Born in 1903 and writing in the early part of last century, George Orwell, a socialist whose real name was Eric Blair, penned the now famous novel 1984 about totalitarianism. Oceania, the ruling territory of Orwell's protagonist Winston, used a deceptive language called Newspeak to eliminate words and thoughts harmful and challenging to governmental control. The government in Oceania understood that one cannot rebel or protest when one does not even have the means to express one's protest. (1)
Thankfully we do not live in an age such as this. Yet, verbal manipulation is everywhere, especially in the creation/evolution debate. An article by Robert Green, AP (Associated Press) writer (2) leaves me with the impression that a con job is in the works, one that uses word subtlety to advance a biased evolutionist's view. The article opens by stating that evolution must be taught in public schools if children are to understand biology and later describes what that biology is when it lists the adaptation of bacteria to antibodies. Since I feel I have adequate knowledge of life and the minute changes life undergoes, knowledge that comes without embrace of evolution, I doubt this assumption the author makes. But I read on in the article for clarification.
The adaptation spoken of here is microevolution, or evolution only within limits, and it is entirely possible for species to change within certain limits. Ralph Seelke states the mutations of development genes (genes that control development of new organs or appendages) to produce new types of organisms have never been observed. (3) Ray Bohlin reveals the minute variations in bacteria undergoing mutations when he quotes French zoologist Pierre-Paul Grasse as saying "mutations of bacteria and viruses are merely hereditary fluctuations around a median position . . . but no final evolutionary effect." (4) And Jonathen Wells has recently wrote to reveal common evidences for evolution - like four-winged fruit flies, finches with different size beaks, and peppered moths - don't show evidences for continual macromutational evolution. (5)
Given this, it's revealing when observing what evidence is cited for evolution, at least evolution we can observe. There is seldom, if ever, any evidence given for gross macroevolutionary changes. Instead, smaller changes are offered. H. Allen Orr cites resistance of bacteria (6) as does Kenneth Miller. (7) Sure, the evidence is slight, but what do you expect in only 100 years, Orr ask. However, Lee Spetner writes that the resistance in bacteria to antibodies is caused by point mutations in their DNA which makes them less sensitive to the antibiotic drug with no gain in genetic information to make them evolve further. (8) Kent Hovind, who has put up reward money to anyone who can prove evolution, has told me there have been some feeble attempts to prove evolution but "most of the people who look at my offer will quickly admit there is no scientific evidence for evolution." (9) True, the evidence might be slight, but one cannot observe from this scant evidence that evolution is a fact unless one knows in advance that it is. Viruses, birds, and moths remain viruses, birds, and moths although there may be modest changes in the species.
Though the debate continues over missing links between man and ape, evolution from ape to man is not currently observed. Evolution of ape language into what language ability mankind has is not observed and in place of observation is only speculation. A small article in U.S. News and World Report on chimp and dolphin language concedes studies of chimps have shown the animals can use signs and symbols, but only in limited fashion. It suggests primitive language "may have arisen not so much from the need to communicate as from the mind's effort to grasp the world around it." This is speculation at its worst, speculation filling gaps of knowledge. (10)
Given the attempt to extrapolate from microevolution evidence for immense changes evolution demands, we should look to the article for other signs of slight verbal mismanagement. The article quotes from the National Academy of Sciences: "There is no debate within the scientific community over whether evolution has occurred, and there is no evidence that evolution has not occurred." The first part of that statement is untrue, or at least misleading. There is debate in the scientific community although it is rather hushed up, as this article demonstrates. There are also a great number of scientists and philosophers who have expressed discontent over Darwinism and evolution and have showed they may not be satisfactory explanations for life's origin and development. (11) A frequent criticism of any such list is that critics are all creationists. This is not so. Also, many creationists do not believe in evolution for scientific reasons and if the evidence is so overwhelming for evolution, probably all creationists would convert and find some way for their religion to accommodate evolution in the same way liberal Christians mutate the Christian faith so as to fit various liberal agendas. This does not happen. The second statement appears to be a coverup. To say there is no evidence evolution has not occurred suggests to me the writer is addressing arguments against evolution by using a sloppy logical argument. Normally one does not try to prove there is no evidence against event A. One tries to prove there is evidence for event A. Assuming there is no competitive explanatory theory to life's origins other than evolution is what I think the author is up to here and this may be nonfactual and question begging, and evolution might be the winning explanation only by assuming no non-natural explanations are possible.
