Skip to comments.Burden of Proof: Why Most American Evangelicals Reject Long-Earth Evolution
Posted on 05/11/2012 10:56:54 AM PDT by ReligiousLibertyTV
[dc]O[/dc]n May 14, noted philanthropist and neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson is scheduled to give the commencement address at Emory University and receive an honorary degree. But there is a problem. In recent weeks Emory faculty and students have asked the University to disinvite Dr. Carson because he is a critic of evolutionary theory and advocate of creationism. Faculty and staff have written that Dr. Carsons great achievements in medicine allow him to be viewed as someone who understands science poses a direct threat to science that rests squarely on the shoulders of evolution.
The anti-Carson letter describes how there is overwhelming evidence of ape-human transitional fossils and how this evolution process has advanced an ability to develop animal models for disease and that even the work of Dr. Carson himself is based on scientific advances fostered by an understanding of evolution. The letter then argues that the theory of evolution is as strongly supported as the theory of gravity and the theory that infectious diseases are caused by micro-organisms.
In 2010, Gallup released a poll that found that 40% of Americans believe in strict creationism, the idea that humans were created by God in their present form within the past 10,000 years. Thirty-eight percent believe that God guided the process of human evolution from lower life forms over millions of years , and only 16% believe that humans evolved without divine intervention. Sixty percent of those who attend church weekly believe that we were created less than 10,000 years ago. Gallup notes that the numbers have remained generally stable for the past 28 years.
That the number of adherents of creationism remains so strong, even though Charles Darwins book, On the Origin of Species has been around since 1859 and has been taught in most public schools since the 1960s, is a testament to the persistent strength of American religious belief and faith over contradictory concepts.
Earlier this week, Forbes magazine staff writer Alex Knapp wrote an essay entitled, Why Some Christians Reject Evolution, arguing that many Christians reject evolutionary theory because it conflicts with the Protestant view of the doctrines of original sin and salvation.
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Perhaps the only way to explain how evolved human beings would end up with a soul is expressed in the hybrid evolution-creation concept advanced by Pope Pius XII in the encyclical Humani generis (1950). Pius XII writes, "For these reasons the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter - for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God.
In Catholic thought, this has been interpreted to provide room for the concept that human beings were created over millions of years through evolution, and that God ultimately provided pre-existing, pre-created souls to those He designated and that these souls reconnect to God through practicing the sacraments.
In contrast, American evangelicals tend to view Adam and Eve as actual living people, who were literally created by God as clay forms into which God breathed the breath of life. There was no death before the fall of humanity. The time frames are important because they rely on the Biblical chronologies Matthew 1 and Luke 3:23-28 to prove that Jesus was in the prophetically-designated ancestral line of David, and draw the genealogical line all the way back to Adam, the first created human being.
Many evangelicals reject the hybrid view of creation and evolution because it would necessarily require them to regard creation, as discussed in the books of Genesis and of a new earth in Revelation, as allegory and submit the pervasive teachings of the Bible referencing Creation and other supernatural activity to the realm of mythology or cultural contextualism. Acceptance of scientific views of evolution would then, by necessity, require a major reconfiguration of matters of faith and that is something that most adherents to strict creationism are unwilling to do.
Knapp, whose own religious beliefs are not indicated, notes that while some churches have found ways to incorporate the idea of change over time into their belief systems, for many Christians, evolution isnt a minor fact of science that can be resolved into the mythos of their faith. It is, rather, a fundamental attack on their faith and many things that they believe.
There have been a number of heated arguments on the campuses of a diverse array of religious universities regarding how issues of origins should be taught. Some have tried to walk the middle line of teaching intelligent design as an alternative to creationism and evolution. Critics of those teaching intelligent design point out that trying to split the issue down the middle does no favors to either side and in the end is nothing but a weakened form of creationism, and an explanation that is of no value to secular science.
Within the larger context of American Protestant Christianity the debate continues without resolution. Among Christians, creationists are often asked to consider various forms of evidence of a long-history of the earth, but those advocating for a long-earth have largely ignored discussion of the genealogies of the New Testament and the concepts of original sin and salvation. Christian evolutionists have failed to provide a verse-by-verse rebuttal to the Biblical Creation narrative or to acknowledge the extent to which acceptance of creation would impact theology.
