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.
Sorry, FRiend, "broken rocks" must be anti-evo jargon than I've not been clued-in on.
And what such rocks might have to do with your "intellectual integrity" I can't even begin to imagine.
No that’s not correct. If I were a scientist trying to prove the mechanism of evolution I’d immediately try to breed a species of fruit fly into another species. At the very least even if the experiment failed you’d gain some insight into the number of generations it takes to migrate into a new species.
My theology and belief in God isn’t affected by the Theory of Evolution. My God is Truth and I am a sincere seeker of truth. My question to you was based on this. I’d heard this argument from other FReepers. I’ve worked with fruit flies in the past and wondered if you knew of any experimenters working to speciate fruit flies. They can breed in 7 days so if someone had started back in 1930 at best you’d only have 56,000 generations.
Perhaps you’re confusing me with some other poster. I just jumped into the thread at my first post.
From what I understand of the Theory of Evolution it suffers from some flaws:
1. Tautology - it cannot be falsified. Every contradictory discovery simply alters and reinforces the Theory.
2. Irreducible Complexity - slow changes over long time periods don’t make sense - think of the human placenta, human eye, etc.
3. Vestigiality - which direction? Is it something we used to have or something we are gaining?
4. Transitions - given the long years and number of life forms where are all the transition creatures? The fossil evidence points toward formed, fully functioning life.
5. Conservation of Energy - why would a useless body part persist over millions of years? Perhaps we’re wrong about the appendix.
As for my theology, the Biblical time of creation is eons and the word is essentially undefined in Hebrew as a time measurement. Eden is a place on earth and the garden is located within Eden. That is Eden isn’t the garden. It is the “Garden in Eden” not the “Garden of Eden”. The time period during which Adam and Eve were within the Garden is also undefined. It could have been days or millions of years. Human beings have a poor grasp of time and time management. How could they even begin to comprehend eternity?
If you’re interested in having a thoughtful discussion then please let’s continue. It is the whole reason I posted to you. If you’re emotionally involved in the outcome or if I have to agree with you to have you be satisfied in a conversation then perhaps you’re too immature to continue the discussion. I know that many FReepers suffer from this disease. We don’t have to agree to still be friends or FReepers.
So already, you start in with the "word salads"?
How about you back up a minute?
What exactly do you claim "hasn't ever been observed"?
And what evidence suggest that this alleged "hasn't ever been observed" is the "entire reason" I "posited" something.
And how, precisely, does "hasn't ever been observed" make my "posit" either "hypothetical" or "circular".
Appears to me like what you did here is string together a bunch of words which have no real meanings, but are intended generally as a educated-sounding insult.
papertyger: "You are committing the very illegitimate argument you accused."
What is that, again?
What, you just have a book of insults, randomly pick out sentences and throw them in your posts?
Your sentence here references nothing specific, but alleges an "illegitimate argument" which I am supposed to have "accused".
Can you quote that "illegitimate argument" and "accusation"?
papertyger: "Of course the "initial premise" goes in the opposite direction...it's called "stability."
Your word "stability" might refer to a number of ideas, the most basic of which is that DNA mutations-per-generation (typically less than 100) are relatively small compared to an overall human genome of 3 billion "base pairs".
That's why fossil and DNA analyses suggest it takes many generations (thousands to millions) for major changes in speciation.
papertyger: "And any researcher who claimed to have verified offspring are always of the same species as the parents would elicit nothing but a big 'duh.' "
But not always of the same "species" as their thousands-of-generations-removed ancestors.
Well, first of all, dogs will never-ever revert back to their original wolf ancestors, and so there is a definite limit to how much "reversion" is possible.
Second, whatever "reversion" they make will never be back even to the exact same more recent dog ancestor they were bred from.
Third, any "reversion" will only survive and reproduce over the long term if it benefits from natural (or human) selection.
So, in that sense, human "intentional breeding manipulation" simply mimics the effects of evolution's natural selection.
But the key element that you refuse to acknowledge (and of course we all know why, don't we?) is the element of time.
Over thousands and millions of generations, small genetic mutations accumulate in separated sub-species until they become unable to interbreed, and scientists classify them as separated "species".
papertyger: "Finally, it is disingenuous at best to use any manner of "better" generational variation as a "something special" for the evolution we all know we are talking about here, as the genetics for said "improvement" is already resident in whatever species we're observing."