The article concludes by noting that a "theory in the scientific sense" is different than everyday hunches in that it is an explanation that is well-substantiated. In this sense, evolution is considered not necessarily a fact, but a theory that is very good as an explanation for the origin and development of life. Yet, criticisms prevail. The article does at least mention two of the most prominent critics of evolution: Phillip Johnson and Michael Behe. There are more, of course, and not without reason. The most frequent arguments against evolution by its critics are the lack of transitional fossils, the improbability of the spontaneous generation of proteins necessary for life to begin, the violation of the second law of thermodynamics by evolution, biologic limits to change which prevent life from evolving, and the inability to reconcile naturalistic evolution with varied human experiences such as morality and knowledge of immaterial entities and mental experiences. Shandon Guthrie, a Christian philosopher, has noted that evolutionist predispositions lead to ad hoc assumptions to save the theory such as continental drift, the non-existence of the human spirit, gross genetic changes beyond our experience, a cosmological matrix preferring a life-permitting universe over a life-prohibiting one, an explanation for our moral values, the presence of design in our universe, and others.(12) One must also realize there are converts out of evolution, or at least some crude naturalism, including Patrick Glynn, (13) Hank Hanegraaff, (14) Gary Parker, (15) John Oiler, (16) and John Hansen.(17) These converts dot the cultural and intellectual landscape and at least bolster a claim that some kind of creationism is at least intellectually respectable enough to demand consideration.
What's Science, What's Evolution?
The previously cited article is a masterful work in propaganda. First, it dulls the line between microevolution and macroevolution as to suggest biology cannot be understood unless taught in an evolutionist perspective. It then, without saying so, shunts all creationist scientists, philosophers, and researchers into a separate realm as to proudly and confidently claim there is no "scientific" dispute over evolution. By limiting the scope of the disagreements with evolution, the article makes it appear as if only a few disbelieve evolution when many do, and not for unknown or illogical reasons.
This debate is often framed as religion battling science when in reality the debate appears as science debating science, a debate centering on different views of reality using scientific precepts. Creationists insist that by our scientific understanding, evolution is not possible and certainly not witnessed. Evolutionists argue that evolution is seen and a fact from the scant evidence we can gather. Atheistic evolutionists find fault with theistic beliefs while creationists use their criticisms of evolution to bolster their faith and thereby find credibility in their religious beliefs. In the totality of this debate, what is at stake is the truth in religious belief and scientific belief.
Before proceeding, we should clearly know what science is. Michael Ruse, arch evolutionist, takes a limited view of what science is when stating it is "not possible to give a neat definition . . . which separates all and only those things that have ever been called `science,'" and proceeds to note that science "is about unbroken, natural regularity." (18) Other writers go further than this. Webster's New Compact Dictionary defines science as the "systematic acquisition of knowledge, especially knowledge that can be measured precisely." The National Academy of Sciences tells us scientific explanations "are based on empirical observations or experiments," are tentative, historical, and sometimes limited. Scientific explanations assume cause-effect relationships among objects, organisms, and events. (19) Peter Angeles' dictionary of philosophy defines the scientific method as "an empirical, experimental, logicomathematical conceptual system that organizes and interrelates facts within a structure of theories and inferences." He states the scientific method includes the assumption you can deduce causes from studying effects. (20) Ronald Pine describes the logic of the scientific method as that involving the creation of a hypothesis which can be tested. If one hypothesizes that physically abused children will grow up to be abusive parents, then one should find that a particular abused girl should grow up to be a bad mother (an example Pine uses). (21) Science does seem to embrace natural causes but also non-natural ones provided you can link intelligently designed agents to their effects, such as abuse of a child leading to that same child becoming an abusive parent. Science also seems to simply imply empiricism as in "scientific" samplings of the public. If the sampling does not adequately represent the population, then it is not scientific. That is to say that the sample does not allow us to adequately test the population for what we are testing it. There have been mistakes in the conceptualizing of science, though, as in Walter Lyons using science to explore the possibility of UFOs being alien crafts while dismissing such alien crafts as not a scientific explanation (22) or religious historian Martin Marty claiming that we are in a time of simple faith when faith usurps science, a claim which would negate the empiricism of science (something absurd). (23) However we describe science, it does not exclude postulating intelligent intent or design. It seems a clear mark of "science" is its testability of theories, whether invoking natural laws or not invoking them. Paradigms can also be used to test theories and these paradigms often are used in metaphysical theories of the purpose of life, whether that purpose is religious or secular.