Instead theistic evolutionists operate on the supposition that Creationists will eventually bifurcate their religious beliefs from scientific understanding, because incompatibilities must be resolved in favor of science. This places faith directly in conflict with science and any resultant battle on these issues will take centuries if true academic freedom is to be granted, but can resolve faster if the voices of religious dissent are silenced and those who have openly criticized evolution are denied a seat at the academic table.
The attempt to purify academia by silencing the voices of critics such as Dr. Carson would be the first step toward a secular Dark Ages. So far, it appears that despite the controversy, Emory Universitys commencement ceremony will go forward as planned.
In response to the controversy at Emory, as of this writing nearly 2,000 people have signed a Petition to reaffirm Dr. Ben Carsons Welcome and Defend His Right to Express His Views. Click here to view the Petition.
And you have yet to provide any information on what percentage of the total measurements your observed errors are. One, or even a hundred bad levels do not constitute proof that levels don't work.
You submit that the existence of observed errors makes the entire methodology flawed. By that premise the existence of an unreliable level would dictate that none of them can be trusted and people should stop using them, regardless of how many times the were used without any observed error.
I’m not telling you whether or not to trust them, but I don’t mainly due to contradictions with the Bible and secondarily all of recorded human history. Science is famous for the consensus / group think that defies all known logic and common sense. Here’s the intro to the article I’ve been quoting at creation.com/age-of-the-earth:
No scientific method can prove the age of the earth and the universe, and that includes the ones we have listed here. Although age indicators are called clocks they arent, because all ages result from calculations that necessarily involve making assumptions about the past. Always the starting time of the clock has to be assumed as well as the way in which the speed of the clock has varied over time. Further, it has to be assumed that the clock was never disturbed.
There is no independent natural clock against which those assumptions can be tested. For example, the amount of cratering on the moon, based on currently observed cratering rates, would suggest that the moon is quite old. However, to draw this conclusion we have to assume that the rate of cratering has been the same in the past as it is now. And there are now good reasons for thinking that it might have been quite intense in the past, in which case the craters do not indicate an old age at all.
Ages of millions of years are all calculated by assuming the rates of change of processes in the past were the same as we observe todaycalled the principle of uniformitarianism. If the age calculated from such assumptions disagrees with what they think the age should be, they conclude that their assumptions did not apply in this case, and adjust them accordingly. If the calculated result gives an acceptable age, the investigators publish it.
Creationists don't appear to have any problem assuming that a "day" in the past is the same 24 hours we have now. That 24 hours is always measured by the rate of change of some process. You appear to want to restrict the luxury of assuming constants to being your exclusive domain.
Actually, rather than assuming, I trust that God and his words are true. Since he wrote the DNA for all living things why should anyone assume different meanings for his very plain and straightforward words ~ there was evening and there was morning ~ the same way we measure days today.
Furthermore, how do evolutionists explain the 7 day week?
Month = approx lunar cycle and year = solar cycle but what about that pesky week?
"Lightly researched" is a relative term -- I've seen most, if not all, of your points posted on Free Republic in previous threads, and I've posted answers to a good many of them.
BrandtMichaels: "Thats pretty far-fetched BroJoeK - ice cores don not prove anything close to millions of years."
Greenland ice cores have been counted back to 62,000 years.
Antarctic ice has been dated back 720,000 years.
BrandtMichaels: "1. DNA in ancient fossils. DNA extracted from bacteria that are supposed to be 425 million years old brings into question that age, because DNA could not last more than thousands of years."
At least two issues here: first, whether that DNA came from later contamination and second, whether some natural preservative such as anaerobic salt extended the otherwise much shorter survival of in-tact DNA code.
Neither issue challenges the well established age of Earth and its many rock strata.
BrandtMichaels: "2. Lazarus bacteriabacteria revived from salt inclusions supposedly 250 million years old, suggest the salt is not millions of years old.
See also Salty saga."
Again, the first issue is potential contamination, since many life-forms survive and thrive in conditions impossible for most others.
And again the second issue is whether under certain conditions some bacteria can survive indefinitely in "suspended animation"?
