How Not to Argue Against Evolution


(Spectrumbot) #1

Adventism has consistently opposed the Theory of Evolution, based on its presumed negative implications for the church’s fundamental beliefs. This antagonism toward evolution was most famously (or infamously) expressed by Clifford Goldstein, in a 2003 Adventist Review article entitled “Seventh-day Darwinians”[1] Through the years church leaders and theologians have made many arguments against this theory and, I contend, many of them are unworthy. This essay will examine some of those arguments to explain why I believe this. In doing so I wish to first differentiate between: 1) an argument for or against some position; and 2) whether that position is true or false. While, like most people, I have a personal perspective on #2, I want the reader to be clear that I am not considering it here, at all. I am limiting, or focusing, my attention on #1 – the quality of some arguments made by Adventists in their effort to defend the classic SDA position contra evolution. Even if evolution is false, making bad arguments to further a true cause is unworthy. The ends do not justify the means.

Consider then, 5 types of argument that have been employed by SDA administrative and thought leaders, followed by my critiques.

1. Mischaracterization of what evolution is

In a 2014 sermon, Adventist General Conference president Ted Wilson declared: “evolution is not a science, it is a false form of religion and part of spiritualism.”[2] This is a very common assertion by conservative Christians, but indefensible. A full exploration of why I say this would far exceed my space constraints, so what follows is only introductory.

· Religion primarily focuses on metaphysics. In contrast, evolution is a scientific theory concerned solely with the natural world. It is descriptive not prescriptive, and appeals only to secondary causes.

· While scientism is an atheistic world view, evolution itself is agnostic about religion. Its truth or falsity may have implications about whether some theological positions are justified, but evolution – as a theory – has nothing to do with any such implications.

· Like any scientific theory, evolution both makes predictions and is falsifiable. And, like any other scientific theory, it is unrealistic to expect all data to readily fit the theory. But evolution has been successful in predicting and has not been falsified. And there are many obvious ways that it could be falsified[3]. It should be noted, however, that prediction success and to-date failure to falsify does not mean evolution is necessarily true. The same can be said for any scientific theory. Theories are probabilistic and good science is continually subjecting them to critical investigation.

However, when evolution (or any idea) is incorrectly defined, there is a greater risk of employing fallacious straw-man arguments. And, if someone pejoratively mis-defines what they are critiquing, they will fail to gain argumentative traction with a literate audience, severely undermine their personal credibility and, by implication, harm the credibility of the position they wish to advance.

2. Using consequences as an argument

This is where a perceived undesirable consequence is used as an argument against accepting something being true. The problem is that any consequence is completely irrelevant when considering truth or falsity. Since any religious group, such as Adventism, holds positions it regards as true, then challenges to those positions can be perceived as threats. The core problem here is the difference between position-holding and truth-seeking. The former has a vested interest in preserving the status quo. The latter is agnostic about outcomes.

My favorite example in illustrating this comes not from the science/religion controversy, but from the Bible. In Acts 19:23-41 a story is told, sometimes called the “Riot in Ephesus”. In it, a silversmith named Demetrius stirs up his fellow artisans and the broader population by arguing that Paul was sowing disorder in the city. But his argument centered on the negative economic consequences if Paul’s message got traction and resulted in less worship of the goddess Artemis, because their business would suffer. I think it’s a bit easier to see the illegitimacy of the argument because Demetrius is clearly the “bad guy” and Paul the “good guy” in this story. So we’re predisposed to “root” for Paul.

Here is the core argument, spoken by Demetrius and found in verses 25-27:

“You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. 26 And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. 27 There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited;”

Now, whether the silversmiths lost business has nothing to do with whether Paul’s God was true or not. But it was a powerful, though illegitimate, argument in this situation. It precipitated a riot – catalyzed much more by fear of lost income than religious zeal.

Now let’s move this problem to the context of arguments concerning the age of the earth and/or evolution. Consider, as an example, an article written by Adventist theologian John Baldwin, found as Chapter 6 in an apologetic book released in 2000, entitled: “Creation, Catastrophe & Calvary”. Baldwin makes the argument that an old earth, with the death evidence found in the geologic column record – negates the Atonement. A pretty severe consequence for Christians. I find Baldwin’s argument itself to be quite problematic, but that’s really beside the point. And the possible misuse of pointing out consequences, in the context of making an argument, can also be quite subtle. It centers on whether the referencing of consequences is descriptive or proscriptive.