We should also make a distinction between origin science and operation science because the cause behind an origin of a non-repeating event is quite often not a natural law but an intelligent agent's action. Such an action is capable of being explored within a scientific framework if we can tie it to its effects, an approach Norman Geisler and Kerby Anderson support. (24) In this way science can address creation and evolution issues.
Atheistic evolutionists go further than claiming creationism is not science; they dismiss creationist arguments as devoid of intellectual content. Creationism is not science, we are told, perhaps because, as Michael Ruse says, the divine events it says happened do not appeal to natural causes we can discover and test. (25) Hence, creationism is meaningless as a stepping stone to understanding the world. Stephen Gould has also echoed similar sentiments as Ruse. Certainly Ruse is expressing a common worry among evolutionists - that to begin to invoke divine events is to allow no testability to one's scientific theory and to allow a divine foot in the door is to let all scientific testing cease. Yet so often evolutionists write as if they know what a god would do, hereby revealing an inconsistency in their writings.
Gould, for instance, asks, rhetorically, why God made increasing cranial capacity and reduced teeth (and other features) in the half-dozen human species discovered in the rocks. Was it to mimic evolution or test our faith? Perfection, Gould says, covers the tracks of history whereas the tracks of history are evolution's evidence. Perfection could be imposed by a wise creator, but imperfections record a history of descent. Why should many of us creatures do what we do with the same bone structures unless we received them from a common ancestor, he asks. Implicit in his argument is the assumption God would not use the same structures again. (26) Gould has also argued that a creator would not have designed the panda's thumb like it is. (27) Richard Dawkins complains about the shape of the bony flatfish, stating "Its very imperfection is powerful testimony of evidence of its ancient history, a history of step-by-step change rather than of deliberate design. No sensible designer would have conceived such a monstrosity if given a free hand to create a flatfish on a clean drawing board." (28) Cornelius Hunter has recently listed numerous evolutionists who resort to "negative theology" to bolster their evolutionist beliefs. For example, Tim Berra and Mark Ridley believe God would not repeat a pattern, as in the use of DNA in all organisms. Stephen Gould believes God would not make it appear as if Orchids were made of spare parts from other flowers. J. B. S. Haldane believes there are too many species (insects, for instance) and God would not have created that many. Darwin himself puzzled at the odd connection of parts of which animal and man were produced and suggested an evolutionary origin to them. (29) Darwin has also argued that, with the view that each species is separately created, "how utterly inexplicable is it that organs bearing the plain stamp of inutility . . . should so frequently occur." (30) How does Gould know that God would not have designed the panda's thumb and how does Dawkins know that God would not have designed the bony flatfish unless we can know what act a divine or semi-divine creator would do. If you can know what a divine or semi-divine creator would create, then the whole venture of predicting and testing via that knowledge is scientific, and this knowledge certainly deserves more credit than Ruse gives it.
That being said, what is the status of evolutionists' treatment of science and how it impacts their research? Consider this blurb by Gould.
