Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Sincere Question from a Thoroughgoing Creationist

Today is the birthday of Charles Darwin. Darwin's theory of naturalistic evolution by natural selection as the explanation of the origin of species has been hailed by many as foundational to modern science. The inerrancy of the Darwinian scriptures (that there are no weaknesses in the theory of evolution) is now the official dogma of even the state of Texas. Thinking this way, we are often told, is a bedrock of all that science has accomplished over the past sesquicentennial (that amount of time, and a little more, has passed since Darwin published Origin of Species).

I'm willing to consider that. Even if I believe that naturalistic evolution does not accurately describe the origin of the world or of human beings, in the strange world of human thinking sometimes a wrong presumption can actually lead us to find the right answer for the wrong reasons. So, I'm open to the concept that Darwinian evolution is somehow a bedrock concept for all of our progress.

Still, trying to be good and scientific about it all, I'm wondering whether anyone could provide some substantiation of the claim.

  1. Why is it that a creationist could not have figure out how to split the atom?
  2. Why is it that a creationist could not have launched a man to the moon?
  3. What modern drug or medical procedure do we have today that a creationist could not have discovered?
  4. What electronic device has been developed that no creationist could have devised?
  5. Can creationists not mix chemicals?
  6. Did Alexander Graham Bell rely upon evolution to develop the telephone? Marconi? Curie? Fermi? If so, then how?
  7. Is there some mathematical breakthrough, the discovery of which is dependent upon evolution?
  8. Could creationists not have discovered DNA?

We've developed a lot of technology in the two hundred years since Darwin was born. I just am having a hard time seeing how believing in evolution is responsible for that progress. Indeed, I'm having trouble seeing how believing in evolution accomplishes anything substantive other than the avoidance of the jeers and dismissal of evolutionists. And if creationists could have accomplished any of these things as well as an evolutionist could have, then why, again, is it so critically important for the coercive power of the state to ensure that every eight-year-old be whipped into conformity on this point?

20 comments:

volfan007 said...

Bart,

It's godless man trying to avoid a righteous God's judgement. They would rather believe in evolution over a Creator that they have to answer to concerning their lives. I really believe that it's a Satanic lie that sinful man has swallowed in order to get away from the concept of God and judgement....it all just happened naturally....no God...it just happened.


Also, I know a few people who are monkey's uncles.


David

Dave Miller said...

I am a "thoroughgoing creationist" myself, Bart.

However, I will hazard an answer to your question, as an evolutionist might frame it.

Creationism is religious dogma which claims to have all truth. It therefore stifles scientific research or development that in any way disagrees with the tenets of faith.

Evolutionists believe that only they are truly "scientific" so all developments of science would be claimed by them.

The real answer to the situations posed is that there is no reason why these advancements could not have been done by a creationist.

r. grannemann said...

I've never heard an evolutionist claim what you say they claim. Is there a specific quote you are thinking of?

Isaac Newton laid the foundation for modern physics, and he was not an evolutionist. No on disputes that, and no one cares that he wasn't an evolutionist. He lived before the idea of modern evolution was developed.

Some might say evolution is the foundation of "biological" science. For "if" evolution is true, then it is the mechanism and explanation for why certain biological forms exist today and therefore has a bearing on existing biological processes.

Bob Cleveland said...

And if we came from monkeys, why do we still have monkeys?

kydo97 said...

Can not both evolution and creation intertwine? The literal intrepretation of 7 days as being 7 modern central standard time days is difficult for me to conceive yet I do not doubt it possible. However, natural selection is responsible for our athletes continuing to break world records at the olympics.
We can see through agricultural methods improvements in grains of wheat and rice which improves yield and reduces susceptibility to blight and fungus.
Certainly, if these things can evolve or change in a few short years or generations, couldn't whole new species, different from their predecessors, arise?
The whole "man came from monkey" is so overblown and irrational that people lose focus of the evolution thing.
I suggest that evolution exists within creation, not apart from it.

jmmath said...

We're not treading any new ground here, but there is,of course, no reason that any of those things could not have been done by a creationist. It just happens that the sheer volume of Darwinists in the hard sciences makes it likely that they will discover these things.
If creationists view science as Kepler said, "thinking God's thoughts after Him" then there is room for the scientific method and a multitude of discoveries and advancements.
Why so many Darwinists in the hard sciences? Peer pressure.

CB Scott said...

"Can not both evolution and creation intertwine?"

No.

Any person who believes the first eleven chapters of Genesis to be the perfect Word of God can "intertwine" nothing with nothing and come up with anything other than nothing.

Only God took nothing and combined with nothing and spoke the earth into existence. He could easily have done it in less than the time it take for the human eye to blink, but in His design He did it in six, twenty-four hour days.

He is the One God. And we all are not.