Let’s say you make some argument to me, that X causes Y and, by the way, Y is bad for me. This might be merely descriptive, giving me a heads-up about consequences. But if you continue to say or infer that I ought to reject consideration of the argument because of those bad consequences, than this is proscriptive. It tries to de-legitimate the argument, or at least discourage me from objective consideration – due to negative consequences. Such considerations are irrelevant to the truth/falsity of Y, and thus are an inappropriate way to argue. In Baldwin’s article – as with others in the book – he employs pejorative language in describing the consequences. This is visible on pp. 115 & 121, where he uses phrases like “undermine the atoning power of Calvary”, “swept under the rug”, and “demolish the gospel”.

3. Calling the SDA position “biblical”

Christians generally, not just Adventists, have a habit of conflating their interpretation of the Bible with absolute certainty, by labeling it the “biblical view”. Now obviously, not all interpretations of the Bible are correct. The reality that there are thousands of Christian denominations is testimony to the fallibility of human biblical interpretation. Yet this practice, if not identified, gives the impression that an apologist is simply contrasting what God has to say about a matter, with what man says. And then, the maxim “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it” – really does apply. The catch in this rhetorical move is the difference between the actual revelation material on its face, and the interpretation of that material by a fallible human.

Some examples of Adventists employing this move are:

· “We may briefly summarize the biblical concept of the creation of life which stands in sharp contrast to theistic evolution”[4], and then this author proceeds to summarize the generally-accepted Adventist Young Earth view as the biblical concept.

· “Thank God for loyal, academically trained, consecrated, talented, intelligent, humble presenters who have faith in God’s Word and His creative power that enables all of us to find answers and reassurance in a recent literal creation by the word of the Lord.”[5]

· “These ideas question the authority of the biblical record and shove it aside to make room for evolutionary theory.”[6]

This sort of “inequality by conflation” can add unjustified authority to human interpretation. I think it is usually done innocently, but still has a harmful effect. It involves the self-deceit known as the Argument From Ignorance. That is, we cannot imagine how we could be wrong in our interpretation of something – therefore we must be correct, since we can’t come up with any believable alternative. And this is most difficult when the limit of our hermeneutical creativity is constrained by the shape of our world view.

This is especially relevant in the faith/science controversy stemming from how Genesis is interpreted. Our world view is heliocentric, but the author(s) of Genesis had radically different mental models. We read Genesis, almost invariably with our mental models driving implicit assumptions about what the text is saying. It seems plain to us, thus we must be right. It would be very helpful, in every contentious difference of religious understanding, if we could keep the qualifier “to the best of my present understanding” firmly in mind as we seek truth. Given humans’ often embarrassing history of error, such humility is surely warranted. But when we “baptize” our interpretations by giving them the label “biblical view” – we invalidly try to substitute God’s authority for our own.

4. Conflating Theistic Evolution with evolution generally

Theistic Evolution (TE) is the idea that God set evolution in motion, and usually adds the idea that God has actively directed it throughout time. In other words, what science believes has taken place is then indeed God’s chosen and guided plan. Now, in my experience, both from reading and conversation with co-religionists, there is a strong tendency to conflate TE with the much broader category of evolution, generally.

This is unsurprising in two ways. First, Christians recognize God as the creator of all things. So if evolution is proposed as the mechanism it would seem to necessitate – for good or bad – that God somehow must now assume the primary creative role. But second, as evolution has most often been regarded as the implacable enemy of (at least conservative) Christianity, it is unsurprising that many Christians would choose to link evolution and God as necessary because that produces the most onerous view of evolution to a Christian audience and thus makes it easier to demonize. Why the most onerous? Because it spotlights the glaring contrast between God, who is understood to be all-good and all-powerful, and a creation mechanism that involves massive amounts suffering and death. This sort of huge disconnect between a theory-of-origins and God-as-creator, causes near-intolerable angst for the average believer. I remember a conversation with a good friend who was supportive of the traditional creation story but realized – vaguely – that science was out-of-sync with this. And central to his bedrock reasoning for retaining a Young Earth understanding, I was told, was the unthinkable devastation to the concept of a good God that would presumably be necessitated by Theistic Evolution.

