relative would just bribe them to see it his way. 

          The world feels the effects of sin.  It groans under the corruption/violence/ greed.  Jesus was freeing us spiritually, to see how awful our world has become under our sinful control, and to see a way out.  Two mellenia later, we are finally living somewhat closer to the ideal – all humans equal (a radical Christian idea, never before seen in agricultural societies), free (rarely found, hard to maintain) and against corruption (again, hard to maintain) in the west.  We are doing better than any society before us (statistically, we live better than medieval royalty).  The question is, can we see what we were set free to do?  To go heal the world, or are we going to fight over silly things like earth’s origins vs. pseudo science, doctrine, earthly authority?  Or, are we going to go live like Christ, and set people free from destructive paths, oppression and inequality?

          To me, anyways, it isn’t about who sinned first, it is about being free from the evil one’s lies and snares (lies, that the world is Okay the way it is).  It was the deeply ingrained teachings of a bunch of poor apostles thousands of years before who showed a modern western society the intrinsic worth of each human being (not just citizens).  That in itself is radical if you compare it to the religions of the past – kings were gods, the rich were blessed, the poor were cursed and slaves were forgotten.  Jesus came to teach us to be free in our minds and free others in their troubles.  His death broke the curse Satan had placed us under (legitimately through our ancestor’s sins  or, more likely, not – through deception of entitlement to lord over one another), but once freed, it is up to us to live like we are and free others.

          • Anonymous

            Val, that is a very… generous interpretation of scripture. You make many claims so I bring to bear my standard question: Are these claims true, and how do you know? Another way to think of my approach is to consider this question: what evidence would be acceptable to show you that your claims are wrong?

            I think you can see my problem in your interpretation that involves so many untestable claims with no way of knowing if they are true or not and many claims that are historically dubious. The one under consideration here is whether or not evolution and religious creationism can live together peacefully. The answer is an unequivocal No… unless the creationism takes the typical form of the ‘just so’ deistic tactic: where it looks exactly like natural selection.

          • Val

            LOL – yes, generous.  I was trying to steer it from the Bible to the observable world – earth: good; humans: well suited to life on earth; current situation: we’re in bad shape (something went wrong); glimmer of light: Jesus’s teachings on society: good when implemented, bad when manipulated.  And why the heck we are so programmed to destroy the planet we rely on for sustenance?  Why Jesus had to die to free us to see the way is less obvious.  I agree, call it blind faith or whatever, but I agree it isn’t provable.

            But, I am a believer (but not a Penal Substitutionary Atonement believing believer – where Adam’s sin is the reason Jesus died) and believe evolution is how we got here.  As for provable – what is one person’s miracle is another’s coincidence.  

            Since I don’t believe in a literal Adam, or at least the Adam of the OT as a clay made insta-adult (did that guy have a belly button?) who was the biological father of us all (there could have been a guy named Adam who was an ancestor of Abraham, but that isn’t what most Christians mean by literal), I too doubt the currently trendy atonement theory (only around for about 500 years give or take).  The apostles had a Ransom theory for atonement and people today call it the Christus Victor atonement theory – all this to say, Jesus dying for a metaphor (I love it, it pokes more holes in the Substitution atonement theory) isn’t applicable to all Christians, most notably the original Christians. 

            Apart from Jesus’ death, I think the observable world does show us we were made for something better than what we currently have become, so there is a tension between who we were made to be and who we are – apart from any Book.  I also think, no matter anyone’s opinion on religion, Jesus’ life was transformative for people, often for the better (but others used the Bible for the worst).  So, it may not be provable, but nor is Christ disprovable. We live very nice lives in the west thanks to Jesus’ transformative teachings.  The rest of the world (Christian or not) does not benefit as much – although thanks to science, they do have access to vaccines and the mortality rate has declined world-wide.  Think of it this way, no church no universities, no universities no modern science, no modern science no vaccines, no vaccines no guarantee you or I would be here.  So I do claim evidence for Jesus being a good force on the world, even if it is mostly despite his followers.

          • Anonymous

            Val, sorry to be so blunt but I feel I must express my criticism of your comment. You make a huge assumption when you write I think the observable world does show us we were made for something better than what we currently have become, so there is a tension between who we were made to be and who we are
             
            In a nutshell, Val, this exactly the problem between the assumption that underlies belief in creationism and what we find from reality. It also shows how belief in creationism is incompatible with reality… not only in the physical evidence we do have but in how we pretend creationism grants us some special insight into purpose and meaning and moral behaviour where none is warranted.
             