Well, evolution is a theory. It is also fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away while scientists debate rival theories for explaining them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air pending the outcome. And human beings evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other, yet to be discovered. (31)
Gould has also said evolution is one of the half dozen "great ideas" developed by science. (32) Evolution is a fact to Gould, and a theory, and an idea. This is strange science writing, calling something fact, theory, and idea. We don't normally call the fact that the earth revolves around the sun an "idea," so how can the fact of evolution also be an idea? This strange feature in Gould's writing makes sense when one contemplates just what evolution is. Evolution is a paradigm about the primitive developing into the complex, a paradigm that envelops not only biological life but the universe as well. (Julian Huxley has called evolution a process and a concept. (33)) That is why creationists and evolutionists debate not only the origins of biological life but the universe. Once it is assumed life can generate spontaneously, it is also assumed the universe can do so as well, and life can generate spontaneously on other planets. That is why Gould can remark that evolution is an "idea" and a "fact." Gould also remarks that, "Perhaps we should lie low and rally round the flag of strict Darwinism, at least for the moment - a kind of old-time religion on our part." (34) Gould, I suspect, was making this comment tongue-in-cheek, but I wonder if he should have made it at all. For something as controversial as evolution, and something which needs to be proven so desperately for scientists like Gould, why should he even hint that he is believing in Darwinism (and probably evolution) because it is a type of old-style religion? Scientists should be unbiased and ready to abandon a theory when the facts do not fit the theory.
I am not the only investigator to notice a curious flip-flopping in Gould's writing. Gould doesn't hide his disdain for creationists, Jewish conservative Don Feder writes, who quotes from an interview with Gould in Time magazine: "They are fairly marginal [and] represent but a tiny minority of religious people in America." Quickly to contradict himself, Gould, when asked how long the battle against them will go on, retorts, "It will never formally end as long as there are millions of them out there with lots of money." (35) As far as the curious use of the word "evolution," there is more of this in mail to Time magazine from Vu Nguyen, which appeared after the magazine's article on the evolution from ape to man. (36)
Although evolution has been the subject of decades of derision and court battles, it finally emerges triumphantly as one of the three greatest theories of our time. Along with relativity and quantum physics, evolution forms the cornerstone of human understanding of nature. Your article, aimed at the lay reader, is one of the best scientific pieces I've read in years. It puts man where he belongs. He is part of the cosmos, driven relentlessly by evolution and emerging by pure chance, not by any divine fiat.
Gould has said evolution is fact, but Vu Nguyen says it is a theory, akin to relativity and quantum physics. Again, I must caution, that a theory is not the same as fact; we don't call the rising and setting of the sun a fact and theory. I think what Nguyen means is that evolution is a theory well substantiated in the sciences and not fully evidenced, something that still does not make it a fact as Gould says. Then Nguyen says man is driven by evolution, but it is not the evolution that is supposedly the explanation for why life is here (that all life originated by chance). Clearly man is not driven at all by the fact life originated by chance. Man is driven by change - personal, financial, cultural - and it is this type of change I believe Nguyen refers to. I may be wrong, of course, but Nguyen does nothing to clarify his position. If anything, his writing shows a common evolutionist tactic, confusing all change with evolutionary change so that all change is one continuous process with man both benefitting from evolution and controlling evolution. (37)
There is more of using different standards of science for evolution and natural selection and against creationism. Langdon Gilkey, reporting on the "creationist" trial in Little Rock, Arkansas, concerning Arkansas Act 590 advocating teaching creationism in the public schools, remarks
In their literature, the creationists had made a good deal of the obvious fact that past historical developments, such as the formation of the galaxies and the solar system, the geological history of the earth, and the development of the forms of life - not to mention the Big Bang itself - being unique and past events or sequences of events, could not be repeated under present experimental conditions, and thus could not be "observed." How, then, creationists asked, could evolution be called scientific? (38)
This question was put to evolutionist Michael Ruse. His response was "interesting and persuasive," as Gilkey says.
