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.
Yeah right, now on top of being Holocaust victims your fellow cultists are also all Galileos. Who, by the way, proved heliocentrism, — something you cannot do.
I stand by my statements.
Also, you made this a flame war. So unless you have news on the scientific justification of the evolution hypothesis, I will ignore your future rants.
Nor could Galileo.
In actual scientific terms, Galileo's telescope observations helped confirm the heliocentric hypothesis, which along with mathematical work of Copernicus and Kepler, made it a scientific theory.
Today we could also call heliocentrism a scientific fact since it has so many times been observed and confirmed (i.e., by space probes launched to photograph the Sun).
But in actual scientific terms, such a theory cannot be definitely proved because it is always possible that some new evidence will be discovered to disprove it.
By the way, we should note that at the time, the Catholic Church correctly considered heliocentrism a "mathematical fantasy", and did not object to it as such.
It was only when Galileo claimed he could confirm it through observation that the Church put its foot down and demanded recantation.
Of course I'm not saying the Church was right and Galileo wrong, only that there's no way Galileo could actually see the Earth revolving around the Sun.
So Galileo's observations did not prove the heliocentric hypothesis, they only helped confirm it, and so made it a scientific theory. QED.
annalex: "I stand by my statements."
Nearly all of your statements have been confirmed false, so wherever you wish to stand is irrelevant.
annalex: "Also, you made this a flame war."
I have merely responded with truth to each of your false statements, FRiend.
annalex: "I will ignore your future rants."
Have a nice day, FRiend. ;-)
You just keep provide material for good laughs that cannot be passed up.
Heliocentrism is the hypothesis that planets have orbits that are nearly circular with the sun at the center. That is a proven theory: astronomical observations agree with it, the observations do not agree with the geocentric hypothesis, and the laws of gravity explain the mechanism. Nothing even remotely similar can be said of the evolution hypothesis: fossil observations can agree with the similar species being unrelated just as easily; the breeding experience does not speak to the issue; and the genetic mechanism more readily explains why the species remain confined to their own boundary overtime, rather than how they supposedly evolve and cross them.
I agree that at the time of Galileo his hypothesis was not yet duly proven, this is why the Church felt it necessary to censor him. However, the insinuation that fundamental astronomical facts such as the shapes of planetary orbits are all merely relative truths that obtain till found false (”some new evidence will be discovered to disprove it”) is another example of your fellow cultists not having a grasp what science is and isn’t.
Overtime, Protestants and Catholics may have adjusted somewhat to the science. It was advocates of the science that attacked Chrisitianity based on their prebiased Atheistic views regarding science...never mind the fact that pure scientific inquiry and reasoning can allow no views regarding tautologies....that is arguements or concepts that can’t be proven true or false. The antireligious Fabian types are picking the fight with religion, not the other way around!
Attacking Christians’ biases in their reasoning based on their belief in the transcendent, the so called atheist scientists as well as the science writer wannabe activists are not being intellectually coherent about their own biases. The current view of these pseudo scientific skeptics is that any arguement that can’t be proven, tested or argued true or false, or “falsified” must therefore be considered automatically false. Thusly, such scientists holding to such transcendent beliefs are not worthy to be considered “relevant” or “true to the scientific method” according to the elitist “tut tut” types of the scientific establishment. Not only that, but angry emotional scorn must always be heaped upon such folk who believe that God has a place in scientific inquiry.
True reason points out yes and no, this or that, type alternatives in rational arguements but the reasoning process must neverbe the impetus in justifying bias. A tautology can’t be proven true or false and true science can never speak to it per se. Yet, while there is nothing in the scientific method that says a scientist in testing principles should draw inspiration and bias from the belief in the Transcendent God, it would be also false for the pre biased God skeptic to claim that a scientist can’t believe in God and do good science...that is while trying to base his anti god bias on that same scientific method.
A scientist who truly believes in God, believes in self honesty, and knows his own pre biases; such an one won’t make short cuts in testing principles leading to new discoveries. He may feel that his belief in God is justified by the order around him and in nature yet he is aware that even Reason herself can only carry him so far to the TRUTH. Such a person also recognizes an epistomological gap between knowledge of an object and the object itself, that only faith not reason can bridge!