And again, neither issue challenges the well established age of Earth and its many rock strata.
BrandtMichaels: "The decay in the human genome due to multiple slightly deleterious mutations each generation is consistent with an origin several thousand years ago."
Evolution consists of two main features: 1) descent with modifications and 2) natural selection.
"Descent with modifications" is driven largely by random mutations which happen in every generation of every species.
Most of these mutations have no effect on either the appearance or functions of an organism, since they occur in regions sometimes referred to as "junk DNA".
And once an organism is perfectly adapted to its environment, then every mutation which has some effect will be negative, and natural selection will prevent that mutation from passing onto future generations.
When an organism's environment changes, then some mutations will be beneficial and the population can begin to evolve again.
Humans, like every other species, experience mutations in every generation, and until recently were subject to the same natural selection as all other life.
In the future, human natural selection may be replaced by scientific modifications to correct DNA "errors".
BrandtMichaels: "4. The data for mitochondrial Eve are consistent with a common origin of all humans several thousand years ago."
Sure, if by "several" you mean about 200 thousand years ago.
BrandtMichaels: "5. Very limited variation in the DNA sequence on the human Y-chromosome around the world is consistent with a recent origin of mankind, thousands not millions of years."
More recent studies have increased the date of "Y-chromosomal Adam" from around 60,000 to 140,000 years ago.
BrandtMichaels: "6. Many fossil bones dated at many millions of years old are hardly mineralized, if at all.
This contradicts the widely believed old age of the earth.
See, for example, Dinosaur bones just how old are they really?"
As with previous examples you cited, the first issue is potential contamination by more recent organisms.
And again the second issue is, what were the conditions of preservation?
But a third point needs to be made, namely that these examples are not, as you claimed, "many", but rather extremely rare.
That suggests something very special about them, and points back to the conditions of 99.99% of fossils ever found, which conform to our expectations.
So, unless somebody finds the remains of Fred Flintstone cooking Brontosaur burgers on his grill, these less-than-fully explained exceptions are unlikely to overturn our ideas about pre-history. ;-)
BrandtMichaels: "7. Dinosaur blood cells, blood vessels, proteins (hemoglobin, osteocalcin, collagen) are not consistent with their supposed age, but make more sense if the remains are young."
Same responses as above.
BrandtMichaels: "8. Lack of 50:50 racemization of amino acids in fossils dated at millions of years old, whereas complete racemization would occur in thousands of years."
Same responses as above -- very rare examples where neither contamination nor special conditions of preservation have been ruled out, and therefore no conclusions about a "young earth" can be drawn.
BrandtMichaels: "9. Living fossilsjellyfish, graptolites, coelacanth, stromatolites, Wollemi pine and hundreds more.
That many hundreds of species could remain so unchanged, for even up to billions of years in the case of stromatolites, speaks against the millions and billions of years being real."
In fact, these examples confirm the basic ideas of evolution -- 1) descent with modifications and 2) natural selection.
Once an organism has perfectly adapted to its environment, natural selection will weed out any and all genetic mutations which reduce its ability to survive, and so certain species can remain little changed for tens, even hundreds of millions of years.
BrandtMichaels: "10. Discontinuous fossil sequences. E.g. Coelacanth, Wollemi pine and various index fossils, which are present in supposedly ancient strata, missing in strata representing many millions of years since, but still living today.
Such discontinuities speak against the interpretation of the rock formations as vast geological ageshow could Coelacanths have avoided being fossilized for 65 million years, for example?
See The Lazarus effect: rodent resurrection!"
Even you should recognize that as an argument from ignorance.
Because we haven't found certain fossils doesn't imply they are not there to be found, eventually.
Further, even you must understand that fossilization is a special and rare occurrence even under the best of conditions, and absolutely cannot happen otherwise.
In the long-term scheme of things, whole continents float around the globe, crashing into each other, bouncing away, great oceans open up and close, ice ages come and go, all the while conditions favorable to a certain species disappear over here, and arise over there.
Certain conditions will leave a nice fossil record, others leave none -- and tens of millions of years might separate those favorable conditions.
BrandtMichaels: "11. The ages of the worlds oldest living organisms, trees, are consistent with an age of the earth of thousands of years."