Scientific testing does not mean . . . observing all the forces or events referred to in a theory. In important theory, most of these are, in fact, unobservable. . . . What is observed is implications of the theory in the observable present. A scientist simulates in the laboratory conditions similar to conditions held to be the case in that past situation and looks for concrete, measurable data implied by the theory were it true. Or one tests a theory about a past event by means of a model erected in the lab. Knowledge of the unobservable past is possible, therefore, on the assumption that the same natural laws that brought that past event about are operative in our present experience - an assumption that makes possible knowledge of the distant stars in space and of the earth's distant beginnings in time. (39)
Francisco Ayala (40) echoes Ruse and takes a narrow view of science when saying, "Creation science . . . appeals to a supernatural cause, and not to a universal natural law, for its principle of explanation. As a consequence, it is not a testable hypothesis (no one can test a divine act); nor, as an aspect of faith in God's activity, is it held tentatively." (41) Ruse at one point says that the implications of most scientific theories are not observable, which leaves room for scientific models contemplating intelligent agents' actions or past natural events like a big bang. What makes a theory testable to Ruse is not its testing of natural laws in a lab because there is more that makes up what is commonly called "science," as discussed before Ruse certainly leaves room for scientific models which involve predictions based around divine actions, especially since evolutionists write as if they know what the divine would do, as I documented. Ayala'a comments ignore the distinction between operational and origin science and also ignore the fact evolutionists often write as if they understand what God would do and predict from their supposed knowledge, as I documented before. Creationists like Duane Gish and Henry Morris, so far as my research goes, have been at least more consistent than this.
As for Gilkey and his objectivity, he remarks, "Suddenly, those of us lay people who were listening realized that `observing evolution' did not mean the unreal claim to have watched an early form of primate change into a hominid some three to four million years ago. It meant . . . observing and checking similar, if not identical, changes illustrating the same principles in a current laboratory situation; and it meant making predictions according to these same principles that could be checked in our own future experience. Thus could empirical science in the present `know' a sequence of past events, a story of nature's development that had occurred eons ago." (42) Gilkey confuses observance of microevolutionary events with macroevolutionary changes and thus gives a boost to evolutionary claims without clearly understanding them.
Another writer who follows contradictory illogic is Brian Leith, who shows there is reason to be skeptical of Darwinism but nevertheless remains a firm believer in evolution and is its unflinching apologist. Darwinism cannot necessarily be considered science, he says, because it cannot be currently tested. Yet, he announces that it "passes muster" as science even though it is not falsifiable by ready observation. Leith, like Ruse, is thinking of how evolutionists can theorize about what they would find in the past if evolution was true and then test their theories by observing, among other things, the fossil record. (Leith cites philosopher Popper for defense and a murder trial for an example of gathering evidence as science without a "scientific" test.) Yet, when he discusses creationism he says that creationism has no scientific merit. For proof, he asks us to consider how a creationist might falsify creationism through experiment. Leith forgets that he has already said Darwinism cannot be falsified through experiment, but has contended that it "passes muster" as science. Yet, when Leith needs to lash out at creationism, he insists that it must "pass muster" as science by being falsifiable through experiment. Apparently evolution can achieved favored status and pass the test of the liberalized standard of "science" while creationism must pass a more rigorous standard. (43)
If I want a scientist who properly portrays the situation, maybe I should rely on Henry Morris who, I believe, accurately sums up the situation.
It is . . . impossible to demonstrate scientifically which of the two concepts of origins is really true. Although many people teach evolution as though it were a proven fact of science, it is obvious that this is false teaching. . . . The same is true of creation, of course. . . . Furthermore, it is clear that neither evolution nor creation is, in the proper sense, either a scientific theory or a scientific hypothesis. Though people might speak of the "theory of evolution" or of the "theory of creation," such terminology is imprecise. This is because neither can be tested. A valid scientific hypothesis must be capable of being formulated experimentally, such that the experimental results either confirm or reject its validity. . . . [T]here is no conceivable way to do this. . . . All of these strictures do not mean, however, that we cannot discuss this question scientifically and objectively. Indeed, it is extremely important that we do so, if we are really to understand this vital question of origins and to arrive at a satisfactory basis for the faith we must ultimately exercise in one or the other. A more proper approach is to think in terms of two scientific models, the evolution model and the creation model. . . . Normally . . . the model which correlates the greater number of data, with the smallest number of unresolved contradictory data, would be accepted as the more probably correct model. (44)
Switching standards is one side of a two-headed coin where the other side has evolutionists crafting natural selection as a blind process which is often taught to us as a conscious watchmaker. Norman Macbeth discovered this when he began researching this subject nearly 40 years ago. He cites Robert Ardrey as occasionally remarking that natural selection is "openminded, not dogmatic, blind as a cave fish, yet shrewd as a cat, has lost interest in the tooth, it regrets nothing." He further cites G. Ledyard Stebbins who says that natural selection is a guiding force or a directive force; Stebbins also likens natural selection to a sculptor creating a statue by removing chips from a block of marble. Charles Darwin himself set the tempo in this regard by remarking that natural selection is "daily and hourly scrutinizing, rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good, silently and insensibly working." (45) When trying to comprehend the mystery of why animals behave as they do, he was up to modern trickery.
