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.
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="347" caption="Photo credit - iStockPhoto.com"][/caption]
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.
Unlike 2+2=4, this is an interesting statement, and the only one you made on the subject.
So is the definition of species "specimens that do not naturally interbreed" or is it "specimens that cannot produce a viable offspring regardless of conditions"?
Bonus question: Are dogs (insert a picture of a daschund and a dane here) a group of species or a single species?
Background: Dog breeders can produce a desired breed (sometime, and if the desire is within reason) without any mutations helping along, by pure selection. So therefore, while mutations do occur in subspecies differentiation, they are not the mechanism or at least not an essential mechanism.
(No it is not a proof of anything. It is another picture of zebras, to show you that I can post pictures too. Come to think of it, it is shopped,-- considering the source).
Yes, thank you for noticing that. My problem with evolutionary hypothesis that is is bad science.
the half that can't comprehend the details and the actual science involved in actual science
I am not a dumb man, have an applied math degree, and worked all my life gainfully employed in engineering. I can understand a scientific theory when I see one. If you have a logical proof from evidence I will recognize it. When I hear voodoo that masquerades as science I can tell that as well.
When someone who believes that nonsense repeatedly tells me a story about selection of subspecies -- something no one has disputed to be a fact, -- then varnishes it with irrelevant count of some mutations that may or may not have contributed to the selection, which in the lab could have been produced without them, -- then it becomes clear, with repetition, that the actual science is not there, and, further, plain logic is not there. There is a script being read. It's a cult.
It is good that you come to support a fellow Freeper though. The forum benefits from multi-faceted conversations.
And yet no answer from the creationists to the problem of fossil assemblages.
Maybe you were thinking of gravity?
When you refer to the "fossil assemblalges(TM)", are you referring to the tens of millions of fossils which show no evidence of ever having evolved, or to the zero fossils which show evolution?
A few comments and notes by real experts:
"Despite the bright promise that paleontology provides a means of 'seeing' evolution, it has presented some nasty difficulties for evolutionists, the most notorious of which is the presence of 'gaps' in the fossil record. Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide them ..."
David B. Kitts, PhD (Zoology)
Head Curator, Dept of Geology, Stoval Museum
Evolution, vol 28, Sep 1974, p 467
"The curious thing is that there is a consistency about the fossil gaps; the fossils are missing in all the important places."
The Neck of the Giraffe or Where Darwin Went Wrong
Penguin Books, 1982, p.19
"The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution."
Stephen Jay Gould, Prof of Geology and
Paleontology, Harvard University
"Is a new general theory of evolution emerging?"
Paleobiology, vol 6, January 1980, p. 127
"...Yet Gould and the American Museum people are hard to contradict when they say there are no transitional fossils ... I will lay it on the line, there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument."
Dr. Colin Patterson, Senior Paleontologist,
British Museum of Natural History, London
As quoted by: L. D. Sunderland
Darwin's Enigma: Fossils and Other Problems
4th edition, Master Books, 1988, p. 89
"We do not have any available fossil group which can categorically be claimed to be the ancestor of any other group. We do not have in the fossil record any specific point of divergence of one life form for another, and generally each of the major life groups has retained its fundamental structural and physiological characteristics throughout its life history and has been conservative in habitat."
G. S. Carter, Professor & author
Fellow of Corpus Christi College
Structure and Habit in Vertebrate Evolution
University of Washington Press, 1967
"The history of most fossil species includes two features inconsistent with gradualism: 1. Stasis. Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear ... 2. Sudden Appearance. In any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and 'fully formed'."
Stephen Jay Gould, Prof of Geology and
Paleontology, Harvard University
Natural History, 86(5):13, 1977
"But, as by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?" (p. 206)
"Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory (of evolution)." (p. 292)
Charles Robert Darwin
The Origin of Species, 1st edition reprint
Avenel Books, 1979
The Abundance of Fossils
"Darwin... was embarrassed by the fossil record... we are now about 120-years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn't changed much. The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky and, ironically, ... some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information."
