Creationists’ Questions for Evolutionists

Finally, the day has arrived: my last church service of the summer! The fact that I can choose not to attend church at college is something that I take for granted when I’m there, and next week I’ll be talking about other reasons why I’m so ready to return even though it’s a Christian college. For now, however, I can’t help but share something that I found in my church this morning: booklets on evolution and creation made by the Creation Research Society.

You may remember that at the beginning of the summer, I talked about an anti-evolution mini-library that I found in my church. Today, I revisited the bookcase in search of anything I’d be interested in buying to read at school. There weren’t any books that I was interested in, but I did find these booklets that were free for the taking:

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At some point, I will do a Part 2 and write my response of the Questions for Creationists (which is a series of creationist responses to hard questions about conflict between science and creation), but today I’m going to talk about Questions for Evolutionists.

You would think that Questions for Evolutionists would be written by creationists and Questions for Creationists would be written by evolutionists, but of course, both of these booklets were written by creationists, for creationists (specifically by editor Theodore J. Siek, Ph. D.). The booklet for evolutionists presents questions that the authors pride themselves on being logically unanswerable by naturalists, and it has a very “checkmate, atheists!” vibe, which we all know and love.

The booklet on refuting evolution begins with three questions meant to challenge naturalism:

“1. Can all phenomena on earth and in our universe be explained by natural causes or are there causes other than natural causes and forces other than natural forces ?
2. Can you name even one benefit to humanity or a major contribution to medicine, science, engineering, or applied science that was inspired by or guided by the theory of evolution or an axiom of evolution ?
3. Is evolution appropriately expressed by the axiom that random mutations guided by natural selection explain all existence ?”

Before you ask: yes, they did include spaces between the questions and their question marks.

Back to the topic at hand, though, my answer to all three is more or less ‘yes’. #1 can’t be proven correct or not, but I have no reason to believe in supernatural causes, so I don’t. Supernatural forces and causes are not necessary for explaining anything. As for #2, evolution has allowed us to understand where we came from, reducing a need for religious dogma while humbling us as we realize how connected and similar we are to all other life on earth. As a layperson and not a scientist, I’m not particularly sure of its other benefits, such as in medicine and other biological and scientific pursuits, but I know that many of these fields would not be as advanced as they are without the theory of evolution.

Question #3 hints to me that the authors do not fully understand how evolution works and what it explains. It explains why life appears to be designed and how life on earth is so varied and complex. It explains where humans came from and how we are all a part of the animal kingdom. It does not “explain all existence,” which is a vague idea as it is. There is a lot about existence that is explained by evolution, but if someone is looking for a purpose or creator for life on earth within evolution, they would be looking in the wrong place.

Much of this booklet is spent refuting theistic evolution as well as atheistic evolution. It asks questions about how Christians can reconcile evolution and an old earth with the creation account in Genesis. On this, I agree with them: if not interpreted literally, Genesis and the rest of the Bible loses much of its significance and meaning, and if Christians don’t believe that Genesis is history, why believe that events such as the Resurrection or Ascension are history? Theistic evolutionists such as Francis Collins, however, have their own responses to these questions.

When it gets to the main portion of its questions for evolutionists, the booklet includes eighteen questions. Questions #1-7 all accuse evolutionists of not being able to name the specific scientists who did things like prove that life can come from non-living chemicals, scientifically establish that Homo erectus and Homo habilis were close ancestors of Homo sapiens, or come up with a scientific discovery, medical breakthrough, or mathematical equation of science produced or guided by evolutionary theory. Questions #8-18 present questions related to the first and second laws of thermodynamics, DNA, carbon dating, the science of the big bang, the fossil record and molecular genetics, and whether biological adaptation is random or directed. The researchers at the Creation Research Society found flaws between evolution and all of these issues, although I daresay that a more thorough and accurate understanding of what evolution works and how it was and is discovered would answer many of their questions.

Finally, the booklet accuses evolutionists of being dogmatic and even less “open-minded” than creationists, while at the same time claiming repeatedly that all of the science work that they do at the CRS is under the assumption that the God of the Bible is the Lord of the Universe. They express their unrest with the outcome of the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover court case which ruled intelligent design as “religion disguised as science” and took it out of public classrooms and school libraries.