First, there's nothing "disingenuous at best" about it, since it's true, FRiend.
Of course, it is "disingenuous at best" to make false accusations, so cut it out. ;-)
Second, your "...evolution we all know we are talking about here..." is what exactly?
Scientifically speaking, there is only one evolution and it consists of 1) descent with modifications and 2) natural selection.
In other words, virtually all reproduction includes some small evolution.
Major evolution in nature takes time, lots of time.
papertyger: "The only legitimate example you could proffer would be something exhibiting a new body plan, or sensitivity, that is not already extant in the genome of its predecessors."
"Only legitimate example"? Of what, precisely?
"A new body plan"? Exactly how new, precisely how different?
In truth, now you are back to "word salads" which make no sense, scientifically or otherwise.
And I suspect "we all know" the reason for that, but let's just see how much "intellectual integrity" you really have, FRiend. ;-)
I'm referring to an analogy I made previously on this thread.
Pointing to broken rocks at the foot of a hillside to explain the rise of the Pyramids...as if demonstrating how rocks that are broken by a completely random naturalistic mechanism can explain the Pyramids by the same mechanism.
I understand your retreat to the “word salad” comment, and I’m sorry for you as I don’t know any way to get around it.
“Word Salad” is what “cognitive dissonance” looks like to the one suffering from it.
FRiend, this is now a long thread with many different posts.
Can you do us all a favor and quote the comment you are responding to?
If you need instructions on how to use html, here's a place to start.
So which statement of mine, exactly, "is not correct"?
1010RD: "If I were a scientist trying to prove the mechanism of evolution Id immediately try to breed a species of fruit fly into another species.
At the very least even if the experiment failed... "
No you wouldn't, FRiend.
I'm sorry, but long before you performed any such "experiment", you would have to demonstrate to somebody else, a real scientist, that you have even the foggiest, tiniest, minutest, infinitesimally smallest understanding of what you are talking about.
And since that seems impossible, you would never perform any truly scientific experiment.
By scientific definition of the word "species", you create a new "species" any time two sub-species become so genetically different they no longer interbreed.
In nature that typically takes thousands to millions of generations, but in a laboratory, with Fruit Flies, it's a little bit easier.
1010RD: "Ive worked with fruit flies in the past and wondered if you knew of any experimenters working to speciate fruit flies.
They can breed in 7 days so if someone had started back in 1930 at best youd only have 56,000 generations."
What, do you think science is a joke?
Do you think science doesn't require you to double check your work?
Do you think you can just throw any old numbers around and have them be true because you say so?
Did you never learn math in school?
Come on, FRiend, follow me here: 1932 was 80 years ago.
Assuming (only for sake of argument) scientific experiments had begun in 1932 breeding Fruit Flies, and that each new generation takes 7 days, in one year you could have about 52 new generations.
Then 52 times 80 years is what? Yes, 6,560 generations.
Fortunately, Fruit Flies are relatively "simple" genetically, and readily speciate.
1010RD: "Perhaps youre confusing me with some other poster.
I just jumped into the thread at my first post."
If so, them my apologies.
1010RD: "From what I understand of the Theory of Evolution it suffers from some flaws:"
Then you obviously understand very little, and suffer from reading a lot of ridiculous propaganda.
1010RD: "Tautology - it cannot be falsified.
Every contradictory discovery simply alters and reinforces the Theory."
First of all, one definition of the word "tautology" is: "3.logical true proposition: a proposition or statement that, in itself, is logically true."
This would not be a problem, I think.
Second, there are facts and theory related to evolution.
The facts include "descent with modifications", "natural selection", fossil records, biological comparisons, DNA analyses, geological radio-metric dating, astronomical measurements and many more, all of which help confirm Evolution as a Theory.
Third, Evolution Theory itself is basically the same as 150 years ago: that all life descended from common ancestors, but the theory through, shall we say "natural selection", has been considerably improved by each new scientific discovery.
Fourth, of course, Evolution Theory could easily be falsified -- all you'd have to do is physically find the Intelligent Designer who's alleged to create all life in a matter of "days" while making it appear to scientists as if billions of years were required.
So what, exactly, is your problem with that, FRiend?
1010RD: "Irreducible Complexity - slow changes over long time periods dont make sense - think of the human placenta, human eye, etc."
And why, precisely, do they not "make sense"?