But is it necessary to make God the active driver of evolution, the one who has chosen death and suffering as creation’s mechanism? Not at all. It is only necessary to assign God the role of allowing it to occur this way, if it did, since God is sovereign. And many Christians already take this approach on another, directly parallel, issue – the Problem of Evil. Every theodicy worth considering has, as one of its arguments, the differentiation between God allowing evil – as a necessary consequence in playing out the free-will experiment – vs. directing the evil, which would be inconsistent with the necessary character of a good God.

Now please recognize that by conflating evolution generally with the more onerous and restrictive choice of Theistic Evolution, it is then necessary that no other believable explanatory options exist. That is, if evolution and TE are really the same then, at minimum, one cannot imagine any plausible alternative scenarios. But this is not the case. And note that we need not prove that some alternative type of evolution narrative is true, only that it is tenable. Remember that TE – or any other flavor of evolution that moves into the metaphysical realm – is being conceived with next to no hard information, either revelatory or naturalistic. Most everything involves significant speculation. So one merely needs to propose even one plausible alternative where God has not chosen this path, but instead only allowed it. And one component of a believable story could be to introduce the possibility of Satan’s involvement in Earth’s history, with the presumption of his downfall far earlier than Eden, the exile of the fallen angels to this planet, with their collective intelligence and a lot of time on their hands. Again, there is no requirement to prove any such scenario is true, only that it might plausibly be true considering how little we know. But this is sufficient to deprecate Theistic Evolution from an inappropriate “perch” of being the necessary, God-ordained, method – with the accompanying severe problem of God being the direct agent of suffering.

5. Attacking people who question the church’s position or rationale

This issue can have a benign face that can mask a potential underlying problem. It can manifest itself when someone, typically a church member, engages in criticism of one or more beliefs that Adventists have identified with and are invested in. The benign part comes in the form of a reasonable question: “if you don’t believe what the church teaches, why don’t you leave?” But there is a sliding scale where it becomes less and less benign, and morphs into an attack on motives and credibility of those who would question orthodoxy. This pushback often uses war terminology, suggesting that those who question are not merely seeking truth and/or are dissatisfied with current church doctrinal justification, but instead are adversaries who have ungodly intent behind their questions. Some examples:

· “Seventh-day Darwinism isn’t about “academic freedom” or “tolerance” of divergent views, but is a full-frontal assault on Adventist beliefs and should be treated as such.”[7]

· “Two worldviews are locked in deadly battle today: naturalism with its evolutionary theory and supernaturalism with its belief in Jesus Christ as the Creator … It is a major fight in the end-time controversy between Satan and Christ. … Satan has promoted evolutionary theory. It is a counterfeit religion that takes the place of Christ.”[8]

· “... be loyal to God’s Biblical truth, ... because you believe it with all your heart. Otherwise, the honorable thing is ... to resign from their position of trust. It is that important to God’s ultimate mission.”[9]

Such language can have the effect of accusing inquirers of being on Satan’s side in the Great Controversy. This is both unfair and unnecessary. The pejorative excess constitutes an Ad Hominem attack if these strong views are used as labels for people who seek better answers than those currently on offer. And this doesn’t even address the impediments to evangelism that occur when positions are grounded in premises that might only be accepted post-conversion, if at all.

This last problem I raise is especially harmful because it judges motive. It contains all the deleterious aspects of a religionist who believes they are defending God, and are also engaged in “cleaning” the church of heresy.

Conclusion

It will likely be evident to some readers that the above 5 types of argument are not specific to the controversy of evolution. They are generic, but all are playing themselves out in this context – which some are elevating into a battleground. I would also again remind the reader that my purpose in this essay is not to address the substance of the evolution debate (i.e. its truth or falsity), only the argumentative moves sometimes applied by defenders. These, I contend, are inappropriate, they add confusion not clarity, and are ultimately not God-honoring. At root here is the fundamental problem that a search for truth lets the “chips fall where they may”, but position-defense does not.