DNAs of various species of trees, just like any other species, can be compared and contrasted, and dates calculated for their most recent common ancestors.
These dates correspond to what fossil records also reveal.
BrandtMichaels: "Read more please but dont ever forget historical science is hysterical science ~ you can conjur almost anything since you can never repeat natural history using the scientific method."
The fossil record is not "conjured", nor is DNA analysis, nor are the many radiometric dating techniques, nor are our understandings of geological processes, which lead us to find oil, coal, iron, copper, gold, diamonds, etc., nor are scientific techniques for dating ages of stars, galaxies and the Universe.
All of that is firmly based in science, and none is challenged by theologically driven "doubting Thomases."
ReligiousLibertyTV is conscientiouisly trying to explain the Catholic doctrine of ensoulment accurately.
The following is the statement worked out by ReligiousLibertyTV:
|"In Catholic thought, this has been interpreted to provide room for the concept that the bodies of human beings were created over millions of years through evolution, and that God ultimately provided separately-created souls to human beings. These souls reconnect to God through practicing the sacraments."|
Is this correct as stated?
Here's the background: The Catholic Church teaches that as soon as fertilization occurs, a new human body has come into existence by natural causal means (the sexual reproductive processes of his parents),--- this tiny body is suitable to receive a rational, spiritual soul --- and immediately the newly conceived human embryo is endowed with a rational, spiritual soul directly created by God without material causes.
Would his apply, too, to the ensoulment of the "newly developed Human sapiens" -- namely, that the bodies of the human race could have come into existence via the naural causal chain of evolution, but as soon as the suitable physical type was complete, God could have endowed the newly-developed species with directly-created, rational, spiritual souls?
And after the catastrophe of sin occurred, all human souls thereafter were deprived of sanctifying grace-- their contact with God ---but this contact can be restored by Christ via the grace of the sacraments?
(I hope I have not made myself totally obscure!!)
I appreciate ReligiousLibertyTV for putting forth the effort to express this intricate doctrine with precision.
The key word is "blind".
Accuracy requires a full understanding of the context of the material being tested.
So you don't "assume", you "trust that it's true", and you expect that to pass for an explanation of the difference? Seriously?
And which qualified scientist told you they were misinterpreting their data?
Just think about it logically -- the accumulation of snow and ice in polar regions can be observed, it does not have to be guessed or interpreted.
Scientists can measure annual accumulations of ice, and record the breaks between winter and summer each year.
They can then count down through the ice layers, marking where each year ends, and the next begins, and noting how the ice compresses over time, making the distance from one year to the next shorter and shorter the deeper and deeper into the ice they bore.
So tell us virmintman, at which point in this process, according to your scientifically qualified source, did those doing the actual work become confused, and began mistaking different snow storms for the annual summer break?
Whatever. They want to continue using circular reasoning ~ the index fossils determine approx age of the rocks and age of the rocks determine approx age of the fossils.
So when blinded they can not re-produce their results - how telling is that!?!?
No circular reasoning involved.
First, I question the validity of those allegedly "blind" tests.
I suspect of necessity a certain amount of deception involved, and the labs were not fully aware of what they were being asked to do.
Second, the obviously correct analogy is forensic science -- the analysis of crime data.
You would never ask even Sherlock Holmes to interpret evidence from a crime scene without understanding the full context in which that data was found.
Yes, a "blind" scientific test is appropriate under some circumstances, but whenever you do one, you must control for every known variable and this, by definition, is not possible in random material of unknown origins.
So, with many variables involved in radiometric testing, all must be understood before results are relied on.
Plus ideally, results are confirmed by multiple radioactive materials, and by geologists' understandings of the rock strata they are working on.
If nearby rock strata include well known and previously dated fossils, so much the better.
So, yes, known fossils can help confirm rock dates, but only after those fossils were previously dated using radiometric analysis of the rock strata they're found in.
That is not circular reasoning.