            From ex-priest MacDonald (parentheses are mine):

            Even on this theological supposition (of a benevolent god), what are we to do with the billions of years of suffering of so many animals that have come to be and then lost the evolutionary fight, and were replaced by more successful forms of life? Billions of years of meaningless, pointless suffering, with no one around to respond with awe and wonder, as human beings can. It is simply intolerable to believe that there is a god who used this method for creating us, for bringing us into being. It (evolution by natural selection) is a completely mechanistic, algorithmic process, set in motion billions of years ago, and just by chance, happened upon beings like us who can think about the universe and our surroundings, and find it full of things at which we can wonder, and consider with awe. The entire reason for the stridency of the new atheism lies right there. There is no reason to believe a god necessary for the production of this evolutionary process, and any god that was responsible for it would have to be a monster.

            Your claims about secular enlightenment values like legal equality and political freedoms coming from Jesus break down utterly on examination (we can thank Jesus for the notion of eternal damnation… a love that just keeps on giving and evidence for the faith-based antithesis of human rights, human freedom, human dignity, and human responsibility). Even here we find religious faith-based belief in a loving and benevolent god fighting tooth and nail to maintain its privileges and pious claims to continue its discriminatory practices… and a fight that continues to this day in every area of the public domain.

            Legal equality and political freedoms do not come to us from believing they are granted to us by some god and then trying to use that belief to justify we must therefore submit to a theological tyrant. This approach is incoherent. Legal rights such as equality and various freedoms are wrestled from those people and institutions that would deny us, earned by supporting the enlightened reasons for their codification into law, and maintained by vigilance from those who would give them away. And foremost among those who would willingly and gladly give away bit by bit our hard won secular rights are the religious who grant their first allegiance not to these rights and freedoms of our fellow man but to some deity who – oh, by the way – just so happens to have some rules and regulations you really should follow or risk eternal damnation. This division of allegiance to some other authority than each and every one of us – divine or mundane – undermines the very values you assume come from some proper reading of Jesus.

    • Richard D. Peachey

      As a creationist, I absolutely agree with the bulk of what you’ve written just now. So would Thomas Henry Huxley, Richard Dawkins, and many other leading scientists, past and present.

      Once that concept becomes clear for us (i.e., that the evolutionary and creationist worldviews are utterly incompatible), the next question is: Which one better fits the evidence? The evidence needs to include such empirical, observational, logical concepts as: “Life comes only from life.” “Everything that begins to exist must have an adequate cause.” “Living things look very well-designed.” “Coded information only arises from intelligent sources.” “Intricate, complex machines tend to degrade, not complexify further by natural processes.” Etc. I trust you see where I’m going.

      Science does indeed work well. But evolution is not science. It is a naturalistic philosophy masquerading as science. Employing a highly speculative reconstruction of the origin of the universe and life and biodiversity, it attempts to stifle reality.

      When I was an atheist, I accepted evolution. Now I am a Christian theist, and I accept creation as clearly taught by the Bible, the foundational book of western culture and even of science itself, as contemporary historians of science are admitting. There is no middle ground, and you are completely correct on that point, my friend.

      • Anonymous

         A couple of points: you know that only one explanation fits the biological evidence we have upon which we produce biological applications that work consistently and reliably for everyone everywhere all the time and it’s not creationism. That said, your points are simply not answered by creationism in the details available to all of us but, rather, only in a metaphysical way that you find satisfactory. Your metaphysics, however, do not use the method of science we use equally in the field of chemistry and physics and astronomy and geology as we do in biology… and so your specific cherry picking when you will and will not respect the scientific method is hardly justified except by making claims exempt from the sticky problems of evidence. I prefer remaining consistent in my respect for the method of science across all truth claims about reality.

        And to be fair, you and I remain atheists in all gods and supernatural claims… almost. In this matter only one of us makes certain exceptions to this default position of non belief. Again, I prefer remaining consistent.

        Surely the Greeks and their writings can be granted some credit for building the foundation for western civilization. After all, you rely on Aristotelian physics to inform your metaphysics on which you have built your faith-based beliefs… a natural philosophy that long predates your upstart christianity that borrows so heavily from its broken epistemology and continues to cause no end of confusion whenever it is substituted for the scientific method… always in the service of some faith-based belief that wishes to circumvent any need to account for evidence. If you remove the religious component to creationism, there is nothing to bring forth as contrary evidence to evolution. I just wish chemists and physicists and geologists et al enjoyed the same level of theologically inspired  interference that biology is forever having to deal with. Perhaps then we’d both enjoy having fewer accommodationists armed with scientific credentials.

        • Richard D. Peachey

          To the contrary, my friend, I do not “know” that only evolution fits the biological evidence. One cannot “know” a falsehood; this is a misuse of the word “know.”

          You are mistaken about evolutionary dogma creating useful biological applications. See my article on the alleged centrality of evolution to biology: (http://www.creationbc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=135&Itemid=54)

          Regarding your use of the term “atheist,” you are right in a sense. The early Christians were called “atheists” for not believing in the pagan pantheon. The issue here, though, is not one of mere consistency (“You reject all the rest, so you should reject this one too”), but truth (“Who, if any, is the real God?”). By your logic, no one should ever get married (at least, not to only one person at a time).

