Let's Be Realistic: You Can't Logically Have it Both Ways!
by Richard Peachey
[Featured as an advertorial in Cascade News, University of the Fraser Valley student newspaper, Nov. 27, 2009]
A Canadian Press/Decima Research poll of 1000 adults in June 2007 found that:
• 26% believe "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so."
• 29% hold that "Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in the process."
• 34% think "Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process."
(reported by Abbotsford's Jim Coggins in BC Christian News, Aug. 2007, p. 8)
The purpose of this week’s article is to show why the 34%, the largest group of Canadians, is wrong. More specifically, my aim is to illustrate why a Christianity that takes the Bible seriously is incompatible with standard Darwinian evolution.
UFV biology instructor Barbara Moon, taking her cue from Eugenie Scott of the (U.S.) National Center for Science Education, wants to encourage her students to consider a range of "compatibilist" positions rather than feel they must choose between young-Earth creation and atheistic evolution. (See <www.ufv.ca/MarCom/newsroom/evolution.htm>.)
I interpret this as simply a calculated stratagem to entice Christian students to buy into the God-dishonouring, soul-rotting doctrine of evolution.
For the vast majority of North America’s top scientists, the only thing evolution is compatible with, is atheism! In 1998, historian of science and law Edward J. Larson and senior journalist Larry Witham published their poll of "greater" scientists, i.e., members of the (U.S.) National Academy of Sciences: "Our latest survey finds that, among the top natural scientists, disbelief is greater than ever — almost total. . . . Our survey found near universal rejection of the transcendent by NAS natural scientists. . . . Biological scientists had the lowest rate of belief (5.5% in God, 7.1% in immortality). . . . As we compiled our findings, the NAS issued a booklet encouraging the teaching of evolution in public schools. . . . NAS president Bruce Alberts said: 'There are many very outstanding members of this academy who are very religious people, people who believe in evolution, many of them biologists.' Our survey suggests otherwise" ("Leading scientists still reject God." Nature 394:313).
Greg Graffin is well-known as the lead singer/songwriter for the punk rock band Bad Religion. Under Cornell historian of evolutionary biology Will Provine, Graffin earned a PhD in zoology. His research topic was "the intersection of evolutionary biology and theology and the various forms of compatibility." Graffin summarized his results as follows: "I have found that evolutionary biologists debase religion to a significant degree to make it compatible with science. They think they are doing religious people a service by subscribing to a form of compatibilism—that is, by maintaining that religion and evolutionary biology are compatible. In most evolutionary biologists' view, there is no conflict between evolution and religion on one important condition: that religion is essentially atheistic! I know it sounds crazy, but that is the result of my dissertation" (E-mail to Preston Jones. In Preston Jones [ed.], Is Belief in God Good, Bad or Irrelevant? A Professor and a Punk Rocker Discuss Science, Religion, Naturalism & Christianity. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006, pp. 21f. For a five-minute video summary of Graffin's findings, go to <www.polypterus.org/summary.html>. See also Graffin and Provine, American Scientist 95:294-297, 2007.)
In Charles Darwin’s own life, evolutionary thinking did not complement Christianity; it replaced it. In 1876 Darwin wrote: "Whilst on board the Beagle [1831-36] I was quite orthodox [creationist]. . . . But I had gradually come by this time, i.e. 1836 to 1839, to see that the Old Testament was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos. . . . By further reflecting . . . I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation" (Francis Darwin [ed.], The Autobiography of Charles Darwin and Selected Letters. New York: Dover Publications, 1958, p. 62).
So, Christian students: if you want to follow the lead of our top scientists, or of Darwin himself, then logically, you will have to accept the "camel" of atheism (or agnosticism, if you prefer that term) into your tent along with the "nose" of evolution!
But here are a few lines of thought that may assist you to grow stronger in faith and resist pressures from your instructors and elsewhere to compromise your allegiance to Scripture:
• Jesus Christ, who is your master teacher if you are a Christian, was clearly a Biblical creationist and even a Genesis literalist (Matthew 19:3-6).
• The book of Genesis, read in a straightforward fashion, represents itself as a book of history, and Jesus and the New Testament writers viewed it as such. But the timeframe and sequence of events presented in Genesis 1 and 2 are obviously incompatible with any evolutionary scenario.
• The Bible makes no provision for evolution, as was recognized by Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson ("The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all!" Consilience. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998, p. 6). But evolution, if true, is of central importance to one's worldview. So if the Bible is really a book from God, it should have explicitly taught us about evolution (rather than making it perversely difficult for Bible-believers to accept evolution!). Therefore, either the Bible is not a book from God, or evolution is not true!
• If the evolutionary story is correct, then death (and billions of years of suffering) came before sin. Death therefore cannot logically be the penalty for sin; and this completely undermines the gospel of Christ. As Richard Dawkins ranted during a 2006 broadcast, "Oh but of course the story of Adam and Eve was only ever symbolic, wasn't it? Symbolic?! Jesus had himself tortured and executed for a symbolic sin by a non-existent individual. Nobody not brought up in the faith could reach any verdict other than barking mad!"
• And last but not least, there is no shortage of good scientific arguments against evolution (whether cosmic, chemical, or biological). I've presented a small selection of such arguments in this series of articles. But there are scads of others! A great place to further your investigation would be the international website <http://creation.com>.
Richard Peachey is UFV's first science graduate (BSc, Biology and Chemistry, 1995); he serves as vice-president of the Creation Science Association of British Columbia <www.creationbc.org>