Darwin, along with his father forgot that.

cb

WesInTex said...

Kydo97

I have often heard people trying to combine evolution and creation as you suggest, however, the truth is that evolution fails more often than not. Not one repeatable example of evolution exists – and that is a fact that the evolutionists simply cant get around.

So far as the examples you sited: athletes are better today because advances in nutrition and training – not natural selection. Also, let’s not forget the chemical enhancements that are often times involved – both legal and illegal.

The grains and other agricultural products you mention are genetically engineered that why – again nothing to do with evolution. This is simply man manipulating the genetic codes for their own benefits. BTW, do you know why farmers have to buy seed every year? It’s because the seeds cannot reproduce themselves (as best as I understand).

One final thought, you write: The literal intrepretation of 7 days as being 7 modern central standard time days is difficult for me to conceive yet I do not doubt it possible.” It is much more difficult for me to believe that everything we see in our world is the product of chance or accident. Is it more difficult to believe that God could speak the world into existence in only 6 days – or that the exalted God of creation, who is infinitely holy, just and wise – would have anything at all to do with something as insignificant as man (Ps. 8:3-8)? Surely, the greatest wonder is not that Almighty God could create all things in 6 literal days. The greatest wonder is that He would love us enough to save us through His blessed Son.

Grace Always,
Wes

Bart Barber said...

R. Grannemann,

I read two separate news sources today that described Darwinian evolution as foundational to our progress in the biological sciences.

Granted, several of the items that I listed were not biological in nature, but several were.

My point, I suppose, was to separate the applied sciences from the theoretical sciences, and hopefully to demonstrate that evolutionary theory has not really helped mankind at all—has made no difference at the point of application that I can at all discern.

Which makes one wonder why all the hubbub from the evolutionists? I know why we creationists make a big deal about this—on the line is the question of whether our Creator-God exists. The validity of our scriptures and our beliefs hangs in the balance.

But if at the point of real-world application this theory makes no difference at all, why do evolutionists get so up-in-arms about it and demand total conquest in public schools and the academy?

Then again, perhaps it is as much about the validity of their faith as it is about ours. ;-)

Wally said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
r. grannemann said...

Bart,

Thanks for your explanation (I did miss your point in the original post).

And I would agree that publicly supported education should (at least) be willing to have textbooks critiqued for pejorative statements toward religion (as such statements are commonly found and often quite belligerent in the books on evolution I have at home).

However, I think I do have some insight into why "evolutionists get so up-in-arms." I go backpacking every year with a Ph.D. physicist who is very angry at the creationist crowd. The reason is he believes "truth" is being obfuscated and stupidity taught. People in general who think they know the truth tend to get angry at people who teach contrary to what they think the truth is. Just look at people's attitudes on these blogs. Same thing for secularists (though my friend actually has a lot of sympathy toward Christianity and I think may become a Christian some day).

But concerning "the validity of our scriptures and our beliefs" hanging in the balance I'm not so sure. Human beings are creatures endowed by God with a soul. If evolution is true, it just created the body.

Wally said...

Bob Cleveland said...

And if we came from monkeys, why do we still have monkeys?


bob the way these fellows cb scott and vol monkey around wirg comment ovwe on sbctoday, one begins ti wonder about creation and evolution.

W

volfan007 said...

Wally,

Are you a monkey's uncle?


David :)

kydo97 said...

Weslin,
When 2 tall people have children, their children are more likely than not, going to be tall. This is natural selection. Disregard any drug enhancement. When certain characteristics of plants are desirable, those strains of plants will likely thrive whereas the ones less adaptable will not thrive. I refer you to a milo field in which some plants are tall, some short, and some with various size grain heads on them. If left alone, without any human interference, these plants will change over time.
Take bacteria which are exposed to antibiotics for an insufficient time. If you took 80% of the drugs and theoretically killed 80% of the pathogens, then the 20% left behind would possibly be able to change, adapt, or evolve to acquire drug resistance. These are examples of evolution in process.

I wasn't there when the process started and I don't know how things have evolved or changed in the numerous generations since creation occurred, but certainly the ability to adapt to changing climate conditions is paramount to an organisms ability to survive and propagate.

How do you explain fossilized dinosaur bones?

Anonymous said...

Bart:

You are honing in on some good questions that need to be answered in our society. Christians are equally capable of doing science as non-Chrisitians or those of any other faith.

As Christians, we all believe in the physical death of the body. We do not deny that the body ages, is afflicted by disease, that the body can be destroyed etc. No Christian denies these basic scientific facts.

Therefore, Christians make good doctors, nurses etc.

But, as Christians, we all believe that God intervened supernaturally to raise Jesus from the dead. We believe that as fact. That does not make us "unscientific". It simply means that we believe God transcended the natural process that we all see and acknowledge.