          For humanity as a whole, the “default position” is actually not unbelief: atheism is a minority view. (Hey: If evolution were true, the “religious” people still win! Natural selection has obviously preferred us! How much more, if Christianity is true, will we win. Either way, atheism has no future. Worth thinking about?)

          Apart from the Bible, you say, there is nothing to oppose evolution? Many would disagree with you, having been drawn first to Intelligent Design (by scientific and philosophical considerations) and later to Christianity and creationism. What do you think of David Berlinski, who is a secular Jew (i.e., an atheist) but writes cogently against both Darwinism and the “Big Bang”? What do you think of (the late) Antony Flew, world’s leading atheist for half a century but accepted Design (though not Christianity, as far as I know)?

          Wishing you all the best. I have been enjoying your incisive comments against accommodationism.

  • Atheist

    For me personally, being taught creationism did probably contribute to me becoming an atheist. I was home schooled throughout grade and high school, and I was taught young earth creationism the whole time. I’ve always been really interested in science and medicine, so I majored in biology in college. My freshman year I did spend some time trying to argue about creationism and evolution with professors and classmates, but by sophomore year I was definitely dealing with a lot of disconnect between what I had been taught at home and church and what the evidence was saying. Eventually it came down to a decision of whether I would turn a blind eye to the evidence and follow my beliefs or follow the evidence to whatever conclusion that resulted in. I followed the evidence.

    I then spent a very emotionally difficult year trying to reconcile my understanding of evolution with Christianity. I didn’t want to stop believing in God, but I wasn’t able to reconcile the two. It’s a bit odd to be agreeing with Peachey, but I agree that if there was no literal Adam, no original sin, then there was no reason for Jesus to die. I also spent some time studying various creation myths and came to the conclusion that if the Biblical creation story is just their idea about how the world came to be, and is heavily borrowed from the cultures of the time, then what’s to say that the Israelites were right about anything? What makes their ideas about their own personal god any different from the others?

    I am an atheist. I don’t know if that would be different had I grown up in a more liberal sect of Christianity.

    • Richard D. Peachey

      Right, atheists and creationists do tend to agree on the incompatibility of the evolutionary and creationist worldviews, if on not much else. Canadians (of which I am one) like to compromise and be mellow middle-of-the-roaders, but as Richard Dawkins has correctly said:

      “When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong.” (cited by Michael Shermer in Scientific American, Nov. 2006)

      Now if only Dawkins and his allies would recognize that it is his evolutionary side that is “simply wrong.”

      (By the way I also took biology in college and earned a science degree, but I remained a creationist, though not without some struggles. Thanks be to God who kept his hold on me.)

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Grimes/100001668000952 John Grimes

         I’m sure that Dawkins would agree immediately upon someone presenting evidence that actually supports creationism.

        So far, that hasn’t happened, probably because they can’t.

        • Richard D. Peachey

          John, your comment could be adequately handled by a simple counter-assertion:

          “I’m sure that Ken Ham would agree immediately upon someone presenting evidence that actually supports macroevolution. So far, that hasn’t happened, probably because they can’t.”

          But actually Richard Dawkins, as a zoologist, has already been presented with a wealth of evidence that living things are marvelously designed. I know this because he says so himself, in his book The Blind Watchmaker, especially the first two chapters. For a sampling of his words, with discussion, see my article “Dawkins and Design.” http://www.creationbc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=67&Itemid=62

          With all due respect to a notable scientist, Dawkins’s real problem would be appear to be spiritual rather than evidential.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Grimes/100001668000952 John Grimes

            You might have a point if Ken Ham was someone who came to his opinions based on evidence, but that does not appear to be the case.

            As for Dawkins, what he has been presented with is not evidence at all – much less a “wealth” of it – but only people insisting that life is too complex and works too well to have evolved by natural processes, but none of these people can explain *why* nature could not have done it; they’re just sure it couldn’t.

            If pressed, all they can come up with is a variation of “Well, *I* certainly can’t imagine how it could have happened without guidance,” which is nothing more or less than an argument from ignorance. Not evidence.

          • Richard D. Peachey

            The evidence I’m referring to (that Richard Dawkins has been presented with) is not simply people insisting on things, but the actual organisms themselves that zoologist Dawkins has studied. Have you looked at his words that I made available to you through a link?

            Speaking of Dawkins, here’s something interesting: In chapter 2 of “The Blind Watchmaker,” after describing the “good design” of bat echolocation (“theoretically sophisticated and practically ingenious,” he says), he writes: “The hypothesis that can explain bat navigation is a good candidate for explaining anything in the world of life….” (p. 37 in my copy). Only problem is, Dawkins never does return to bat navigation in the rest of this book! (Maybe he should have called his later tome Mount Impossible instead of Improbable.)

  • http://amuseorbemused.com/ JT Adamson

    My concise comment us that WOW this thread has a lot if comments, hoping to dig in on Disqus.

