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.
The Hand of God, by definition of the word "science" is not detectable by any scientific instrument.
It can only be "seen" by the human mind, and then usually only by those who look for Him.
Science as science deals in "physical laws" or "theories" and labels as "random" what others might see as God's laws, God's Plan and God's Handiwork.
So I don't have a problem with science being science.
Nor apparently does God, since He rewards science so lavishly.
If this is so, then by what method or evidence do you "readily" detect the hand of God?
Futher, on what basis do you dispute "scientific" evolutionists' dogmatic insistence no "god" is necessary to explain what they observe?
Amusing that creationists have such a bugaboo about randomness - a common feature in nature.
They think that “random” somehow means “not under the control of God” - as if HIS power stops at the casino door.
The Bible says “The dice are cast into the lap - but every result is from the Lord.”
For example - the force of gravity is both necessary and sufficient to explain the motion of the Moon around the Earth and the Earth around the Sun.
Not only are supernatural causations not used in science - use of such makes what you are doing absolutely useless.
Appeal to a natural cause of natural phenomena can lead to further information, discovery, and useful application - because natural forces are knowable, predictable and replicable.
Appeals to a supernatural cause of natural phenomena will lead nowhere, to no further information, discovery or useful application - because supernatural forces are unknowable, not predictable and not replicable.
That is why science is of use while creationism is useless.
That a clear and repeated explanation seems to you a "word salad" indicates incomprehension.
FRiend, you really need to talk to a good minister-priest about these matters.
I am not the one to direct you on a path of religious discovery.
Some people spend their whole lives studying such things, and that's who you need to talk to.
What I can tell you is: look at it logically.
If God created the Universe -- and I'm saying that is an undeniable truth (as in "We hold these truths to be self-evfident...") -- and if as the Bible tells us God was pleased, declaring His various creations "good", then we have to conclude that whatever we see is what God intended us to see, including evolution.
Logically then, what science calls "laws of nature" are really God's Physical Laws; what science calls "scientific theories" are really God's plan for the physical universe; and what science calls "random events" are really God's way of letting reality play itself out, much like for example, a great orchestra plays a musical "theme and variations".
God obviously enjoys the variations (the "diversity", if you will) as much as the main theme itself.
Of course, many scientists understand all this perfectly well, and are highly religious.
But science itself, by definition of the word "science", is built on basic naturalistic assumptions -- meaning natural causes for natural events.
The term for it is "methodological naturalism" -- and it well defines the difference between what is "science" and what is "something else", including religious faith.
So even if a scientist can see the obvious Hand of God at work, he/she has to call it something else, such as "random mutations", or "complex weather patterns", or "ecological diversity", or, yes, "evolution", etc.
Indeed, scientists themselves, as I've posted here before, have terms for what to me looks like "God directed randomness", terms found in Chaos Theory, terms like "the butterfly effect" and "the strange attractor."
I call that "strange attractor" writ large the Great Attractor, which is one aspect of God's plan for the Universe.
papertyger: "Futher, on what basis do you dispute "scientific" evolutionists' dogmatic insistence no "god" is necessary to explain what they observe?"
I don't dispute anything science does based on it's methodologically natural assumptions.
I simply assume that whatever science finds, and however science explains it, was put there by God for His purposes.
But science is not going to tell us what God's purposes for us are, since those are beyond the scope of methodological naturalism's assumptions.
It's why we have a church, ministers, theologians, etc. ;-)
Thanks for that quote, it expresses one point I've been trying to make here. ;-)
Of course, I understand perfectly well what you're trying to say -- I'm simpling telling you that in terms of actual scientific word definitions and language, what you are talking is meaningless "word salad".
That's why you cannot legitimately claim that you're speaking of and to science: because you are not using scientific words or reasoning correctly.
It's also why I keep telling you to take some time off, crack open a book, go back to school, learn something about real science before you continue jabbering scientifically meaningless "word salads" at it, FRiend. ;-)
It also looks like a robot got stuck in his programming and emits “cancel retry ignore... word salad... word salad...”
Like I said, cults are fun to make fun of.
In terms of real science "word salad" is all you can blather.
So I keep suggesting you should crack a book, go back to school, learn something about real science.
But you keep responding, in effect: that's not what you want to do.
What you want to do is "make fun" and "ridicule" science as "cult" and "voodoo", and for that purpose, "word salad" is a perfectly adequate weapon.