Their dissatisfaction comes from the idea that if evolutionists and atheists are as open-minded as we say we are, then why don’t we just teach both creation and evolution in schools and allow children to discern for themselves which one is more plausible? To me, only natural science should be taught in science class. I have no problem with children being exposed to creationism, although it has its own classroom: the Sunday School classroom. If these creationists wouldn’t want their child to be taught evolution at Sunday School, then why would it be okay for them to teach my (future) children creationism at their secular school?


You can read the entire booklet Questions for Evolutionists here.

41 Replies to “Creationists’ Questions for Evolutionists”

  1. Unlike the developed world, most Africans including myself affirm creation. Evolution here is regarded with silly looks saying “What are you on about?”.I am a deist in part because of the evidence for God in lifeforms.

    So to the questions.

    1) No, naturalism fails at explaining everything. In particular, naturalism cannot explain the mind from where the concept comes. They always say brain and brain activity ignoring that looking at that doesn’t tell you a persons’s state of mimd which should be if they weee correct.

    2) No, there is no benefit to evolution because it is false. Whatever benefits are supposedly predicted because of a belief.in evolution can be as well done under a creationist framework. One bad thing about evolution is that because of it the role that directed mutations play in evolution is downplayed in favour of unwanted and harmful random mutations.

    3) Yes. If by existence they mean the development of lifeforms from.a common ancestor. Otherwise, it would be wrong for evolution cannot and does not explain everything.

    I affirm creation and strongly disagree with evolution and can defend my stance upon a challenge. That’s my 2 cents. I await your next post.

    Have a good day, Closet Atheist.

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    1. Africans have the greatest genetic diversity because that’s where the human species originated. You also have remains of dozens of humanoid species all over the continent, some of which still have intact DNA, all of which show a smooth progression from chimp-like ancestors to modern humans. The brain cavity size increases as expected, and many of them have a combination of features, like bipedal legs and more ape-like arms and shoulders.

      DNA analysis of modern humans around the world can trace our ancestral migrations, and link related groups by the ERVs and other distinct “scars” that they share in their DNA. And this isn’t just limited to one species. Distinct mutations are not just shared within the human species, but across all living things on the planet. The closer an animal is related to us, the more old viruses and specific mutations we share in our DNA. It’s like having scars that are inherited by your children.

      There are many useful applications of evolution. To start with, artificial selection of plants and animals to create domestic varieties that are more useful to us IS evolution. There is no more and no less to evolution than what is displayed in the diversification of dogs, the transformation of a wild grass into modern corn, and so on. The mechanism by which things adapt is the mechanism by which evolution happens, because there is no limit to how much your genome can change. In fact, after understanding evolution, our ability to modify organisms has become significantly more efficient, and we even caused single-celled yeast to evolve into multicellular colonies in mere months simply by subjecting it to an environment where larger particles are more likely to survive.

      Just like we can look at the genomes of wild and domesticated organisms and identify the differences introduced by artificial selection, we can do the same with two different species of organisms and see the differences introduced by natural selection. It’s exactly the same as doing DNA tests to match human relatives. You merely share a smaller fraction of your genome with more distantly related life forms. The entire field of genetics operates on the assumption that evolution is true, and it continues to produce accurate and useful results.

      Evolutionary theory has made many successful predictions, such as pinpointing the expected location of certain fossils. Tiktaalik is a fish with arms and wrists very much like primitive amphibians, and it was found exactly where evolution predicted it would be. There are thousands of other intermediate species that have been predicted and found using evolution.

      Mutations are not directed. They are all random, and harmful ones are weeded out because organisms with them are less successful at reproducing and therefore less likely to pass on their bad genes. Mutations are very common; every newly fertilized human embryo starts with over 100 on average, and they continue to add up every time one of your cells divides. Because of that, our genomes have evolved to have an enormous amount of junk between the active parts, so it’s less likely that a mutation will happen in a vital piece of the genome. When it does, most of the time it has no effect. Sometimes it’s harmful, sometimes it’s both harmful and helpful, and the outcome depends on whether it’s a net improvement.

      Very rarely a mutation is purely beneficial, but since the external environment is what selects for genes, a change in the environment could make a beneficial mutation suddenly harmful, or vice versa. This is why a lot of species go extinct. They may have been doing great in a stable environment, but if the environment changes too fast their accumulated beneficial mutations could quickly become a liability that prevents them from successfully reproducing in the new environment.

      I used to believe as you do, until I understood the thing I was rejecting. After understanding it, there is no way to argue against it.

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      1. I am well-read on evolution dear. You have to understand that there are people who disbelieve evolution from a standpoint of knowledge.