  • Rlvoth

    I too have experienced  youth rejecting Christianity because of their experience with Science.  It seems Evangelicals/Fundamentalists refuse to let both Science and the Bible be true. It is hard for the youth to hear more moderate views when the fundametalists are so loud.  When debating the subject, I am often accused of being an Atheist or trying to disprove the Bible.  When that happens, I always leave them with the following quote from Billy Graham: 

     “I don’t think there’s any conflict at all between Science today and the Scriptures. I think we have misinterpreted the Scriptures many times and we’ve tried to make the Scriptures say things they weren’t meant to say. I think that we have made a mistake by thinking the Bible is a scientific book. The Bible is not a book of science. The Bible is a book of Redemption, and of course, I accept the Creation story.  I believe that God did create the universe.  I believe that God created man, and whether it came by an evolutionary process and at a certain point He took this person or being and made him a living soul or not, does not change the fact that God did create man….whichever way God did it makes no difference as to what man is and man’s relationship to God.” 

    I then simply ask them to rephrase their concern in such a way that Billy Graham might still be able to be a member of their church.

    • Richard D. Peachey

      Sounds like an “argument from authority” which is of course a fallacy.

      Billy Graham ought to have held to what the Bible clearly teaches on creation. (In charity, let us suggest that he may have been simply trying to defuse the issue in order to lead people to focus on the claims of Christ and so be saved from their sins.)

      The previous writer (“tildeb”) has very forcefully shown that creation and evolution are incompatible. If evolution is true, and if it is important for our lives, then the Bible ought to have taught it. But the Bible does not teach evolution; in fact it teaches many concepts that appear strongly opposed to evolution. Also, the schemes by which compromisers have tried to reconcile the Bible with evolution and long ages are weird and wonderful. Therefore either evolution is true and the Bible false OR the other way around. You cannot *logically* believe both the Bible and evolution at the same time.

      Billy Graham has accomplished a great deal of good, but he is not a perfect man. The quote you’ve given may illustrate one of his failings.

      Anyone who makes a credible profession of faith in the crucified and resurrected Lord Jesus Christ can be accepted into church membership. But there should be some questions about whether an individual who seriously holds to Darwinian evolution ought to be allowed a *teaching* role within the church. Peace to all Billy Graham fans.

      • Ian

        And here is exactly why when a youth sees that evolution might have some validity they begin to question their faith. They’ve been taught all their life that they can’t have both, so their forced to choose between their rational mind and their faith, which is a choice that they shouldn’t have to make.

        • Richard D. Peachey

          When young people question their faith, they should be encouraged in that direction! The unexamined worldview is not worth holding (rephrasing Socrates). Evolution does have “some” validity, actually (depending how you define that rather slippery term). Population gene frequencies certainly change (so-called “microevolution”) and informed creationists accept some examples of “speciation”. Christian parents should encourage and empower their children to learn as much about evolution as they can, in great detail. Church kids should know the topic better than their peers. Christians and churches should encourage discussion, investigation, and understanding of this dominant philosophical/scientific worldview. Jesus taught that we must love God with all our mind (among other things). The Christian faith is in some ways above reason (e.g., the resurrection of Christ) but is not contrary to it. No one should be made to choose between their mind and their faith. Mindless “faith” is of little value, whether it be Christian or evolutionist.

          It is very unfortunate that many students (both creationist and evolutionist) hold their views based only (or largely) on what they’ve been told by authority figures. Consider this finding: “If the students that we studied are taken as representative of college-educated nonscientists, then it appears that a majority of people on both sides of the evolution-creation debate do not understand the process of natural selection or its role in evolution. One result of this lack of knowledge is that the debate is reduced to, as creationists argue, a dispute between two different kinds of faith. Most students who believed in the truth of evolution apparently based their beliefs more on acceptance of the power and prestige of science than on an understanding of the reasoning that had led scientists to their conclusions” (Beth A. Bishop and Charles W. Anderson, “Student Conceptions of Natural Selection and its Role in Evolution.” Journal of Research in Science Teaching 127[5]:426, 1990).Having made the above points, I reaffirm that Darwinism and Christianity are simply incompatible. Theistic evolution is one of those things that young people should definitely be encouraged to question!

  • Doc

    I grew up in Indiana in a conservative Baptist church, not too far from the Creation Museum in Kentucky. I was taught that the Genesis story was literal, that evolution was impossible and being very interested in science and math, I read many of the books that were popular at the time, like “From Goo to You by Way of the Zoo.” This was really before the Intelligent Design movement, although some of the same types of arguments were in the earlier work. I grew up with faith, was baptized and sang in the choir, etc. My studies paid off and I was accepted to MIT, where I studied physics, and in particular, astrophysics. After about two years of study at college, I just could not believe that the Genesis story could be taken as a literal account, stopped going to church and basically became an agnostic. It was not until I came back to faith by the grace of God many years later that I began to study the Scriptures with a more open mind. I also studied the symbolism and prophesies in greater detail, and because convinced that the Genesis story was symbolic and was not intended to be taken as an historical account. I believe that God’s fingerprints are all over Creation, and do not believe that science can explain many phenomena like the beginning of the Universe and the beginning of life using only random forces of nature. But I cannot believe the Universe is 5,000 years old and came about in only six “days” in the sense that most fundamentalists insist upon. I write on these topics from time to time and would be happy to share them with anyone who is interested. Please feel free to write to me at doctorpit at live dot com.