So you're happy doing what you do, and I'm just saying it's not a very serious enterprise, if "word salad" is the best you've got, FRiend. ;-)
I never saw a coherent proof of the evolutionary hypothesis. I saw belief statements: that fossils, because they are similar, prove evolution, or that neatly drawn “tree of life” pictures prove it, or that microorganisms, because they survive mutations, prove it, or that breeding of complex animals, because it produces different looking subspecies, proves it.
Then I noticed that a question posted form a skeptic’s position: Where exactly is the proof? — is met with repetition of the belief statements, — the proverbial “pound the table” method known to lawyers; arguments about words (”species” is redefined so that selection appears as if it produces new species); references to complex research that does not prove it either, but slows the opponent down; impugning the opponent’s motivation (and his religion alongside it); condescension (crack a book, young man, we are not in the Middle Ages any more); holding on to the skirts of real science (you insult science!). Or else you sue.
So I conclude, it is junk science. It ought to be ridiculed relentlessly. You don’t deserve anything better.
First of all, in actual scientific terms, you might "falsify" a hypothesis, or you might "confirm" it, but except in mathematics (&?), you never "prove" it.
A "confirmed" hypothesis is called a "theory".
How do you "confirm" a hypothesis?
For one thing, by using it to make predictions, and then testing to see if those predictions prove true.
In the case of Evolution Theory, it is confirmed by an endless list of predictions, all of which proved true.
The link above refers to a few, and here is another, longer list of confirmed predictions.
Here is a long list of physical evidence confirming Evolution Theory.
And here is a summary of the entire discussion on Evolution as Fact and Theory
annalex: "Then I noticed that a question posted form a skeptics position: Where exactly is the proof?"
I am somewhat familiar with your tactics here, having years ago debated at great length with some dedicated Holocaust deniers.
I began thinking: this should be easy, since there are literal tons of physical evidence of the WWII Holocaust.
But it turned out that no amount of evidence would satisfy dedicated deniers -- no eyewitness testimony was reliable, no photograph could be trusted, no official document really meant what it said, no expert analyses mattered, even words themselves did not actually mean what they meant, according to the deniers.
And all the while deniers kept saying: show us the proof, show us the proof, show us...
Of course, you remember the old saying: "You can lead a horse to water...", well, that also applies here.
Obviously, anyone determined not to see the truth of evolution, can't be forced to see it.
annalex: "So I conclude, it is junk science.
It ought to be ridiculed relentlessly.
You dont deserve anything better.:
And in the end, it became totally obvious that those Holocaust deniers really cared nothing about the Holocaust itself, and were instead using the debate as a forum to express those ideas they truly did care about: pro-Nazi anti-semitism.
So in any future discussion, such as this one, I always try to look behind the stated arguments to see if it can be discovered: what does this person truly care about, and why are they continuing to deny the obvious in order to present their real views -- and those are what?
In your case, your "real view" seems to be simply your desire to continue to "ridicule relentlessly" science.
Obviously, I don't get it, but whatever turns you on, FRiend... ;-)
Problem with your “evidence” is that it isn’t. A believer in evolution sees that as some kind of corroboration. A skeptic doesn’t.
The comparison to the holocaust is self-serving. The Holocaust is an event of recent history with serious documentary evidence, plausible motivation, and available (quite unfortunately) mechanism. It was also perpetrated by people who believed in human speciation; probably not the company you would choose as an apologist for Darwin. To equate the level of evidence available regarding WWII and the figments of your fellow cultists’ imagination as regards the fiction of the “evolution” is laughable.
That was just the language of those Holocaust deniers, and even when presented with evidence, they still claimed "no evidence."
annalex: "The Holocaust is an event of recent history with serious documentary evidence, plausible motivation, and available (quite unfortunately) mechanism."
Sure, but to dedicated deniers, none of it "proves" a real Holocaust.
Indeed, they called it the "Holo-hoax", and jabbered on endlessly about how all the "evidence" was manufactured by Communists and, of course, Jews.
Nothing could faze them, they had "answers" for everything.
annalex: "It was also perpetrated by people who believed in human speciation; probably not the company you would choose as an apologist for Darwin."
In fact, this re-visits a point I made earlier which needs serious correction.
Comparing "Global Warming" to Evolution, I posted that the problem with "Global Warming" is: it mixes science with leftist politics, resulting in the corruption of science.