The evolutionary debate is no different. The problem is knowing how God did all that He did in creation. And we simply don't know that.

For all of the strengths that the scientific community acknowledges about evolution, no natural theory of origins can explain such puzzling questions as "Where did the first matter come from?" "Where does the universe end, and what's on the other side." Nor can we get our heads around the concept that time, mass, space etc. are all relative and not fixed, as Einstein proved about 100 years ago.

These are questions that man cannot answer and that science cannot discover. So, when we do science, it is with the acknowledgement that we start with material, physical laws, etc. of which we cannot explain the origins.

So, the naturalist gets to "cheat", sort of. The lab, materials and all are set up for him. He discovers the laws that work in the phyiscal realm and extrapolates about the future and the past based on data and experimentation.

But naturalists do not allow themselves to entertain the idea that God trancends what we know, He created the world (the processes of which can be debated), and I think it on this point that Christians have the greatest contribution to make.

No naturalistic explanation for the universe can answer the basic questions that need to be answered. So, they are either 1) ignored, or 2) answered by a discipline that is beyond the thinking of man - faith.

Some naturalists try option 3 - that is, go too far, and claim that evoluation explains everything. Most good scientists, however, are smart enough not to go there. People who do this are usually into polemics, as well as science. It's really pretty easy to bust them, and usually people from their own disciplines do that.

We should spend more time on these questions, I believe, when dialoging with unbelievers.

If we do, they will have to acknowledge that their naturalistic explanations are limited. When they do so, they are in a good position to be asked about the need for God to have started all of this.

So, if God intervened, as He did in the resurrection of Christ, and will in the resurrection at the end of the age, why not acknowledge that He did in the beginning. We are just not smart enough to know all of the details. That is a very easy conversation to have with even the most "hard boiled" atheist.

But what is often at stake in the evolution debate in my opinion are details about how God did what He did. Christians can make mistakes about the details, so we need to be very careful about that.

If it all happened billions of years ago, as we are taught, then why should people get all uptight about details? Again, Christians are not running around denying basic scientific facts about gravity and other physical laws, the animal kingdom etc.

Christians are merely making a truth claim about the need for a transcendent God. Naturalists will have the need for that too, or at least they will have to acknowledge a starting point beyond which they cannot see.

Of course the answer to why people get uptight has to do with biblical authority about origins. But we should not let the theory of evolution put us in a defensive box because the theory of evolution is not a complete package explanation of origins, it does not answer many questions, has some problems etc.

We should spend most of our time, in my opinion, debating those issues, and not arguing about where Cain got his wife etc., or letting people put is in a position to argue that.

I believe that more Christians should enter the sciences. I believe that many do not because of the evolution debate. That is ashamed.

I hope that in the future the greatest scientific academies in the world will see more and more Christians in their midst.

Louis

WesInTex said...

Kydo97

Two tall people having (generally) tall children is not – repeat NOT natural selection. It’s called genetics. And your original post had to do with improved athletics – which cannot “disregard any drug enhancements…” or improved training capabilities. I am thankful that you call attention to those “milo field(s)” as I am pretty much surrounded by them. It is not evolutionary theory at work in the situation you portray, but genetics (again) as those plants which are healthier are the ones which are more likely to be pollinated – thus the one’s genetically reproducing from the codes which God created.

In fact, even your illustration of bacteria mutating to become resistant to a particular antibiotic to which it has been exposed is not an example of any type of evolutionary process. Do we not inoculate our children so as to build their immune systems against various diseases? This isn’t evolution – it’s the way God has created us. How wonderful to know that our God loved us enough to create within our genetic codes the tools necessary to adapt to our environment and circumstances.

As to the “fossilized dinosaur bones …” I thought we were talking about the theory of evolution? (yes, I know – “natural selection”). But even that (natural selection) doesn’t apply to the dinosaurs – weren’t they supposed to be destroyed by a sudden meteor strike? Friend, I don’t claim to have all the answers, though I know there are others out there who can better explain the fossil records. For me, it is enough to know that God created all things “and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created …” (John 1:3). Again, it would take for more “faith” to believe all of this happened by accident than it does to rest in the confidence that God created all things for His glory and purpose.

Grace Always,
Wes

volfan007 said...

The great flood in Noah's day would explain dinosaur fossils.

David

Wayne Smith said...

David/Volfan007,

It isn't that often that I agree with you.

Wayne

Anonymous said...

Just a quick question, if the world is about 4000-6000 years then why does carbon dating date objects older than that?

conejo99 said...

As a person that believes evolution probably occurs I'd say I've heard of very few uses for the theory outside biology. One I've read about is comparing cancer's spead and change to evolution.
As to why this seems so important to we non-christians the answer is simple, many of us are not simply non-christian, many are anti-christian. Those people see evolution as proof that you are wrong in your entire world view.