    • Richard D. Peachey

      For a concise argument that the genre of Genesis is straightforward historical narrative, see: (http://www.creationbc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=85&Itemid=62)

      It ought to be admitted at very least that Genesis is not “poetry,” as so many would like to claim. With the exception of a small sections of speech, Genesis does not meet the criteria of Hebrew poetry. Hebrew scholars recognize this.

      For an argument that the “days” of Genesis are indeed normal (24-hour) days, see: (http://www.creationbc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=82&Itemid=62), and note as well the two additional articles linked at the bottom of that page.

      The inclusion of the six days within the Decalogue, written by God directly on stone (Exodus 20:11, cf. 31:17) and the affirmation of Jesus (Matthew 19:3-6, in which the God-Man argues from both Genesis 1 and Genesis 2) are particularly strong points in the case for taking Genesis as an account of what really happened. Professed followers of the Lord Christ need to avoid the temptation to conform their thinking to the secular model of the origin of the universe, life, and biological diversity.

  • http://amuseorbemused.com/ JT Adamson

    As a Christian, heres my problem with the church: We would do well to not reject those who hold to an evolutionary view. Even if all of evolution is hogwash, I need to accept the person who embraces both Jesus and evolution. Far be it for me to judge someone’s relationship with God. also, far be it from me to fail to recognize the distinct likelihood that somewhere in my life there is a belief that is hogwash too.

    Now, here’s one of my difficulties with the idea that evolution is a scientific certainty: as I understand the manner in which evolutionists apply the scientific method to the question of origins, they are unable to acknowledge evidence of a Creator even if they find it. The “system” is pre-wired against it.

    For instance, the evolutionist wants only explanations that can somehow be reproduced in the lab. God’s creative work won’t submit to the lab, so it cannot be included. That’s cool unless God actually did miraculous things in creation, in which case, the evolutionist is prevented by his method from discovering the truth. Big problem.

    Sure, I wouldn’t be surprised if well intended Creationists are at times blind to the flaws in some of their arguements, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if well intended evolutionists ate also blinded to the flaws in their approach, and therefore their conclusions. A method that actively rejects recognition of anything other than non miraculous natural processes cannot, by design, discover the hand of the Creator.
    And yes…”by design”…pun intended. :-)

    • http://whitherthougoest.wordpress.com/ Brad Anderson

      JT, this is true only for naturalistic evolutionists. There are many theistic (not to mention Christian) evolutionists for whom there is no inherent rejection of the Creator.

      • http://questionablemotives.wordpress.com/ tildeb

        Good grief.

        Note the important name that defines evolution: NATURAL selection. Theistic evolution is not natural selection. Oh sure, theistic evolution admits to some natural selection… right up until Oogity Boogity is inserted at some point!

        Kind of defeats the point, n’est pas?

        There are priests who are religious. There are priests who are pedophiles. This does not mean that religion and pedophilia are compatible.

        There are scientists who are religious. There are scientists who are creationists. This does not mean that science and creationism (ie. theistic evolution) are compatible.

    • Richard D. Peachey

      Nicely stated. If anyone professes to trust the crucified and resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, he is my brother (or she is my sister), and I must receive him/her with all his/her imperfections, just as I need to be received with mine. I myself accepted evolution for a period of time after coming to Christ.

      Nonetheless evolution needs to be questioned hard and a church that is faithful to God’s Word will stand firmly (and intelligently, and thoughtfully) against it. A person who has professed faith in Jesus but continues to hold to an evolutionary worldview is not yet ready to take on any teaching role in the church.

    • http://questionablemotives.wordpress.com/ tildeb

       No, no, no. If there were any indications of creationism – what can more accurately be called POOF!ism – there should be evidence! There should be inconsistencies, sudden appearances, inexplicable inclusions, and so on. There should be incompatibilities like the famous ‘rabbit fossil in pre-Cambrian rock. There should be unique strands of DNA unassociated with others. But there is NONE of this! Not. One. Bit. (A question you may want to ponder is ‘Why is God hiding this creationism to make it look EXACTLY like natural selection?’)