        BTW, is sexual recombination of genes during conception of a zygote a random process? Also let me know whether genetic transcription and translation is a directed process. That will be all.

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        1. So far, every single person I’ve met who rejects evolution has made demonstrably false claims about it.

          No, conception is not a random process because it’s a chemical process, and chemicals interact according to the laws of physics and chemistry. There’s no “direction” except that which is inherent to the process by the nature of the interacting chemicals.

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            1. Proteins are chemicals. They react with other substances in predictable ways, based on their chemical properties.

              Directed mutation, as far as I’m aware, is a long-debunked hypothesis that failed to find support in the evidence. It’s odd that you’re citing it, though, because it was a hypothesis created to explain why adverse conditions sometimes prompt faster-than-usual rates of evolution. Why would you cite a hypothesis intended to explain instances of evolution while rejecting evolution itself? Other mechanisms have since been discovered by which normal evolutionary processes may be accelerated…and no mechanism has been discovered for directed mutation.

              It’s true that there is a lot more to evolution than just changing the bases of a genetic sequence…DNA folding and epigenetics also play a part. So it’s much more complex than just “a random letter of the DNA changed”.

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            2. And computers are chemicals. They direct processes like car manufacturing.

              Likewise, proteins direct conception, gene transcription and translation following chemical laws.

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            3. No, computers are distinct and non-self-replicating machines made of numerous chemicals that do not exist naturally, combined in ways that are impossible without outside interference.

              On the other hand, RNA is a self-replicating molecule that can assemble spontaneously from materials that are ubiquitous in the universe, given the right environment (there’s a certain type of mud that acts as a catalyst, causing the bases to line up and form an RNA molecule, which itself grabs other bases nearby and lines them up into a copy of itself).

              You’re using the classic false equivalence between naturally occurring phenomena and human-made machines. The important difference here is that computers cannot self-replicate. We can make things (whether physical or simulated) that do self-replicate, and given time and the principles of evolution, they always evolve to better suit their environment. We’ve done computer simulations with self-replicating entities, simple environmental rules, based on evolutionary theory, and the resulting evolved entities had complex structures even better than what human engineers could come up with. If evolution is false, why does such an application of it produce exactly what we would expect if it were true?

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            4. Self-replicating entities are far more complex so they need the direction that proteins and genomes provide. You really need to educate yourself on directed mutations.

              That said, computer simulations involved cheating since the mutations in evolutionary algorithms are not truly random. There are optimization parameters for the mutation aspect which shouldn’t exist for random mutations.

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            5. So what? Complexity itself is not an indication of intention. Complexity very frequently arises naturally from very simple systems. There are many, many examples of this, from crystals to John Conway’s Game of Life.

              RNA is self-replicating and it is quite simple, so you’re wrong on that point too. All you need for a molecule to be self-replicating is two things: the building blocks for it need to be present, and it needs to react with them in such a way that the result of the reaction is a copy of itself. RNA does this spontaneously, as I said, and the materials from which it is constructed are found everywhere, all over the planet, in outer space, in comets, etc. DNA is built by RNA.

              Optimization? You mean like realistic environmental parameters that destroy organisms which aren’t optimized for the environment? That’s not cheating, that’s an accurate representation of what really happens.

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            6. Theere is a limit to what sort of complexity chance can create. Evolutionists have a hard time grasping that.

              You show naivete on what self-replication entails. So much to correct. What they do with RNA is not true replication template-directed replication of RNA moleculesbut usually with an RNA replicase that is prone to it. There are other RNA types that don’t self-replicate.

              Random mutation in evolution aren’t optimized in response the selective outcomes, that’s tye case in evolutionary algorithms.

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            7. Here are just a few reasons I know evolution is true:

              1) We have observed it directly many times.

              2) Every living thing shares genes, and specific mutations within those genes, and their genomes provide enough information to map their ancestry, and the family tree derived from this information perfectly matches the one we can construct from the fossil record.

              3) Turning off the bird genes in a chicken that control the development of the beak, wings, and tail does not result in a horribly deformed chicken. It results in a dinosaur, with a snout, teeth, long reptilian tail, and arms.

              4) Based on the fossil record, birds and crocodiles were predicted to be more genetically similar than lizards and crocodiles, since the lizard branch seemed to split off from what became the dinosaurs long before crocodiles did. Genetic information confirmed this.