In contrast, American evangelicals tend to view Adam and Eve as actual living people, who were literally created by God as clay forms into which God breathed the breath of life
These two together create an impression that the Catholics believe only in God-created evolution. This is of course not so. I am Catholic in good standing and reasonably well informed in my faith and I don't believe in any evolution. I think that God created all species as they are today, unless they went extinct. God created them in groups that resemble one another, this is why we have horses look a but like donkeys, men look a bit like the apes, etc. Evolution, as science itself teaches us is an absurd idea of one species becoming another species through a series of birth defects. That intelligent people can believe that nonsense is a testimony of human gullibility.
A Catholic may believe God-created evolution. In fact the description that man was made from mud can be interpreted as pointing to evolution. Here, indeed one can discern the Catholic way of reading the Bible taking into account the cultural environment of the historical inspired author, and the ability of the Bible to speak truths that the inspired author had no rational knowledge about. But it is wrong to suggest that Catholics as a dogma of faith believe in anything in particular about the evolution. Some, yet not all, believe in it, -- I think it is naive, but they are good Catholics nevertheless.
Another problem with this juxtaposition of paragraphs is the possibility of concluding that Catholics do not believe in the single parenthood of Adam and Eve and the historicity of Adam and Eve. While I am happy to read that the Protestant Evangelicals "view Adam and Eve as actual living [in the past, I presume] people", I am also happy to report that so do all informed Catholics.
In short, the Church being our rule of faith, not our authority on zoology, does not teach much at all about the evolution. It all can be summed up in a short statement: the account of creation is inerrant; God created all things visible and invisible; Adam and Eve are our historical protoparents. If one wants to squeeze God-directed evolution in that, he is free to do so. If one does not want to believe in evolution, he is also free to do so. If one wants to deny historicity of Adam and Eve, or believe in evolution NOT directed by God, he is no longer Catholic.
Like you said, annalex. Thank you!
It's not an "absurd idea", it's an observed phenomenon called "descent with modifications".
Genetic mutations happen in every generation of every species.
Most mutations have no effect on the appearance or functions of an organism because they occur in regions sometimes referred to as "junk DNA".
And for perfectly adapted species, those mutations which do change an organism are almost invariably negative and are therefore weeded out of the gene-pool by "natural selection".
That's why many generations can pass by, with no obvious changes.
But when the environment itself changes (becoming cooler, warmer, wetter, dryer, a new predator, etc.), then some mutations will increase an individual's chance of survival and reproduction, and so the species can begin to evolve again.
So a new species arises (by definition) whenever two sub-species have been separated in different environments so long they no longer successfully interbreed.
And we can see this in the process of happening, amongst horses, donkeys & zebras, to pick just one example.
None of this is "nonsense", and there's no "belief" (in a religious sense) involved.
These are simply very careful scientific observations, confirmed through innumerable repetitions.
In short, they are facts.
annalex: "It all can be summed up in a short statement: the account of creation is inerrant; God created all things visible and invisible; Adam and Eve are our historical protoparents.
If one wants to squeeze God-directed evolution in that, he is free to do so.
If one does not want to believe in evolution, he is also free to do so.
If one wants to deny historicity of Adam and Eve, or believe in evolution NOT directed by God, he is no longer Catholic."
That is also more or less the teaching of most Protestant and Orthodox denominations -- by my estimate along with Catholics totaling 80% of all Christians.
"Youg earth", anti-evolution and really, anti-science, is a distinct minority doctrine, even among Christian churches.
Yes. That is the belief -- in the superstitious sense. No one has observed that, no one has reproduced that in a sufficiently complex species, no one has really explained how two birth defects on the same kind would occur in two specimens within the mating range, but we believe it anyway.
Evolution as a scientific proposition is junk.
Now, miracles happen. That God can make it so two turkeys of the opposite sex would spontaneously mutate into bald eagles, -- or, to that matter into sabertooth tigers, -- and live happily ever after, -- that I can believe because I am Christian who evidences miracles on a regular basis. Not because of some ape with a science degree who thought it up.
—— Evolution as a scientific proposition is junk.——
The argument against the theory is simple: no mechanism and no fossils. What’s left?
The evidence from fossil record is in, overwhelmingly demonstrating STASIS in species. Creatures exit the fossil record the way they went in, tens of thousands of years earlier, contradicting the change predicted by the theory of gradual evolution.