Especially with DNA analyses comparing and contrasting genomes of more-and-less distantly related species, exact step-by-step changes can be mapped from one to the others.
In the case of eyes, even today there are many more primitive versions of eyes -- "transitional forms" if you will.
In the case of mammalian placentas, there are also still many "transitional forms", including those in marsupials, sharks, sea horses and others.
So there is no reason to suspect that any biological feature we see today was necessarily created independently by some "Intelligent Designer" in a laboratory and then artificially injected into some previous life form (which arrived on Earth from where?).
Of course, if such solid confirmed physical evidence is ever found, that would make a big difference.
But there is a larger point here, and it is a key point I've been trying to make this entire thread (so far without much effect):
The question of "Intelligent Design" is ultimately irrelevant, because the entire Universe is self-evidently designed intelligently from the beginning to produce us and all we see.
And the Creator Who designed it is the exact same Creator who "endowed us with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Indeed, these are facts which are literally undeniable.
The Intelligent Creator-Designer then is necessarily axiomatic -- a given.
Nor is God's role in our everyday lives in dispute -- He blesses our country, far more than we now deserve, thus demonstrating infinite patience.
He protects all of us in ways we don't even begin to understand.
So those are not the debate here.
The real debate comes down to this: how "random" is "random"?
Are all "random" DNA mutations which lead to new biological features truly "random" or are they in some way directed by God?
I believe the latter, and so I don't care how "random" scientists say it is.
If you believe in God, nothing is truly "random", imho.
1010RD: "3. Vestigiality - which direction?
Is it something we used to have or something we are gaining?"
In what precise sense is this question a "flaw" in Evolution Theory?
Is it not simply a matter of observation, whether certain biological features existing in more primitive creatures have been improved, or reduced and discarded in more advanced forms?
You know, of course, that Evolution Theory "posits" a tendency toward more complexity in life, but this tendency is not absolute, and features no longer needed are eventually reduced and discarded -- surely you don't need me to cite examples, do you?
1010RD: "4. Transitions - given the long years and number of life forms where are all the transition creatures?
The fossil evidence points toward formed, fully functioning life."
How many times do I have to post this before the idea begins to sink in? --
Figure 1.4.4. Fossil hominid skulls. (Images © 2000 Smithsonian Institution.)
(A) Pan troglodytes, chimpanzee, modern
(B) Australopithecus africanus, STS 5, 2.6 My
(C) Australopithecus africanus, STS 71, 2.5 My
(D) Homo habilis, KNM-ER 1813, 1.9 My
(E) Homo habilis, OH24, 1.8 My
(F) Homo rudolfensis, KNM-ER 1470, 1.8 My
(G) Homo erectus, Dmanisi cranium D2700, 1.75 My
(H) Homo ergaster (early H. erectus), KNM-ER 3733, 1.75 My
(I) Homo heidelbergensis, "Rhodesia man," 300,000 - 125,000 y
(J) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, La Ferrassie 1, 70,000 y
(K) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, La Chappelle-aux-Saints, 60,000 y
(L) Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, Le Moustier, 45,000 y
(M) Homo sapiens sapiens, Cro-Magnon I, 30,000 y
(N) Homo sapiens sapiens, modern
1010RD: "5. Conservation of Energy - why would a useless body part persist over millions of years?
Perhaps were wrong about the appendix."
Again, in what sense is that even conceivably a "flaw" in Evolution Theory?
The appendix, or tonsils, or little toes, or anything else may or may-not be "vestigial", so what?
Evolution simply says that natural selection favors features which improve survivability, and eventually discards those which don't.
That's not a "flaw".
1010RD: "then perhaps youre too immature to continue the discussion."
My rules are pretty simple: if you don't insult me, then I won't insult you.
If you do insult me, then I still won't insult you beyond pointing out how ridiculous your insults are, and how that may suggest a certain ridiculousness in your ideas generally.
But yes, when I have time I do enjoy these FRiendly discussions, even some of the more, ahem, difficult ones. ;-)
Yes, that is the key here, but rather as the "magic wand" evolutionists use to make the theory plausible.
"Time" is the one element evolutionists admit they can not evaluate, and they use it as a "theoretical curtain" to hide hopeful assumptions they can not actually demonstrate.
Your "broken rocks" by themselves are a false analogy, since they necessarily correspond to only half of evolution theory -- "descent with modifications".