              5) Our head lice can be shown via genetic analysis to have diverged from chimpanzee head lice at the same time we diverged from chimpanzees. (In related news, our pubic lice diverged from gorillas’ pubic lice more recently than that, which means our ancestors fucked gorillas.)

              6) We have sequenced genomes for several extinct human species, which show greater genetic similarities to chimpanzees than we have, and which left behind some of their DNA in our own due to interbreeding with our direct ancestors.

              7) Ring species exist. They should only exist if evolution is true, because they are an example of speciation in progress, demonstrating without any doubt that a single population can split into two different populations which are no longer able to interbreed and have distinct differences attributable to their environments.

              8) Microorganisms evolve much faster than larger organisms, because they reproduce much faster, and thus allow us to observe evolution as it happens, which we have done many times. Applying natural selective pressures results in adaptive mutations eventually spreading through the entire population, exactly as predicted by evolution.

              9) Species confined to islands develop distinct features and adaptations to their environments which are not present in their mainland relatives, which is why islands harbor the greatest biodiversity in the world. For instance, species of elephants and humans and other larger animals confined to islands tend to grow smaller over time due to restricted resources. 3-foot-tall hominids used to live on Indonesian islands where they hunted pygmy elephants.

              10) The gene that controls the development of your hand is the same one that develops fins on fish, birds’ wings, and every other hand-like appendage in vertebrates. Similarities like this exist for every gene you have, and the more similar another organism is to you, the more genes you share. We know these genes were inherited from ancestors because that’s how genetics works, and we know we share ancestors with other species because we don’t just share the genes…we share all the specific little mutations within those genes.

              I could go on for a long time. Evolution is true, and no alternative theory has ever been proposed that can explain all of the data that evolution explains.

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            8. 1) Universal common ancestry has never been observed.

              2) The tree of life is assumed. There’s no GOOD hard evidence supporting it.

              3) Evidence?

              4 to 6) Evidence?

              7) Ring species are variations within the genus taxon. Some cases of ring species are doubtful because interbreeding can still occur. See Wikipedia’s article on ring species.

              9) Sure. Variability within limits is encoded in all genomes more or less.

              10) That’s better explained.via common design as random mutations are yet to properly explain how.the genetic code exists. Koonin wrote a paper exploring that.

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            9. Mutations in evolution are random, but they are not randomly selected to continue existing. The only ones that continue are those that happen to “optimize” the organism for survival and reproduction given its environment. Natural selection itself is the optimizer. This isn’t hard to understand…kill off the organisms that don’t have a certain mutation, and the only ones left will pass on that mutation to all of their descendants. If you think building this into a simulation is cheating, then you do not understand evolution.

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            10. You misunderstand. In lifeforms, natural selection doesn’t change the way mutations operate. In algorithms they do. You need to get that.

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            11. There is no sign of intelligent direction in our genomes. They are a blatant example of trial and error, and since all animals share the ERRORS too, common design would require a designer to deliberately write genes with no purpose except to mislead us.

              Think about it. If your genome contains a useless string of old virus genomes, which /exactly/ matches a useless string of old virus genomes in chimpanzee DNA…why? Either you both inherited them from a common ancestor, or a common designer planted useless virus DNA in both of you that serves no purpose except to make us think we had a common ancestor.

              Even considering only the genomes of modern animals, there are, as far as I can tell, only two possible conclusions: an incompetent or deceptive designer, or an unthinking natural process. And I haven’t even gotten into all the weird flaws we share with other animals, like the backwards retina in all vertebrates. Everything we know from genetics and the fossil record perfectly matches evolution, and nowhere does it display any indication of intelligent design, unless said designer was intentionally trying to deceive us into believing evolution.

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            12. You are quite in the dark about things. It is too early to conclude genomes are filled with pseudogenes (aka junk DNA). Google the ENCODE project which continues to find out functions of this so-called junk DNA.

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            13. Telling me I’m in the dark while making claims I used to believe, and have since rejected because I obtained the necessary data to examine them, doesn’t really help your case. I was indoctrinated from infancy to believe young earth creationism, and due to being on the autism spectrum, I instantly rejected it as soon as I finally understood evolution. I had no choice…the information I discovered absolutely destroyed my former ignorant beliefs.