So, how do I think Adventist apologists should not proceed as they make their case? They should: not mischaracterize evolution as religious; not try to motivate rejection with reference to frightening consequences; not substitute the Adventist biblical understanding as God’s infallible message; not unnecessarily conflate evolution with Theistic Evolution when that isn’t the only option; and not characterize those who question Adventist positions, as reprobates.

Unfortunately, I’m not expecting this to happen any time soon – if at all. But diagnosing problems is the first step toward people rethinking their approaches.

Rich Hannon, a retired software engineer, is Columns Editor for SpectrumMagazine.org.

Previous Spectrum columns by Rich Hannon can be found at: https://spectrummagazine.org/author/rich-hannon

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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[1] The original Review article appears to no longer be available online. A copy of the article, however, can be found here.

[2]God’s Authoritative Voice”, paragraph 21.

[3] See: www.sciencemeetsreligion.org/evolution/falsifiable.php

[4] E. Edward Zinke, in “Creation, Catastrophe & Calvary”, p. 159.

[5] In paragraph 4 of Ted Wilson’s sermon “God’s Authoritative Voice”.

[6] Norman R. Gulley, in “Creation, Catastrophe & Calvary”, p. 126.

[7] Clifford Goldstein, “Seventh-day Darwinians”, https://www.adventistreview.org/2010-1516-14

[8] Norman R. Gulley, in “Creation, Catastrophy & Calvary”, pp. 152-153. Note that these quotes also present the fallacy of False Dilemma and mischaracterize evolution, as I discussed above in point #1.

[9] Ted Wilson, “God’s Authoritative Voice”, https://www.adventistreview.org/affirming-creation/‘god’s-authoritative-voice


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9378

(George Tichy) #2

Great article Rich!
Expect some 10 million old rocks being thrown at you!.. LOL


(Andy) #3

Though the article is maybe well intentioned and though I have not read it yet, EVOLUTION as a theory has never met the scientific test contrary to what its fiercest proponents have said thus far. The idea that one species can become an entirely different species can be best described as the “Origin of Speculation”.


(Thomas J Zwemer) #4

$There are two arguments against NeoDarwinian evolution. 1. The second law of thermodynamics — Energy runs down hill not up.Evolution declares the opposite from simple to complex. Can’t happen. 2. The time factor well stated in the book Mathematical Challege of the NeoDarwinian theory. The postulate of evolution timetime is not adequate to form a human eye let alone a modern human. Evolution depends heavily on Carbon14. It assumes A constant rain of carbon 14 while the Truth is the upper atmosphere has an increase of Carbon will the advance of civilization. of course the Ussher dating is also without basis.


(George Tichy) #5

I am not an evolutionist, I do not support it, I don’t believe in it, I can’t see how it could have happened, it makes no sense to me.

I believe in creationism, but cannot go with the Garden story. For a God who created everything in the Universe, and is probably still creating more, that story is the biggest absurd I could ever think of. An allegory? Possibly.

One thing I know though, that I actually don’t know anything about it. I also know that there are way too many people who don’t know it either, though they think they know. And they may even scorch me for revealing that they do not know…

I have found it very helpful to approach this issue with the eyes of an Agnostic Adventist. :+1: :+1:


(Steve Mga) #6

One of the Major Problems with the whole Biblical Narrative is that persons who wrote
the Scriptures – Both Old Testament and New Testament – knew about only a very
SMALL SEGMENT of the entire Earth Globe.
Europe, Asia, Australia and Islands, the whole continent of North/South “America”
were unknown and/or not acknowledged.
This includes the Flora, Fauna, and peoples.
On the other hand, their Interests were on what they Saw, Felt, Experienced, and their
QUEST for an understanding of all that in relation to powers beyond their control that
were termed God or gods.
Preservation of “writings” was limited, and that forced history and understanding to
be passed on by word of mouth – from someone else’s mouth, to my ear, from my
mouth to their ear and down the generations.