      You have a fundamental misunderstanding of science: it is a METHOD of inquiry you use in every avenue of your life… except in matter of faith. You don’t need a lab to find your missing keys. You need to look. You need to go forth and inquire. You will never find your missing keys by throwing up your hands in capitulation and making a burnt offering in place of looking. If you accept that your missing keys are deep mystery beyond the ken of human understanding, then you have already stopped any meaningful inquiry in its tracks. THIS is creationism in a nutshell, the willingness to capitulate inquiry in favour of substituting Oogity Boogity, and this is exactly what creationism and its more modern namesake Intelligent Design is in action. And, let’s remember, such faith produces zero knowledge, zero applications, zero technologies because it stops honest and meaningful inquiry dead in its tracks. Blaming ‘science’ and some imagined ‘flaws in its approach’ for your willingness to stop inquiring honestly and substituting miraculous attributions about Oogity Boogity’s causal effects without a shred of evidence in its place is hardly a balanced alternative. You’ve simply stopped thinking and you’re okay with that.

      • http://amuseorbemused.com/ JT Adamson

        Sorry it took me so long to respond…I was locked out of my house for the last 6 days, praying about the location of my keys.

        When debating our Origins Family Tree, why must evolutionists so often choose for their topic  a Straw Man version of Creationism.  (Straw Man is right next to Piltdown Man if you’re looking for him on the evolutionary chart).

        As you put it, creationism is “the willingness to capitulate inquiry in favour of substituting Oogity Boogity, and this is exactly what creationism and its more modern namesake Intelligent Design is in action.”  Nothing could be further from the truth.

        You make an interesting argument about the scientific method, that I find my missing keys through inquiry, not by throwing up my hands and making a burnt offering.  True.  However, when my strenuous inquiry locates my keys and they are locked in a toy lunchbox,  buried in the backyard sandbox, I begin to conclude that there is an Intelligence that is responsible for their placement there (albeit a toddler intelligence), rather than supposing that random natural processes put my keys in a box and buried them.  

        A creationist has the freedom to recognize design and order when he sees it.  It’s that simple.  I don’t understand why it scares you so much that there is an intelligent school of thought about our origins that doesn’t line up with your own.   It’s fine that you disagree with me, but I’m not going to insult your intelligence and I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t insult mine.  The task of figuring out how everything came into existence is no small thing for anyone.

        I’m not “blaming science” for anything, I’m just pointing out a weakness in the evolutionary approach.  To go back to the analogy about my lost keys, one could  theorize that my keys fell slid off my dresser when a low flying plane flew over,  landing on the back of my dog who happened to be carrying a toy lunchbox in his mouth…the dog had developed a thick coat (ideal for carrying keys!), so the keys stayed with him as he walked into the back yard.  He then saw a neighbor’s cat, dropped the box and bolted away in pursuit, thus throwing the keys into the box.  In the ensuing chase, the cat ran across the box, slamming it shut.  I then called the dog back in the house, the cat ran away, and a family of squirrels took the opportunity afforded by the new found peace to bury the box in the sandbox, mistaking it for a treasure trove of acorns.

        When I dig up the keys in the box, creationist thinking provides me with the freedom to weigh which is the most logical explanation, the dog/cat/squirrel theory or the ornery toddler theory.  It isn’t Oogity Boogity.  It’s logic. 

  • Doc

    Preachy Peachy:

    I have been reading your condescending comments on this board and think that you would rather be right than lead people to Christ. Therefore, unless you can answer these questions, I would appreciate it if you would stop driving people from belief in God. The Genesis story is clearly symbolic and allegorical, and unless you can explain a literal translation in light of these questions, I hope you will allow for an honest diversity of Christian beliefs on the meaning and interpretation of Genesis. 

    1. In Genesis 1:4 God divides light from darkness. In Genesis 1:5 God calls light “Day” and darkness “Night” and there was evening and morning, the first day.  However, God does not make the Sun until the fourth “day.” See Genesis 1:16. I think most people accept that morning and evening are caused by Earth’s relative rotation to the Sun, so if Genesis is supposed to be taken literally, how do you get three “days” before God creates the Sun? (This is without even going into the supposed existence of plants before the Sun, Moon and stars).

    2. In Genesis 1:27 God makes man and woman in the same “day.” According to Genesis 2:15, God puts man alone first in the Garden of Eden, gives him alone commands (2:16-17) and then decides that it isn’t good for him to be alone (2:18). God then brings every single bird and beast to Adam for naming (2:19-20). He then causes Adam to fall into a deep sleep and makes woman out of one of his ribs. (2:21-22). Did all of what happened in Genesis 2:16-22, including Adam naming all the animals and birds, occur in a single day?

    3. Is the serpent in Chapter 3 an actual talking snake, or is it symbolic of Satan? Keep in mind that part of God’s curse is for the serpent to now have to crawl on its belly and eat dust, which would support a literal reading more than most of the text. See Genesis 3:14. 

    Whether you answer these questions or not, I hope you will accept that there are those of us who honestly believe in God, Christ and a non-literal interpretation of Genesis, along with much of the Bible.