              Not saying I know everything about it, but I know enough to recognize the bad arguments and false claims routinely used by creationists. You seem to have shifted from insisting that “directed mutation” happens, to denying it, because the thing you’re criticizing the simulations for is the definition of directed mutation. So either it does happen, and the simulations are correct, or the simulations are wrong and you’re also wrong about directed mutation. IDK, I would have to do further research to determine if the simulations I’ve read about actually did that, but so far you’re simply displaying a lack of understanding about natural selection, since you attribute the effects of natural selection to “directed mutation” and then turn around and insist that simulations are incorrect if they take those effects into account.

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            14. I agree, I don’t have time to continue…there’s just one more thing I forgot to mention, which you should consider seriously.

              “Variability within limits is encoded in all genomes more or less.”

              What limits? The only limit is time. Every animal’s DNA is made of the same four basic building blocks. No creationist, as far as I’m aware, has ever precisely defined the limits of different animal “kinds”, or proposed a mechanism that could prevent such changes. The few vague definitions I’ve found encompass literally every level of taxonomic organization, from subspecies to kingdom, and all of them fail when applied to actual organisms because there are always plenty of exceptions to be found.

              There’s simply no such limit. With the right tools, you could take the genome of a certain amoeba and reorganize a small fraction of it into a human genome. The only limit is to what extent an existing genome can change in a given amount of time while still producing viable offspring. What mechanism could possibly prevent such changes from building up over a long period of time?

              It sounds like you’re not aware of the recent experiments proving that chickens have latent dinosaur genes, since you asked for evidence of it, so perhaps this would be a good avenue of further study for you. If you can define and demonstrate inherent limits to the evolution of genomes over time, thus overturning the basic premise of evolution (which predicted genomes before we ever had the ability to see them), there’s likely a Nobel prize waiting for you. But I’m quite confident in saying you’ll never find it. Mainly because it’s been tested for many decades and the evidence so far has only confirmed the predictions made by evolutionary theory.

              Good luck.

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          1. It is mathematically impossible for our genomes to be fully comprised of useful information. Considering the known rate of mutation, every couple would have to have many millions of offspring, most of whom die, in order for the species to survive. Like I mentioned earlier, the presence of unused DNA makes it less likely that mutations will happen in the important stuff. If all of it was used, the rate of mutations we have would make the survival of our species impossible, because every single mutation would affect an important gene.

            So I expect you’ll now claim that the designer added the extra DNA to protect us from those mutations. But why write it all in such a way that it points directly to evolution? Why not write unique, intelligent messages to fill the space? We need the junk DNA in order to survive, even though it has no biological function. So it could say anything if it was added by an intelligent designer…why does it give us a perfect picture of shared ancestry?

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  2. All of the food we eat is the result of using evolution to modify wild organisms into something more efficient at producing food for us.

    And the more recent field of genetic engineering via direct manipulation of genomes in living things, that is pretty much entirely based on evolution.

    Other advances based on understanding gained from evolutionary theory are found in pretty much any field of science that interacts with living things. Our war against bacteria hinges on our ability to beat evolution as the little monsters gain resistance to all our antibiotics. Viruses evolve too, and can jump suddenly from animal populations to humans.

    And then there’s the small matter of our future, during which we will either evolve or go extinct. The fate of our species will be decided by the forces that drive evolution, not by us…unless we learn to fully understand and control it.

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  3. teaching religion is best left to someone without an axe to grind in a particular faith. If you truly want a child to learn about faith of any kind you teach him about ALL the religions, from jews to muslims, from buddhists to Catholics, from protestants to more protestants. Otherwise all you’re getting is proselytizing.

    Someone from FSM would be ideal.

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  4. The funny thing about this style of apologetics is that, while it is obviously unconvincing to outsiders (mostly due to rigged methodology, as you point out), it is also frustratingly unconvincing for faithful Christians struggling with doubt. I was referred to this style of nonsense when I first had doubts as a conservative Christian, and honestly the piss-poor reasoning pushed me away faster than any arguments from the “other side.” Bad arguments are worse than no arguments at all.

    By the way, out of curiosity, what Lutheran denomination specifically is your church? (Apologies if you’ve written that elsewhere and I’ve forgotten.) I thought that most Lutherans were way more progressive (and chill) than this.

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    1. This is so true and it goes both ways. Evolution and Creation theories are both simply unproven theories. Well thought out suggestions about how everything came to be. The most honest among us understand that. A theory doesn’t have to be proven, in this instance, in order for one to form their own opinion about which is more likely.