In response, first note the example of scientific terms used below:
"It was not until the 16th century that a fully predictive mathematical model of a heliocentric system was presented, by the Renaissance mathematician, astronomer, and Catholic cleric Nicolaus Copernicus of Poland, leading to the Copernican Revolution.
In the following century, Johannes Kepler elaborated upon and expanded this model to include elliptical orbits, and supporting observations made using a telescope were presented by Galileo Galilei."
Notice that real scientific language almost never uses the term "proven theory", and if it does, qualifiers such as "apparent" or "claimed" are usually attached.
The usual scientific term is "confirmed theory", though in this particular case, note the words, "fully predictive mathematical model".
That's scientific talk, because science always has to leave open the possibility that some future data or understanding could overturn or obsolete our current thinking.
A good example of that is Einstein's Relativity Theory compared to Newton's Laws of Motion.
Einstein did not invalidate Newton, but did show the limits of Newton's laws and put them in a larger context.
And the same could happen some day with with any other scientific theory or law, however often confirmed.
It could happen with Darwin's Theory of Evolution.
Indeed, it already has, in several senses, since today's understandings (i.e., of DNA) are far beyond what Darwin originally imagined.
Or perhaps in vindication of anti-evolutionists, scientific evidence will someday be found of not only Intelligent Design, but also the Intelligent Designer!
annalex: "Nothing even remotely similar can be said of the evolution hypothesis: fossil observations can agree with the similar species being unrelated just as easily;"
No, the analogy of heliocentrism with evolution is exact, since no data-observations of any kind suggest anything other than 1) descent with modifications and 2) natural selection.
No scientific hypothesis even hints how species might arise on their own, without ancestors, at various times over millions of years but in sequences which make it appear as if long term evolution has taken place.
Indeed I'll ask it again: what scientific hypothesis explains why an Intelligent Designer would make it appear as if long-extinct species had evolved into those we see today?
annalex: "...the breeding experience does not speak to the issue; and the genetic mechanism more readily explains why the species remain confined to their own boundary overtime, rather than how they supposedly evolve and cross them."
Those are not factually true statements, as I have explained now several times, in seemingly infinite details, none of which phase you, do they?
annalex: "However, the insinuation that fundamental astronomical facts such as the shapes of planetary orbits are all merely relative truths that obtain till found false (some new evidence will be discovered to disprove it) is another example of your fellow cultists not having a grasp what science is and isnt."
In every post you demonstrate how little you know about real science, and how much you loathe it, and your statement here is no exception.
In actual scientific terms:
If all that sounds just a bit "wishy-washy" to you, well, there's a reason for it.
Every serious scientist understands, in the words of Sir Arthur Eddington:
Scientific "faith" such as it is, would be acceptance and adherence to its methodologically natural assumptions.
That is the truthful definition of science, and nobody is required to accept it, except when you intend to call your work "science".
Of course, if you wish to call your work something else, then you need not adhere to methodological naturalism.
If you call your work "philosophy" or "theology" or perhaps even "Moe, Larry and Curly", then you can adopt whichever assumptions suit you best to reach whatever conclusions you may.
Just as long as you don't call it "science", then anything is permitted of you, and any conclusions are acceptable in your own logical systems.
But if you wish to call it "science", now you must use science's terminology, follow science's rules and the first one of those is: methodological naturalism.
My biggest beef is with those who claim “by scientific reasoning” to have arrived at the conclusion that any supposition that is tautologous in nature must necessarily be false, (with heaps of scorn and ridicule to be piled on that person who may hold such suppositions to be at least... plausible!).
When the evolution hypothesis reaches anything comparable to the level of proof of the heliocentric model — or the Holocaust, — wake me up.
Wake up! Crack open a science book.
Go back to school.
Learn something about real science.
Tell all your fake-science friends where they can go. ;-)
Yeah, right. Real scientists don’t not have to prove anything, they just tell us evolution myths.