Many other facts, are, as it seems to me, explicable on this theory. How strange it is that a bird, under the form of a woodpecker, should prey on insects on the ground; that upland geese which rarely or never swim, should possess webbed feet; that a thrush-like bird should dive and feed on sub-aquatic insects; and that a petrel should have the habits and structure fitting it for the life of an auk! and so in endless other cases. But on the view of each species constantly trying to increase in number, with natural selection always ready to adapt the slowly varying descendants of each to any unoccupied or ill-occupied place in nature, these facts cease to be strange, or might even have been anticipated.[emphasis mine] (46)
The problem with this reasoning is not that life can change by natural selection but that natural selection, as a change agent, can create anything if it is simply conceived as a power always adapting life forms to a niche. This explanation explains everything and hence explains nothing.
Stephen Gould doesn't shun Darwin's metaphor either when he quotes Francois Jacob as saying that nature is "an excellent tinkerer, not a divine artificer." (47) These metaphors stand out like Godzilla in a crowd of humans, and Gould has more of these in his description of the wonders of natural selection.
[N]atural selection is the major creative force of evolutionary change. No one denies that natural selection will play a negative role in eliminating the unfit. Darwinian theories require that it create the fit as well. Selection must do this by building adaptations in a series of steps, preserving at each stage . . . Selection must superintend the process of creation, not just toss out the misfits. [emphasis mine] (48)
I counted seven intelligent traits or abilities mentioned in that brief interlude. Gould may object to my analysis by saying that he personifies natural selection this way to get his point across. Perhaps. I do, however, think evolutionists resort to this all too often. I believe Darwinian theory can be expressed in ways without resorting to metaphors as these that exist, perhaps, to fill a void created by lack of knowledge or lack of method.
This personification of evolution popped up in NOVA's documentary of the discovery of the human genome. It describes the DNA molecule as a set of instructions and a code, as does Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, when he claims DNA is a "book of life." (49) Yet, NOVA's documentary still claims it originated by accident. Scientist Eric Lander claims evolution doesn't reinvent something when it doesn't need to - when in reality evolution invents nothing. Claiming evolution invents is a way of smuggling in a concept that evolution has intelligent-planning capability, exactly what would be needed for the creation of something as complex as DNA. (50)
Darwin, Gould, and their kind are not the only evolutionists to speak this way. An article in Audacity entitled "A Theory of Evolution" might leave you believing you were reading a biology magazine when actually you'd be reading an article about how companies adapt to changing times.
In the course of our examination, we were struck by how often such companies made some of their best moves not through detailed strategic planning but, rather, through experimentation, trial and error, opportunism - and accident. What looks in hindsight like a brilliant strategy was often the result of experimentation and what might be called purposeful accidents. We think the word evolutionary [their emphasis] describes this type of progress best because it closely resembles the way in which organic species evolve and adapt to their natural environment. Indeed, if we looked at species in the natural world through the lens of strategic planning, we might easily conclude that they were the result of well-executed plans. But we know better. Darwin taught us that species were not created to fit any preplanned specifications; they evolved. And the process through which they did so is remarkably similar to the way some of our visionary companies became well adapted to their environments. (51)
Of course, the analogy is false. The companies evolved because conscious decisions were involved along each step of the way, even though they may have involved experimentation and wrong-headed decisions at times. These authors cannot see the difference, perhaps because of Darwinian blindness, although they attempt to foist the analogy. The tactic of the authors is to assert the analogy between intelligent conscious watchmakers and natural selection while denying any watchmaker. Given the criticisms of Darwinism, I doubt the issue is settled and perhaps it is only the presumption of knowledge of evolution that prompts one to consider it. If species look as designed as these authors admit, what's wrong with admitting the evidence is so overwhelming that they are designed?