      I think it would be much more helpful for both sides of the argument to talk candidly about the weakness of their own theories, along with its strengths, rather than discussing the weakness of the opposing view.

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      1. Incorrect…creationism is a hypothesis and in most forms directly contradicts reality; the rare versions that accept reality are vague and unfalsifiable and therefore worthless. Evolution, on the other hand, is a scientific theory, which means it is a conceptual framework that explains a set of facts and natural laws, which has been supported by data and confirmed through rigorous experiments and successful predictions.

        We can discuss weaknesses and strengths, but creationism has none of the latter due to having no exclusive evidence. Every piece of evidence creationists claim can be explained just fine without a creator, and that is why it will never be more than a useless hypothesis.

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        1. You are right that Evolution is simply a theory but it is also a hypothesis, is it not?

          We can argue over what is the stronger hypothesis but my point is that they are both simply theories of how things came to be. None of them have been proven scientifically, or did I miss that that?

          I prefer to read the self-critique of those who hold a particular view over those critiques offered by those who oppose the view, regardless of what the view is. I find those more honest and more thought provoking than the typical straw man arguments that the CA is talking about in her post and that Tyler referenced.

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          1. A hypothesis is an explanation that has not yet been tested or verified. A theory is a hypothesis that has stood up to rigorous testing and continues to be supported by additional data. A hypothesis needs to make specific, novel predictions (things that would only be true if it’s true), and then those predictions need to be confirmed with objectively testable data, before it becomes a theory.

            For example, using evolutionary theory scientists were able to pinpoint the expected location of fish/amphibian transitional fossils. Tiktaalik was found exactly where it was expected. Using evolutionary theory, we long ago suspected that birds and crocodiles would be more closely related than lizards and crocodiles. Genetics proved this to be true.

            The important difference is that a theory is based on the results of experiments that directly confirm predictions made by it. A hypothesis is based on extrapolations from existing data, which may or may not be confirmed by further scrutiny. It’s the “further scrutiny” part that creationists can’t do, because they have no direct evidence of gods. Sure, magic can explain everything, but it isn’t a testable prediction.

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        2. “Every piece of evidence creationists claim can be explained just fine without a creator, and that is why it will never be more than a useless hypothesis.”

          I am pretty sure that most creationists would say the same thing about the evidence that the evolutionary side brings, that it could be explained WITH a creator and absent Macro evolution.

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          1. Young earth creationists are incapable of explaining just about every aspect of biology and geology. Old earth creationists, I suppose, could claim the same thing, that the evidence could be explained with a creator.

            The problem is that the nature of the creator they propose contradicts the evidence. If they’re proposing a creator who didn’t use evolution, then they are by extension proposing a creator who put a TON of effort into making it look like evolution is true. When considering the evidence, the choice is not between a powerful benevolent creator and mindless evolution, the choice is between a malevolent and deceptive creator who designed everything to look exactly like the product of mindless evolution.

            In order to replace evolution, creationists would have to first explain every single piece of information that evolution explains, like the ERVs shared between animals exactly like they were inherited from common ancestors, all the adequate but imperfect designs, and the fact that we can see evolution happening in real time. And /then/ it would have to make new predictions that would be false if evolution was true, and true if creationism is true. The confirmation of those predictions is what would be required to turn their hypothesis into a theory.

            They don’t even make any such predictions, let alone explain all of the fine details that evolution does.

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            1. I don’t think that is true, that they would have to explain every single piece of information.

              The challenge of evolutionary theory is how everything began. Not what happened after that. That is what needs to be explained. Over the years, different theory’s have been presented, and none of them have ever been proven.

              The world does look like it is ordered. The most simple explanation is that it was engineered by something intelligent. I don’t think that is the only possible explanation, but it is the one that makes the most sense. That is not the same thing as saying that the Bible is this beings book or that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world or that Christianity (choose your flavor) is true. That is a HUGE leap. One could be true and the other completely false.

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    2. I disagree. I do appreciate opinions, but we must recognize them as opinions. It is simply your opinion that it is unconvincing to all outsiders, and it is an opinion that it is frustrating and unconvincing to all faithful Christians. To some would be obvious, since it is a contentious issue, but not all. By the same token, the problems with molecules to man evolution have ceaselessly frustrated many scientists since its inception as well. In other words, there is a flip side to the coin, and “piss-poor” arguments exists for many of evolution’s assertions as well. I have met many people who have found comfort and understanding in recognizing the biblical perspective of the world. I’m sorry you were pushed away by bad reasoning, but more and more is discovered in science and history each week about it, and it has been a faith building comfort for many, regardless of the blanket statement that apologetics of this nature are utterly useless to everyone. I’d be curious to know how one doesn’t have the same exact opinion of naturalism to be honest, which is why the debate persists.