Not true. Read a book. Go to school. Learn something.
For example...the belief and arguements for the existence of God. That is a discussion of a tautologous nature. Such a belief can’t be accounted for in regular scientific reasoning as God has not submitted himself directly for an evidentiary inquiry. Now one can argue for the existence ordered matter and energy being derived from some unkown origin or higher intelligenceknown as the God of our universe but using the scientific method in and of itself to do so is impossible.
E Forest Mims lll was kicked off the Scientific American staff when it was revealed he was a Christian who held creationist views;the letters and comments from non religious scientists were quite vicious. There was controversy a few years back at the Smithsonian Museum when another noted scientist was “drummed out” for his religious views, the arguemet being that his religious views colored his science and there-fore he was not fit to be working at the institution. I know there was a suit of some type but I don’t know how it turned out!
Indeed. My post was using irony. Yes, you have to prove the theory of evolution like any other theory.
I'm saying it isn't just "regular" scientific reasoning, it's all scientific reasoning, by definition of the word "science".
If you try to bring God into science, then what you are doing is just not "science" any more -- it's something else.
I'm saying you can give it another name, call it whatever you wish, just don't call it "science", because by definition, science is based on Naturalism.
Of course, that is supposed to mean Methodological Naturalism, not Metaphysical-Ontological-Philosophical (MOP) Naturalism, which seems to be the problem concerning you.
In other words, a scientist should be able to put on his Methodological-Natural hat when he gets to work in the morning, and take it off again at the end of the day.
But you describe a different situation, where organizations seem to be snooping into a scientist's religious practices, to see if they might influence his work products.
I find that hard to believe, am more inclined to suspect an excuse rather than real reason.
After all, people get hired or fired from jobs every day, and one often doesn't know the "real reason" and so may be inclined to "fill in the blanks" with something that sounds plausible.
And if there are lawsuits involved, the organization may agree to settle out of court, providing a strict "non disclosure" agreement is signed.
So yet another level of secrecy gets added to an already murky situation.
The bottom line is, a significant number of working scientists are religious enough to attend church regularly, and a much larger number will admit to believing in God, and I doubt if any feel seriously threatened in terms of job security on account of those things.
But maybe I'm wrong, and if so, then that's a shame.
Google E Forest Mims sometime and you’ll understand my beef regarding the antireligious elitism that dominates much scientific thinking nowadays. I do understand the “in between the lines” reasons that cause some folks to lose their jobs and occaisionally such an one may attempt to use red herrings such as “a personal attack on my religious freedoms” to deflect any scrutiny away from one’s shoddy work product or habits(that got one fired in the first place).
All steps from basic photoreceptor cells to modern eyes of different types can be seen in living animals. As for the rest, your questions are based on a mistake. A species - defined by the ability of members to breed with each other and have fertile offspring - does not and of course can not jump to a different species. There is no point in time where mutant members of a new generation could not breed with non muitant ones. Those who can’t breed by definition don’t breed, and the mutation dies with them. However, while each new step can breed with the preceding one or the following one, a large enough number of differences CAN mean that distant relatives can’t interbreed. This is true both of far ancestors and of different groups of what was formerly one single specie if they migrate to different areas and adapt to different selective pressures. All creatures are transitional, including me and you. The transition is simply small enough to make breeding with our near genetic relatives possible.
Frankly, you could read all this before you post.
I’ve read a lot of theories. Quite frankly I’m searching for a new wrinkle, theory or angle I can research.
As we’re all in transition as you say, can you give me some examples of creatures that are between species right now?
What are our nearest relatives btw? I ask because there isn’t a pat answer to that. Also, has there been any discovery that has really been proven to be part ape, part man? Proven. . .not extrapolation or outright fraud.
Has abiogenesis been witnessed anywhere or reproduced in any test? Has speciation been witnessed anywhere? Why the lack of studies or papers on the subject?
To save yourself time just give me some names or direct me to a location and I’ll do the legwork.
Thanks in advance. Hope all is well.