To make the analogy more accurate, you'd have to "posit" a "natural selector", who picks through your pile of "broken rocks" and finds those suitable as building material.
Of course, in the analogy of pyramid building, that "natural selector" would have to be an "intelligent designer" of pyramids.
But since we can't physically see the "selector" at work, and since by definition of the word "science" it can only deal with natural events, science calls the breaking of "rocks" suitable for construction "random" and the movement of suitable "rocks" from pile-to-pyramid as "natural" selection.
I don't personally care what science calls it, anyone with eyes to see can readily detect the Hand of God at work in both "descent with modifications" and "natural selection" = evolution.
The truth is that science itself has standards of language and logic which all scientists are required to learn and practice.
In terms of those scientific standards, much of your posting here amounts to mere "word salad":
Of course, if you will simply confess your loathing for real science, and your refusal to use its terms correctly, then we will be in perfect understanding and agreement.
Then we will understand and agree that you hate science, and won't touch it, while I'm doing my level best here to explain & defend it, FRiend.
Sorry I made a mistake. 52 X 80 = 4160 generations.
Time is far more than a "magic wand", it is easily quantifiable and measurable, in terms of geology, fossils and even average rates of genetic mutations.
The hard physical evidence of time suggests many millions, even billions of years for evolution on Earth.
No real scientist can ignore such evidence, and anyone (such as yourself) who denies it is simply not being scientific.
Which is fine with me -- there's no law which says everybody has to be "scientific".
But there is a law (the 8th Commandment) which says you have to tell the truth about it, FRiend.
That absolutely serves me right.
I'll take it as just punishment for me acting ______ (fill in the blank). ;-)
But there's the rub. It's not the "suitability" of the building materials that counts: it's how that building material is arranged that makes the difference between a pyramid and a pile of rocks.
"Natural Selection" is supposed to do the arranging using mutations as its engine. The problem with that idea is the "irreducibly complex" system, organ, or appendage.
"Chance" goes asymptotic when you start talking about the confluence of genetic events that would be required for say, a human no longer handicapped in darkness by developing an analog to "bat radar."
And just as we would reasonably conclude such a confluence of events is functionally impossible, so it is reasonable to conclude such a confluence has never occurred in the past. Confidently pointing to morphologically similar species and concluding their similarities prove it MUST have happened, is just fatuous.
Lack of reading comprehension on your part does not prove “word salad” on my part.
Further, your “confess your loathing for real science” comment is analogous to “conservatives hate women,” a truly Sharpton-esque redoubt.
Of course your little paean to "scientific" (sic) completely dodges the point of my post.
"Resist we much?"
Where? Darwinists certainly don't see anything readily detectable.
I'm just trying to turn your "broken rocks" analogy from a lie to the truth.
To become analogously true, your "broken rocks" need two separate processes:
papertyger: "The problem with that idea is the "irreducibly complex" system, organ, or appendage."
That allegation is false when you consider every "system, organ, or appendage" in existence today still has more primitive versions in other living creatures.
Further, the development of these organs can often be tracked in terms of DNA modifications from one species to another.
Finally, I'll say it yet again: whether all of these DNA changes are scientifically "random" or God-directed "randomness" is ultimately irrelevant.
There can simply be no doubt that the evolution of life on Earth has unfolded exactly as God intends -- regardless of how much, or how little, "tinkering" or "interventions" God Himself did to get us here.
papertyger: "Chance" goes asymptotic when you start talking about the confluence of genetic events that would be required for say, a human no longer handicapped in darkness by developing an analog to "bat radar."
Actually, primitive human echolocation is not unknown among some blind humans.
But advanced echolocation, such as bats, whales and others species use, is obviously the product of millions of years of evolution:
papertyger: "And just as we would reasonably conclude such a confluence of events is functionally impossible, so it is reasonable to conclude such a confluence has never occurred in the past."
Sorry FRiend, but false assumptions nearly always lead to false conclusions, as your example here demonstrates.
If Americans came from Europeans - why do we still have Europeans running around?
Same answer to a rather stupid question.
FRiend, I totally understand what you are trying to say, and I'm being charitable in calling it "word salad".
The fact is, you are not writing in any real scientific language or logic, though you try to pretend otherwise.
papertyger: "Further, your confess your loathing for real science comment is analogous to conservatives hate women...
You might demonstrate your alleged love for science by, for example, going back to school and actually learning something true about it. ;-)
And that was?