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      1. Ah, opinions. Your opinion that my opinion is just an opinion is in fact just an opinion – and that (in my opinion) this is just as irrelevant as the fact that my opinion is an opinion.

        If you can casually shrug off the overwhelming consensus among scientists who study evolution, then you are not in my categies of “outsiders” or insiders with [honest] doubts. Of course it makes perfect sense to dismiss a vast census of experts if you have been socialized into a conservative Christian paradigm, but the inability to think beyond that socialization is the mark of an insider, one who can be easily be persuaded by the “gotcha” arguments above. Sure, apologetics (which assume from the outset the truth of the beliefs they are allegedly critically weighing) are quite effective at persuading the insiders. No arguments from me on that. But for outsiders and doubters who do not take the truth and finality of the conservative paradigm for granted, these arguments can only be persuasive on accident, since they are directly derived from precisely that which doubters/outsiders are questioning.

        And that, by the way, is why I don’t think we should give equal ear to “both sides.” By the same logic, I don’t think a doctor, when discussing treatment options with a cancer patient, should be obligated to give equal time to discussing magical healing spells as to discussing standard medical treatment options. The issue is not whether or not I believe in spells; the issue is whether or not scientists are obligated to “give both sides” when explaining to the public a scientific issue which has developed overwhelming consensus among scientists.

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        1. Not sure how my comments were “gotcha” arguments. Just saying blanket statements tend to be emotional, not rational, and examples on each side of the coin could be presented. I know it is much easier to be sarcastic. But I would submit to you that for someone who isn’t a Christian, it is very easy to accuse every born again Christian of being “socialized by a Christian paradigm”. This is not really an argument against, and is instead, simply a form of ad hominem attack; stating that we are wrong simply because of who we isn’t a sound argument. Your first statement was in accurate, technically.

          It is indeed a fact that your opinion was subjective, and can not encompass the experiences and beliefs of entire people groups. But if we cannot even agree on this point of logic, there really isn’t any point to debating. But there are many points of history where consensus hasn’t determined truth. I just felt compelled to comment I suppose, because you seemed so certain that this type of apologetics is unilaterally useless, and I have experienced quite the opposite in my own journey. I do enjoy both sides though, and love to hear and study the evidences for both.

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          1. Sorry – the gotcha arguments I was referring to were the type included in the pamphlet discussed in the original post, not necessarily the ones you brought up.

            Also, I trace what we might call the “truth-evaluating process” (of everyone) back to socialization – to the values, narratives, conceptual categories, thought patterns, etc. that are absorbed socially prior to “truth-evaluation.”  This take on epistemology is heavily influenced by Wittgenstein, Rorty, and others as interpreted by JKA Smith, an orthodox/traditional Christian philosopher – although he takes this reasoning in a much different direction than I do.  So for me, tracing your reasoning back to your socialization is not an ad hominem attack on you, nor is it one that I presume to escape from myself. As a Christian thinking theologically, I believe that Christians in a secular world should be able to work through the alternate epistemologies offered by secular and Christian communities. It is the dominance of the latter over the former which is (in my opinion) the great missiological and epistemological/methodological error of standard conservative Christian apologetics. I am not making a theoretical (not empirical) argument against the structure of conservative apologetics. (Sorry for the giant paragraph, but it is difficult to compress an epistemological-theological argument.)

            (And remember, in my opinion that’s just my opinion on opinions. And while I am trying to make a joke by that statement, I’m not being sarcastic.)

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            1. Regarding sarcasm, I was referring to the “magical healing spells” portion of your comment. Appreciate your clarification on the “gotcha” argument, and yes, I can see your point there. The rest of your comment, I am admittedly not smart enough to follow. I’ll work on it. . I’ve enjoyed our back and forth. It was fun. Let’s definitely do it again sometime.

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  5. If they want children to be taught all the sides to the question, then I’m sure they’d want ALL the points of view to be taught? This is the original reason for the creation of the Church of the FSM, to demand equal time for ALL the religious points of view on this, including the (other) clearly silly ones. “Intelligent design” needs to be balanced with “Unintelligent design”, just to be fair.

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