Regarding macro-evolution, there exists no plausible mechanism.
So how did we get here? God knows. I don’t. We can reject evolution as a scientific theory without being able to offer an alternative explanation.”I don’t know” is an acceptable answer when it’s true.
You're putting a lot of your own definitions into your words, "that" and "it", so I suspect your definitions have nothing to do with actual science.
And your allegation that science equates to "superstition" is baseless.
In reality, "descent with modifications" has been observed and confirmed innumerable times, making it a fact.
That is the method by which, since time immemorial, people have created new varieties / breeds of plants and animals, and by which "natural selection" over longer periods creates new breeds, subspecies and eventually species.
So both "decent with modifications" and "natural selection" have been observed and confirmed beyond dispute.
They are not "superstition", they are facts.
And since they are the two components of evolution, that makes evolution a fact.
Of course, folks such as yourself become all agitated over the alleged distinction between "micro-evolution" and "macro-evolution".
Indeed, when I first began posting on FR evolution threads, most Creationists claimed that "micro-evolution" is acceptable theologically, but that "macro-evolution" is not.
These days, it seems that some posters claim even "micro-evolution" never happens.
To me that speaks of mankind's unlimited ability to close our eyes to reality.
I say that "micro" and "macro" evolution are the same things, simply extended over longer time periods.
What, after all, is the physical difference between a "race," a "variety", a "breed", a "sub-species" and "species"?
Is it not simply a matter of word definitions?
By scientific convention, we consider a "sub-species" to have become a new "species" when it can no longer breed with its parent populations.
Zebras, for example, have three species which do not interbreed in nature, but can sometimes be forced in captivity.
And each zebra species has subspecies which sometimes can and do interbreed, given the opportunity.
Point is: if it turned out that a certain "sub-species" could not interbreed with others of the same species, it would no longer be called a "sub-species", by convention we would call it a new species.
In nature, fossil records and DNA analyses show such changes typically take millions of years, but human directed breeding programs, especially of agricultural plants, have produced new varieties which can no longer fertilize their original species.
What these breeding programs demonstrate is that "micro-evolution" can happen very rapidly indeed, under the right conditions.
Point is: the "precise moment" when one sub-species in nature can no longer effectively interbreed with another, and so by our definitions becomes a new "species" -- that "precise moment" is no "moment" at all, it normally takes a very long time.
annalex: "Now, miracles happen.
That God can make it so two turkeys of the opposite sex would spontaneously mutate into bald eagles..."
Of course He could, and possibly that's just what He did.
But if that is what God did, He left no traces for us to admire scientifically His handiwork.
Indeed, just the opposite -- the evidence He left for scientists to examine clearly shows turkeys and bald eagles descending separately from common ancestors who lived many tens of millions of years ago.
And seriously, you have to ask yourself: if God didn't want us to accept science's theories, then why did He leave so much evidence laying around to support them?
I have addressed this claim directly to you, and in some detail, on a previous thread.
The short of it is: your argument is bogus.
This has a bearing on the unguided evolution hypothesis only if the definition species is artificially narrowed to breeds and varietals within the same real species. Yes, dogs and wolves, and -- I trust your word, breeds of zebras can produce healthy offspring. This does not prove evolution from one species to another such that when the evolution is done the second species no longer interbreeds at all with the first. The part I highlighted is the definition of the evolutionary theory I find no scientific proof of, only scientific dress-up of a superstition.
Microevolution -- the difficult but possible interbreeding inside several subspecies, -- does not prove the real thing. By the same logic I could "prove" to you that I can fly: I can indeed flap my hands and hop around. My hopping and flapping is not a first step of me becoming a bird. It may be a first step for me isolating myself and fellow hopper-flappers into a human colony that now has a difficulty interbreeding with the rest of humanity. That is all that the presence of breeds shows.
"It took a very long time" is not a proof of anything either , it is simply a storytelling device: "Long, long time ago there lived a unicorn..."
the evidence He left for scientists to examine clearly shows turkeys and bald eagles descending separately from common ancestors
No, He did not. The evidence is that there are two species, turkeys and eagles, and there was another species looking somewhat like both, that is now extinct. There is no evidence of "descending" of anything from anything.