    • Richard D. Peachey

      Friend, did you really think that juvenile mockery of someone’s surname would help advance your cause? Perhaps we could agree in future to avoid such ad hominem tactics and just stay with the issues.

      I have already addressed some of your concerns in an earlier post on this blog, but in case you missed that I’ll repeat those responses here.

      1. Regarding the creation of the Sun on the fourth day: In order to have a day/night cycle (with morning and evening), you need a rotating planet and a directional light source. God created light on Day One (Genesis 1:3), and the “separation” of light from darkness indicates that the light was directional. That God is able to produce light on Earth apart from the Sun is shown in such texts as Exodus 10:23; 40:34; Acts 9:3; Revelation 21:23. (Conversely, God can also make it dark despite the Sun’s presence, as in Exodus 10:22; Matthew 27:45.) The Bible disagrees with current secular cosmology, but there is no internal consistency in the Genesis cosmology. The creation of the Sun on Day Four is indeed a serious problem for day/age compromisers like Hugh Ross (because he wants the Sun in place prior to formation of the Earth), but not for straight-up creationists.

      John Calvin’s comment on Genesis 1:3 is noteworthy: “It did not, however, happen from inconsideration or by accident, that the light preceded the sun and the moon. To nothing are we more prone than to tie down the power of God to those instruments the agency of which he employs. The sun and moon supply us with light: And, according to our notions we so include this power to give light in them, that if they were taken away from the world, it would seem impossible for any light to remain. Therefore the Lord, by the very order of creation, bears witness that he holds in his hand the light, which he is able to impart to us without the sun and moon.”

      2. There is nothing intrinsically unbelievable about Adam accomplishing everything written about him during a single day. A good resource on this point is an article by noted creationist Russell Grigg: (http://creation.com/naming-the-animals-all-in-a-day-s-work-for-adam)

      3. Regarding the talking snake, Bible-believing evangelicals do not see this as “symbolic” of Satan. They see Genesis 3:1-5 as a historical occurrence of Satan either appearing in reptilian form or using a created animal to accomplish his evil purpose. This understanding is in line with such passages as John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:3 (cf. 1 Thessalonians 3:5); 1 John 3:8; Revelation 12:9; 20:2. That spiritual beings can invade the bodies of animals is shown in Mark 5:13. Talking animals may or may not have been typical in the Garden of Eden (C. S. Lewis’s Narnia series seems to suppose that they were), but there is a Scriptural incident of an animal being empowered by God to talk (Numbers 22:28), and Satan does possess great supernatural abilities (Revelation 13:2-4,11-15).

  • crodenberg

    I am a 85 year old retired professor with a PhD in Aerospace Engineering and am convinced that evolution is not science but a belief. The probability of nature creating DNA is zero. Even Sir Fred Hoyle stated that the probability of evolution is equal to a tornado going through a junk yard and producing a 747 airplane. This is not a science vs. the Bible problem. This is a science vs. truth. Hoyle created the panspremia theory that life must have come from aliens from outer space for those who do not want to accept a Biblical explanation. Scientists must reexamine their thinking and decide what they want to accept on faith. I have read the creation science literature and feel much more comfortable with their explanation than that of the hard core evolutionist who want to make this a science vs. religion discussion. My grandchildren have left the main stream church to join Bible churches, not because the main stream church preached creation but because the Bible churches preach the Bible.

    • Anonymous

       What’s with engineers and dentists over belief in creationism? Imagine a biologist insisting that his or her science degree grants him/her some voice over refuting the principles of aerodynamics in favour of those caused by invisible faeries? Imagine the disdain you would heap on those who reject a perfectly reasonable explanation for causal effect currently in use to adequately explain all the physical evidence and practical applications we use and trust to fly that does not include faeries! Surely such explanations that work perfectly well all the time for everyone everywhere should count more than those who insist on the alternative faerie theory – with no evidence at all – be taught in engineering schools!

      Welcome to the world of biology where evolution is a scientific foundation and any Tom, Dick, or Harry with contrary beliefs thinks him or her self justified to deny it all on the basis of religious belief alone!

      Good grief.

      That you are convinced evolution is not science but a belief is not an indictment against evolution but an indication of how little you know about evolution. And the probability problem you raise pales in comparison to calculating those you can attribute to yourself to be alive in this place at this time. It’s the lottery fallacy you are using here and insisting that no winner is possible without divine intervention because the odds are just too long. It’s a silly argument.     

      • Richard D. Peachey

        I certainly agree with your emphatic point that evolution and the Bible are thoroughly incompatible. Many commenters here need to take you more seriously on that.

        But regarding what you call the “lottery fallacy,” there really is a serious probability issue in the supposed evolutionary “origin of life” from non-living chemicals. But more than that, there is a tremendous “chemical thermodynamics” barrier to such origin. Have a careful look at my article here: (http://www.creationbc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=86&Itemid=62)

        • Anonymous

           Well, I took a careful look at your article and was immediately disappointed that I could comment on it there. Suffice to say, you present there the typical creationist argument rejected by evolutionary biologists that has been thoroughly refuted by many. You fail to account for sequence space and thus fail to account for intermediate steps fro pre-cellular  life, which cause a tremendous over-estimating of improbability of the entire process.