David M. Raup, Curator of Geology"Now, after over 120 years of the most extensive and painstaking geological exploration of every continent and ocean bottom, the picture is infinitely more vivid and complete than it was in 1859. Formations have been discovered containing hundreds of billions of fossils and our museums are filled with over 100-million fossils of 250,000 different species. The availability of this profusion of hard scientific data should permit objective investigators to determine if Darwin was on the right track. What is the picture which the fossils have given us? ... The gaps between major groups of organisms have been growing even wide and more undeniable. They can no longer be ignored or rationalized away with appeals to imperfection of the fossil record."
Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago
"Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology"
Field Museum of Natural History
Vol. 50, No. 1, (Jan, 1979), p. 25
Luther D. Sunderland (Creationist)
Darwin's Enigma: Fossils and Other Problems,
4th edition, Master Books, 1988, p. 9
"My attempts to demonstrate evolution by an experiment carried on for more than 40 years have completely failed. ... The fossil material is now so complete that it has been possible to construct new classes, and the lack of transitional series cannot be explained as being due to the scarcity of material. The deficiencies are real, they will never be filled."
Prof N. Heribert Nilsson
Lund University, Sweden
Famous botanist and evolutionist
As quoted in: The Earth Before Man, p. 51
Normally creationists don’t believe in fossils since the Bible makes no reference to them. Pulling quotes out of context isn’t much of an argument in any case.
Since creationists have created their own theory of evolution to argue against, it’s hard for them to understand that evolution comes from Christians working in the field. Christianity is the rational religion and has long tried to understand why fossil organisms appear in the same order all around the world regardless of whether they’re in valleys or on top of mountains.
Still waiting for a creationist to address this fact with some other description than that they are tears of angels or sweat of the devil.
Speciation is the root of its problem. In order for the evolution between species to work for advanced animals (those that have few and vulnerable offspring) there must be a sufficient probability of beneficial mutations occurring in a population, while birth defects — what mutations statistically are — remaining at relatively low probability. I have not seen a proof from observation that it is the case. Statistics militate against it: if you have a random copy error and you start with “Hamlet”, you will not statistically speaking end up with “Othello” no matter how long you wait.
That’s all there is to it; there is nothing to psychoanalize evo-skeptics for. Anyone with an engineer’s mind and training, who has the courage to tell the king that he has no clothes, will see through it, and many do.
Thanks so much for your very kind words, I hugely appreciate them.
My schedule sometimes allows adequate time to do a thought-out response here, and that's time I enjoy and consider well spent.
When you consider my arguments in larger context, remember I am making the case for something called "theistic evolutionism", and that is the teaching of most Christian denominations.
So this is not "believer versus anti-believer".
Curiously, annalex continues to pretend that his (I assume "his" not "her") views are not based on religion, but rather on pure science.
I don't believe that for a second, and I'm anticipating this now lengthy discussion will eventually bring out the truth of it.
Anyway, thanks again!
Then you have not been paying attention, since I've posted the same or similar comments here innumerable times.
Thanks for finally noticing.
annalex: "So is the definition of species "specimens that do not naturally interbreed" or is it "specimens that cannot produce a viable offspring regardless of conditions"?
Of course, you can look that definition up yourself -- simply type in the words "definition of species" in your address line, and up will pop any number of sites with dictionary and encyclopedia type definitions.
Here is a typical definition from Wikipedia:
So my interpretation would be more along the lines of: "sub-species which do not naturally produce viable offspring have become separate species."
For example, horses and donkeys are separate species because their forced off-spring -- mules -- are not viable in nature.
Various sub-species of Zebras -- for examples, Burchell's and Celus Zebras -- are not speparate species because they can and do interbreed in nature.
By contrast, Gevy's Zebra does not naturally interbreed with those others, and when forced (i.e., in a zoo) more often produces offspring which are not viable in nature.
This is clearly evolution "caught in the act" of species differentiation.
Please understand, the ability (or lack of ability) of sub-species to interbreed is not the only factor defining separate species.
That's because this ability (or lack of) normally corresponds to several other factors which confirm the designation of sub-species or species.
Those other factors include DNA analyses showing percentages of differences between one group's genome and another's.
So, the higher the percentage of difference, the less likely are those groups to naturally interbreed, and scientists will therefore consider them separate species.
Where exactly is the DNA dividing line between sub-species and species?