Beginning with the Enlightenment Era – Printing press, ability to correspond between
nations in LATIN [this was the Universal Language that could be understood between
persons of every Euro nation. – Latin was not big in the US so most of this communication
did not reach the Americas]. There was lots of discoveries, investigation of bones in rock,
of glaciers and their remains, rock strata on mountains, etc. All of these Mysterious things
one could see, feel, examine. Things the Biblical Record did not address, apparently did
not know about.
Many of the Scientists and Inquirers of that time were Religious trained persons.
And Men and Women have been Questioning what they see, feel, examine ever since.
Then the West opened up in America – generating “What Happened?”, questions.
As much as people Publish and go on Speaking Tours and post of YouTube, we
STILL do NOT know what happened, or why.
WHY certain Animal, Plant, Bird, Marine Life appeared and then suddenly disappeared.
I won’t even get into GEOLOGY and earth movements.


(George Tichy) #7

Another problem, Steve, is that the more we learn about our Planet, the more difficult it becomes to harmonize the “stories” (and the “theories” as well).

Also, it’s baffling to observe that the more science unveils facts about the Planet, the more some religious people fight the discoveries. Adventists have been in this “denial business” for quite awhile, and sure enough, they have intensified the fight more and more lately. It’s bad, though, that NOBODY has real answers to some very real questions.


(Steve Mga) #8

That is what happened when one preacher began looking at the post glacier tracks
in Scandinavia, others in the alps, the strata in the sides of the mountains, and then
digging around and found remains of Creation that should NOT be in those places.
These “junior scientists” began writing to each other. Eventually developed quite a
network of persons doing the same thing.
Then we had the Voyage of the Beagle as a means of Darwin’s dad to help him
understand Genesis 1 and 2 better. As he was taking Theology at the time and
preparing to become a cleric in the Anglican church.
So much for that. It wasn’t until 1859 or so he decided to publish his notes.
Darwin also got into breeding pigeons after his voyage [studying Genetics].

It is true, the SDA church had George McCready Price, but there are some who
believe he had a lot of errors in his work. He was on corresponding terms with
William Jennings Bryan of “Monkey Trial” fame [Dayton, TN]. But Bryan believed
in the 1000 year creation days. Said so at the trial. Price cautioned him not to do
so. Price was on a speaking engagement in England at the time.

Clarence Darrow – I understand that he had an SDA aunt who lived in Hinsdale.
So he would have had access to any SDA materials that Bryan did.


(Matt) #9

On the contrary, there are actually a number of relatively recent speciation events that we have observed more or less in real time. Speciation like you’re probably imagining, where animals diverge significantly in form, takes quite a long time. But it always begins with divergent populations which do not interbreed. Over time these divergent populations continue to drift apart genetically and adapt to their environments. It’s all on a spectrum. For example, although they have many morphological differences, polar bears and grizzly bears can still interbreed. More distant relatives, such as tigers and lions, can reproduce but offspring are infertile (can’t recall if it’s the males or females). We see this all across the animal kingdom, and it’s reflected in the genomes of these animals. We can see (with fairly high confidence) when the genetic lines diverged in the past. To answer your question, we even have relatively recent examples of speciation events although most of these are via polyploidy. Here are some examples:

  1. Formation of five new species of cichlid fishes which formed since they were isolated less than 4000 years ago from the parent stock, Lake Nagubago.(Test for speciation in this case is by morphology and lack of natural interbreeding. These fish have complex mating rituals and different coloration. While it might be possible that different species are inter-fertile, they cannot be convinced to mate.) Mayr, E., 1970. Populations, Species, and Evolution , Massachusetts, Harvard University Press. p. 348

  2. Rapid speciation of the Faeroe Island house mouse, which occurred in less than 250 years after man brought the creature to the island. (Test for speciation in this case is based on morphology. It is unlikely that forced breeding experiments have been performed with the parent stock.) Stanley, S., 1979. Macroevolution: Pattern and Process , San Francisco, W.H. Freeman and Company. p. 41

  3. Evidence that a species of fireweed formed by doubling of the chromosome count, from the original stock. (Note that polyploids are generally considered to be a separate “race” of the same species as the original stock, but they do meet the criteria which you suggested.) (Test for speciation: cannot produce offspring with the original stock.) Mosquin, T., 1967. “Evidence for autopolyploidy in Epilobium angustifolium (Onaagraceae)”, Evolution 21:713-719

  4. Two strains of Drosophila paulistorum developed hybrid sterility of male offspring between 1958 and 1963. Artificial selection induced strong intra-strain mating preferences. (Test for speciation: sterile offspring and lack of interbreeding affinity.) Dobzhansky, Th., and O. Pavlovsky, 1971. “An experimentally created incipient species of Drosophila”, Nature 23:289-292.