          That criticism aside, you assume an even greater improbability of a complex designer who intervenes at some point! Although you might pretend to argue about abiogenesis, what you really are trying to do is allow for special creationism for humanity under the radar, so to speak, without any equivalent evidence plentiful for natural selection to back this up.

          If more people actually studied evolutionary biology without this religious interference, the deplorable state of only 16% of Americans agreeing that natural selection occurs would at least be altered to reflect those of us who now understand that the earth orbits the sun (59%? Come ON people!).    

          • Richard D. Peachey

            What, you were disappointed that you “could” comment? Typo, I’m supposing. 

            The chemical evolution probability argument has been grumbled at by many, but never really refuted. The fact that it’s “typical” (as you say) implies it actually works well for us!

            Please explain to me (or provide links?) how an understanding of sequence space and (hypothetical?) pre-cellular intermediate steps would improve your chances of a naturalistic unguided chemical origin of life. I hope this will turn out to be more substantial than your link to the article about yeast supposedly evolving multicellularity.

            How can you calculate a probability for the reality of a unique entity (God) who either exists or doesn’t? There is no mathematics that can investigate such a thing. (Recall Richard Dawkins’s frustration with Ben Stein’s line of inquiry on this in the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.) The probability and thermodynamics issues for the origin of life at least are open to discussion.

            I’m not doing anything “under the radar,” my friend. I am a straight-up Christian creationist. I do indeed hold that humans were specially created. No ifs, ands, or buts. But as a biology/chemistry graduate, the supposed naturalistic origin of life is also of particular interest to me. No hidden agendas here.

            Americans should indeed be agreeing that natural selection occurs, and that the Earth revolves around the Sun. But they should not be accepting that macroevolution has occurred. (Natural selection is simply differential reproduction involving the earlier deaths of some organisms, allowing their conspecifics with other traits to proliferate in the population. This can lead to a shift in the population’s gene frequencies but not to any significant large-scale evolution.)

          • Anonymous

             Yes, a typo indeed. And I was disappointed because this is not the place for back and forth links about evolution versus religious creationism. As I pointed out earlier, if creationism produced any additional knowledge, then I’d be all ears. Until then, it’s a misnomer to call it creation ‘science’ when the scientific method is not used; instead, the empty conclusion is identical with its premise, meaning god, therefore god. Produce knowledge or get out of the way of a science that does.  

          • Richard D. Peachey

            Concerning your desire to comment on certain articles elsewhere, many of those same articles are now available for commenting on, here: http://gerdapeacheysviews.wordpress.com

            That’s my wife’s website, and she has many of my articles available for responding to. Please feel free to make comments there.

            Regarding “additional knowledge,” how much has evolutionary theory itself actually produced? Well-known Cambridge University paleontologist Simon Conway Morris, writing in the first article of the new millennium in the highly prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journal Cell, said: “When discussing organic evolution, the only point of agreement seems to be: ‘It happened.’” (Volume 100, page 1, January 7, 2000).

            Furthermore, the “scientific method” (experimental method) is appropriate for present processes but not for investigations of the past. That would include historical geology, evolutionary biology, and creation science. A different strategy is required, such as inductive inference to the best explanation.

    • Anonymous

       Oh, and the cumulative effect of pretending that belief and science can co-exist peacefully? A national disgrace in science standards. Thank goodness we can fill the university science programs with Indians and Chinese who actually know science.

      My question is, why are you okay with the US becoming a second rate country in education? Is your respecting religious belief worth it to the generations to follow? I don’t think so. I think you’re failing your in your civic duty. 

  • http://twitter.com/Jon_Wilburn Jon Wilburn

    It certainly has created questions in my mind.  I know many, many people that grew up in Christian faith and have walked away after high school – Science and creation being one of the areas.

  • Roren

    Ugh, I am at a computer without sound, but based on the title, I am excited to read this. I’m not sure if you’ll read this … comment # 184 at the time of writing … but my husband completely agrees with this. He is now an atheist, so he should know. Looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

    • Roren

      “How does the issue become a blockade for becoming a Christian or remaining a Christian?” My husband has a 120 page document of all the issues with the faith, but the rejection of science (the understanding of reality) doesn’t honour those who have been given a logical and rational mind by God.

  • http://twitter.com/ClimbingOutBlog Climbing Out Blog

    Short version::  grew up with little or no faith, became a christian as a teen, literal creationism sent me running from church, but not from god, have found a way tht for me incorporates the two and, for now anyway, that has allowed me to be comfortable marrying my logic, my understanding of science and my faith…….i posted a blog about it that you are welcome to check out…….http://climbingoutblog.com/in-the-beginning/


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