Individual species have different results, and it probably matters just where exactly these DNA mutations show up, but for, say, humans that number is less than 1%, putting for example Neanderthals right on the ragged edge between sub-species and species.
annalex: "Bonus question: Are dogs (insert a picture of a daschund and a dane here) a group of species or a single species?"
The separation of dogs from their wolf ancestors was even more recent than the separation of humans from our pre-human ancestors, and so the generation-by-generation buildup of DNA mutations has not been nearly enough to make dogs a separate species from wolves, much less from each other.
Dogs and wolves still interbreed, so by scientific definition, they are still the same species.
annalex: ""therefore, while mutations do occur in subspecies differentiation, they are not the mechanism or at least not an essential mechanism. "
True, but only up to a point.
Consider, for example, the various differences between African elephants and woolly mammouths.
Some of those differences humans could engineer simply by breeding elephants and selecting for cold weather adaptations -- i.e., longer hair, smaller ears.
But other differences could not happen until DNA mutations came along to cause them.
Precisely which changes came from natural selection and which from DNA mutations is a matter for scientific analyses to show.
And the key point to remember is: as DNA mutations build up over many generations, allowing for more and more radical adaptations among separated sub-species, so also does the difficulty of these separated sub-species to interbreed with each other.
In short: the more specialized their adaptations, the more likely they will be unable to interbreed, and thus scientists will classify them as separate species.
annalex: "It is another picture of zebras, to show you that I can post pictures too."
The abilities to quickly post photos, links, emphasis, extreme emphasis, bullet points, block quotes and yes, font colors, are all learned skills -- no DNA mutations required ;-) -- skills which improve with practice.
They can add interest and clarity to any post.
First, let's set aside the insults as being just evidence of annalex's immaturity and psychological projections.
Second, I have never used your phrase "selection of subspecies" -- it's just another of your weird terms, along with "evolution between species".
Science doesn't use those terms, and they are give-aways suggesting annalex is more religiously than scientifically motivated.
Third, the count of mutation differences among sub-species and species is not "irrelevant", as you say, rather it is the essence of what makes one species different from all others.
And that ability of scientists over the past 20+ years to compare and contrast the genomes of all species and sub-species has revolutionized our understandings of the evolutionary processes.
To pick out another example, the little Hirax and the big Manatee are both more closely related to Elephants than to any other living species.
This we know by comparing and contrasting their DNAs -- and counting the relevant mutations:
You previously posted these quotes and I responded here.
Stephen Jay Gould complained bitterly about the misrepresentations of his view by Creationists.
Gould well understood the existance of "transitional fossils" and cited examples.
And I don't know how you could find a better example of transitions than this one here -- or how anyone can look at it and still claim "no transitional fossils":
Then the evolutionists should be able to explain the difference. The advance of genetics was precisely to explain that reproduction is a copying of certain chromosomal text where gene are like letters. This discovery, along with the discovery that acquired traits do not get inherited, is what made evolution plainly unscientific.
you've now moved the goalposts even a little farther (to the good). You've singled out "advanced animals
I always restricted my skepticism to advanced animals; I am well aware of mutating microorganisms and genetically engineered crops. I also made that clarification to another poster on this thread.
could you please tell us where, exactly, in the taxonomy that speciation fails according to an engineer's statistical understanding [...] you must explain the hows and whys.
I don't know. I did not claim to have an origin of species theory. I criticize the prevailing theory as pseudo-scientific junk. That is all I am doing.
However, the method of producing offspring would seem to matter in the statistical equation, would it not? When the genome is complex, offspring is few and requires attention from the parents for a long time, the chances that the miraculous monkey with "Othello" rather than "Hamlet" written in its DNA lives, and finds another "Othello" monkey to mate with, go down.
I, too, find theistic evolution compatible with Catholicism and I am Catholic. It is evolutionists who often credit themselves with a proof that God is not "a necessary hypothesis" anymore, and bring in the anti-religion sentiment to a discussion of science. Now you did it again. I am a man. You can call me Alex. Ann is my wife.
I will get to this later. Thank you.
Sorry, but there aren't any transitional fossils. There are simply too many experts on the record to that effect. There weren't any yesterday evening, and there still aren't any this morning.