And a bunch of various examples here: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/evolution-watching-speciation-occur-observations/


(Matt) #10

I don’t think those are the only two arguments against darwinian evolution. These can be countered and shown to be false by about five minutes of research.

–1--

So there’s an easy obvious answer to this, and a second, more interesting answer. Here’s the quick and obvious answer. The second law of thermodynamics states: “In all energy exchanges, if no energy enters or leaves the system, the potential energy of the state will always be less than that of the initial state.” Essentially, this is saying that the potential energy of any system will decrease over time if no energy enters or leaves the system. That last sentence is important. The system in question must be closed. Earth is not a closed system. We receive heaps of energy from the sun, which powers all of our natural system, and allows life and complex chemistry to exist. We have loads of examples of systems which “break” the second law as you seem to define it. A refrigerator is a complex system which does not deteriorate over time. How does it work and not break the second law? Because it’s not a closed system. We plug it in so it can have an energy supply. The earth’s energy supply, the sun, will not last forever. One day it will die out, and the earth’s complex systems will no longer be able to exist unless we find an alternative external source of energy. No problem here at all to anyone who understands basic physics.

Now, the more interesting answer is that complexity and entropy are not the same thing. In fact, the laws of physics themselves indicate that as entropy (disorganization) continues to increase as the universe evolves through time, complexity (for instance, us) will first increase and then decrease as the system progresses. Here’s a really good explanation about this from my favorite cosmologist Sean Carroll: https://youtu.be/MTFY0H4EZx4

—2---

I’m not sure where you’re getting your information, but Carbon 14 is not used at all to determine the age of the earth. I imagine you’re talking about radiocarbon dating, which is one of many types of radiometric dating. Each has their own specific applications, and because of the relatively short decay period of carbon, radiocarbon dating is only useful for samples that 1) contain carbon (unlike fossils) and 2) are less than 50,000 years old! Any date you ever see a scientist quote that is older than 50,000 years was NOT produced by radiocarbon dating.

In certain environments and circumstances radiocarbon dating can be quite inaccurate because of fluctuating levels of carbon in the initial samples. But these problems are well-known and studied, and scientists avoid using carbon dating in those cases. For instance, the marine effect is known to make recently dead or even still living marine organisms appear to be 1,000 years old! These examples are trotted out as if they disprove radiocarbon dating (there’s one of those dishonest arguments against evolution). Instead, this demonstrates that scientists understand the limitations and applications of these dating technologies. The fact that young earthers trot out carbon dating as the radiometric technique to criticize tells me that they don’t really understand how any of these methods work. We can be confident about the long age of the earth for many other converging reasons.

The most important geologic clock is probably uranium-lead dating. This method of dating relies on zircons, tiny crystals formed by volcanic activity. Because of the way zircons form, it’s impossible for them to contain lead. However, these little crystals of oxygen, silica and zirconium sometimes contain trace amounts of uranium. Uranium decays at a 100% predictable rate. Because zircons never contain lead during formation, they are perfect little geologic clocks. Regardless of the environmental conditions of the time or other factors, we can measure the age of these crystals by measuring the amount of lead, which can only have come from the radioactive decay of uranium.

The fossil record itself points clearly to deep time, and is inconsistent with a single cataclysmic flood event, even if you disregard all absolute dating methods completely. Instead, we see records of many, many geologic cataclysms of various scales throughout history. We see divergent environments (desert, shallow tropical sea, dense forest) all stacked on top of one another. Each with it’s own set of animals adapted to live in that environment. It is inconceivable to me how such diverse ecosystems could be laid down so orderly, one on top of the other, in 6,000 years. The amount of biomass required to create the currently estimated amount of coal alone appears mathematically impossible on such a short timetable.