Along with comparisons to evolving corporations comes a comparison between evolution and the creation of conscious computers. An essay in Discover by Gary Taubes (52) leaves one unsure of what evolution actually is. Is it a process acting through blind chance or a conscious process that acts in the same way man designs computer chips? Some of the language used is poorly defined and uncertain, possibly for philosophical reasons; the author wishes to submit to us the idea that evolution acts as humans do. That way the creative ability of evolution is never doubted because, after all, can't we create computers using "evolution"?
I first spotted the article on the cover of Discover as it lay on a table near a coworker of mine. The entry for the article in the table of contents immediately grabbed my attention.
Electric eels, elephant trunks, carnivorous plants. When it comes to the design of living organisms, evolution devises ingenious solutions to hard engineering problems. Perhaps it can do the same for a thinking computer.
Of course a computer doesn't evolve by chance processes the way plants and animals supposedly did. Computers need a designer, or at least a number of them. From the comparison here, you might guess that evolution is controlled the way we control the processes that make a computer. This, however, is not what evolutionists mean by "evolution." Evolution is a blind process, not a controlled process.
The language gets even shoddier when the article commences. Taubes explores the idea of creating algorithms to weed out other programs that are unsuitable and how we might produce conscious computers. When we produce these computers, we are creating them, although using indirect methods. Yet the word "create" slips Taubes' mind when he asks, "But what if you could evolve a robot, made of the usual silicon, wire, and transistors, that appeared to act consciously, with thought processes as unfathomable as our own?" The word "evolve" in his question can as easily be substituted by the word "create," yet Taubes fails to do so. Why? I suspect, as I stated before, Taubes wishes to suggest that the way we design is the way nature designs. We "evolve" a thinking computer the way nature "evolves" a bat with radar. Of course, the comparison is superfluous.
Marvin Lubenow, professor of anthropology, zoology, and Biblical apologetics, also notes that he himself encountered an attempt at faulty evolutionary analogies.
In a certain graduate course I took in paleontology at a state university, the professor attempted to teach us the concepts of taxonomy and the construction of those familiar evolutionary family trees. He handed each student a packet of about 150 metal objects such as nails, tacks, and paper clips. Utilizing the various rules of evolutionary taxonomy, such as small to large, simple to complex, and generalized to specialized, we were each expected to arrange these objects in evolutionary order. Starting with generalized nails, we went on to nails gradually increasing in size and then branching off into various specialized types of nails and tacks. Naturally, no two students in the class arranged their objects in exactly the same way although there was an overall similarity. When the project was finished, we all had created a beautiful series of phylogenetic trees showing the "evolution" of nails, tacks, and paper clips.
What I found fascinating about the project was that as we played with our object lesson, no one sensed that the illustration was totally invalid; it had no relationship to reality. Each of the objects that we had arranged in such a convincing evolutionary sequence had in fact been individually created for a specific purpose by humans. There was no actual evolutionary relationship between them. We were able to arrange them in an "evolutionary" sequence even though none of them had evolved. That fact did not seem to dawn on anyone in the class, including the professor.[my emphasis] (53)
That certain evolutionary professors teach this way is understandable. To them, looks are everything. If some items (be they animal, plant, human, or tools) look the same, they probably have evolved along the same lines, so evolutionists assume. But that is a theory not necessarily self-evident.
