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:
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.