I said that by contrast, Evolution Theory had not become a left-wing political agenda item, and therefore could still be trusted as honest science.
Well, I momentarily forgot how the Nazi era clearly demonstrated what happens when even a theory as seemingly innocuous as Evolution gets mixed up in socialist politics -- millions of innocents murdered.
Today, so far as I can tell, there is no leftist political agenda being driven by Evolution Theory -- it's just science, and nothing more.
Yes, I understand somewhat your angst over the word "random", as in mutations, since it seems to remove God from the process.
But I argue that is a self-inflicted wound, since any child can be taught that what science calls "random" is often God's Long Term Plan or even God's Hand in action.
Nothing is truly "random", everything has some reason and purpose, if we only seek to see it.
annalex: "To equate the level of evidence available regarding WWII and the figments of your fellow cultists imagination as regards the fiction of the evolution is laughable."
But the Holocaust deniers used the same tactics for looking straight at evidence and claiming it wasn't there as you do.
Indeed, they were far better at their game than you are at yours -- they knew their stuff far better than you know yours.
For every piece of evidence which I thought would clinch the case, they had already prepared detailed legal briefs showing how that evidence was supposedly faked or unreliable, and so should be discarded.
By contrast, you have not mastered your subject.
For examples, you don't know basic scientific terminology, and thus can only produce "word salads" on the subject.
You don't know the differences between a scientific hypothesis, theory or law.
You cannot even accurately recite what the Theory of Evolution says.
You don't understand the processes through which evolution operates, indeed, you've repeatedly said, in effect, that you don't need to understand it to "relentlessly ridicule" evolution.
I'm only suggesting that when you attempt to "relentlessly ridicule" something you so thoroughly misunderstand, there is a serious question as to who, exactly ends up more ridicul-ous, FRiend. ;-)
LOL. Evolution is proven because there are Holocaust deniers, QED. Great job.
Theories are confirmed, not "proven".
Techniques for denying obvious confirming evidence are pretty standard, and used in various applications, including Holocaust and Evolution denial.
QED? No, what was to be demonstrated here is that annalex hates science, knows nothing about it, refuses to learn even the basics, and is only attempting to ridicule what annalex thoroughly misunderstands.
QED: I think that has been demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt.
Don't slander me, shaman.
You slander yourself, in every post -- demonstrating your loathing for real science, your love of pretend-science and, by using words like "cult", "voodoo" and "shaman", you show your hatred of the idea of truth itself.
You even claim to be all about ridicule, which makes you just ridicul-ous. QED.
It is because evolution is a superstition that you need to cling to someone else’s skirt: you want to be called science, suffer with the Jews in the Holocaust, and start lawsuits against those who see through your schemes. Oh, and you don’t really need to prove your fantasies. No greater damage to science has been ever done in human history. No wonder American kids don’t want to go to science, — you guys gave it a bad odor.
Sue me, won’t you?
That is a false statement, demonstrating again that you have no respect for the truth. QED
annalex: "...you need to cling to someone elses skirt: you want to be called science,"
Another false statement.
I "want to be called" BroJoeK, I am posting to defend all of science, including its theory of evolution.
annalex: "...suffer with the Jews in the Holocaust..."
Another false statement.
I compared your Evolution Denial to Holocaust Denial because you use similar techniques, including over-reliance on ridicule to make your cases.
annalex: "and start lawsuits against those who see through your schemes."
Another false statement.
The word "sue" as in "lawsuit" was used exactly once before in this thread -- in your post #151.
It is a false accusation invented out of whole cloth in thin air.
annalex: "Oh, and you dont really need to prove your fantasies."
Another false statement.
In real scientific terms: you can prove a mathematical theorem and disprove a scientific hypothesis.
But you do not "prove" a hypothesis, you confirm it, and mulitple confirmations make a hypothesis accepted as "theory".
Long-term evolution is a confirmed theory, and that is a fact.
annalex: "No greater damage to science has been ever done in human history."
Nonsense, in 1632 Galileo Galilei did far more damage to science by insisting, against the Church's orders, that the Earth revolved around the Sun.
Galileo had no proof, it was just a wild "mathematical fiction" according to the Church, for which he was arrested and required to "abjure, curse and detest" those opinions.
So science has often been punished for asserting whatever the evidence confirmed.
Nothing new in that.
annalex: "Sue me, wont you?"