(Patrick Travis) #11

Matt, “The Evolution Controversy” by Fowler & Kuebler, Baker 2007 is a good resource for responsible assertions and questions regarding the 4 major schools. None are shoe-ins and questions remain from a human perspective for all schools.
Not a soundbite discussion. To me, at minimum a Divine Intelligent design mover. But, accept the Biblical account of a “possible” old earth and young creation of mankind. Gen. 1:1,2

From an old lump of coal that’s going to be a diamond someday. :slight_smile:
Regards,
Pat


(Allen Shepherd) #12

Without the theory, atheists would have little to stand on as far as the biological sphere. What Dawkins says is true: “Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist” This is a big deal.

Almost anything found in the biological sphere, no matter how improbable has been “explained” by evolution. When looking at complexity of life, the best explanation is intelligent design, not evolution.

There is a disconnect here. Evil was not God’s will, but the will of some of his creatures who did choose it. Did the giving of free will necessitate sin? No, not at all. Choice was necessary for love, but evil was not.

Creation is strictly God’s activity. To bring in death as God’s idea for creating really degrades his character. And besides, Paul said that the last enemy to be destroyed is death. Why would he say that if it is part and parcel of God’s will for creating things? Is God schizophrenic?

That is the problem. The spectrum. I can see the speciation you speak of in your examples (btw, what is a species?) as “microevolution” and can see it as adaption but not evolution.

The problem with this response is that thermal and UV etc energy by themselves have never been shown to develop complex systems of any kind, and tend with time to degrade them. The Miller Urey experiment showed this.(all they really got was a brown goo produced from the Maillard reaction) Unless there is a complex system to corral the energy and make it useful, there is no getting around the 2nd law. Adding energy does not do anything but make things hotter. Not more complex.


(Allen Shepherd) #13

Hallelujah! I plan to join that lump some day myself. God bless us.


(Patrick Travis) #14

1 Jn. 1 :9,10 ; 1 Jn.3 :2.
Blessings


(Allen Shepherd) #15

How Not to Argue Against Evolution

How about an article about how to argue against evolution? The folks here are pretty smart, it might help to hear from them on this issue rather than a critique of what some well intentioned folks do to resist this pernicious idea.


(Patrick Travis) #16

Allen, read the book I suggested from a human growth perspective. One does have to deal with humanity which we are apart of.


(Jeffrey Kent) #17

Very nice, well-articulated article. Thanks for sharing, Rich! The two issues that concern me most are the first and last.

Regarding mischaracterization of what evolution is, I find VANISHINGLY FEW proponents of creationism to be well informed about evolutionary theory. Straw arguments, indeed, abound. Some of the comments here (e.g., on the second law of thermodynamics, speciation, and radiometric dating) reflect this deficiency.

Regarding attacking people who question the church’s position or rationale, this more than anything else has damaged our ability to educate the Church’s membership, especially our younger people. There was a time when healthy discussion was tolerated, but that has ended spectacularly in the era of Ted Wilson. Our academics used to convene annually to discuss difficult issues, but that has been replaced by Ed Zinke/GC-funded indoctrination workshops all across the globe. Even moderates trying to point out problems with creationism have been viciously attacked and branded as dangerous. When our young people base their faith in flawed arguments rather than a personal relationship with Jesus, they fall when they learn how nonsensical some of the arguments are.

It’s become a painful time for scientists in the Church who make an effort to balance reason and faith. And sadly, American politics has greatly exacerbated the growing divide between faith and science. The “right” has declared all things “left” as evil, and has promoted a vigorous spirit of intolerance.


(Patrick Travis) #18

My personal view is you should leave American politics out of the discussion. It really has nothing to do with it. One must learn to compartmentalized and deal with many variables on their own merits. So, your comment becomes a strawman that deflects from the topic.


(Thomas J Zwemer) #19

You are correct about carbon 14. Butwrong on all other counts. the bugs were still bugs, not even butterflies. The refrigerator has to have external energy. Right on uranium but that is dating the rocks not the biology. If they were to dig me up from West Lawn some day and determine my age by the head stone they would be doing the way they measure fossils.

Remember the war in heaven was about who and creation.We have been messed with ever since. Including our minds and our biosphere. Evolution and agnosticism are hand maidens. I do it myself starts at a very early age. you say sun I say Son.


#20

Well said!

It is this level of thinking that is missing in our schools and our churches.

We must, as we progress in our understanding, be aware of these principles and use them as our foundation in the search for truth…