Leith tries his hand at refuting creationist arguments that state life cannot evolve by random events. Creationists ask, Leith writes, how a stack of bricks can fall into one place to produce a house. Leith says they can't, but you don't necessarily expect all the bricks to fall at once. Some might fall now, some later. Certainly even a creationist might accept that some bricks might fall into place and stay where they are needed. What Leith fails to realize, and what modern creationists like Gish and Morris and those supportive of "intelligent design" say, is that in every step of the way, what is present must have some selective advantage. What Leith should have said is that a creationist may not necessarily expect all bricks to fall at once, but they may stress that each brick has to fall down at the exact spot necessary for a house to form. If it is not precisely positioned, the house will collapse before it is completely formed. (54)
The False Dichotomy: Religion and Science
Certainly one of the tested ways of bypassing the creation/evolution debate is to frame the debate as science battling religion. We cannot teach creationism which is a religious tenet derived from the Bible, we are told. Since the constitution forbids the establishment of religion, teaching creationism is forbidden and unconstitutional.
One can disarm such an argument by pointing out that New Agers embrace evolution as one of their tenets and therefore to teach evolution is to teach the New Age religion. The evolutionist can reply that the New Age movement embraces evolution but not just the Darwinian version of evolution but much more which makes the New Age religion what it is. A creationist can also say, though, that to teach creationism in some respects is not to teach Christianity or any other religion since numerous religions teach some sort of intelligent design. Postulating an intelligent designer for any event is a proper domain of science. The debate can rage back and forth but in the end in some way the evolutionist has to admit what is at stake is whether creation or evolution is true and we must not teach or fail to teach either because it is religious.
One should define what makes something a religion. It is not necessarily that which revolves around a belief in a god, especially a personal one. A religion is that which tells one of truths which are not readily obvious and speaks to ultimates such as the purpose to life, the origin of life, and eternal destiny. Most major religions posit an event in the past which tells its adherents of things not now seen (bodily resurrection, nirvana, judgement of souls, etc.). In this way evolution is a "story" of sorts which gives its adherents knowledge of that which is not seen but which surely must have occurred or will occur if the story is to be true (ape to man transition, that religion evolved, religion will someday fade away, no miracles can occur or did occur, and so forth). It is as heretical to doubt such a story and worse to publicly doubt it especially if you are a public school teacher doubting it in front of your class. Religions of the past punished, as heretics, those who doubted; modern heretics of evolution simply are denied a voice to speak their dissension.
As far as evolutionism being a religion, Richard Dawkins certainly let the cat out of the bag when he admitted that Darwin made it possible to be an "intellectually fulfilled atheist." (55) There is nothing to suggest atheists have become any less reliant on an evolutionary explanation for life's existence and certainly there will be those who will still desire evolution to be true regardless of whatever evidence is advanced in support of it.
Humanist manifestos I and II are very direct in stating how evolution is a philosophy when the first manifesto states quite clearly that it is founded on evolution (evolution defined as the belief, not fact, the universe is all that exists and it and life owe their origin to natural processes discoverable and not any god). The manifesto signers regard the universe as self-existing, that man is a part of nature and has emerged through a continuous natural process, man's religious culture has evolved into use through evolution, and that modern science makes any cosmic or supernatural overseer no longer necessary. These are several of the first few affirmations they have made, all which derive strictly from an evolutionist's perspective. The first manifesto then states political goals to be affirmed (rights to abortion, birth control, divorce) with socialism coming out as a presumed model for government. The only conclusion possible from reading these manifestos is that the truth of evolution is assumed in order to justify political goals.
Evolution has also become the cornerstone of the New Age movement which I won't describe in great deal here except to state the obvious features of it that rely on evolution. New Agers believe in an universe continually evolving, but with a twist. We are part of this universe and so are aliens on other planets who have also evolved to better themselves and perhaps teach us how to better ourselves. Aliens provide the tools for the salvation of man that religions have previously given us. Evolution gives rise to cosmic "betterment" through human potential movements, rapid evolution, or reincarnation.
Some time ago Michael Ruse wrote in the pages of National Post that Duane Gish was correct in asserting evolutionists are not playing fair because, while they trumpet creationism's religious ties, they deny their own religious motivations in their evolutionist beliefs. (56) Ruse "pooh-poohed" (his words) what Gish said but later came to the conclusion Gish was right.
Ruse states, "Evolution came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity." It was the progress of evolution which Darwinists saw echoed in human progress. Organic evolution, it seemed, suggested social evolution toward betterment so that Darwinists saw in evolution a religious hope. Today, Ruse writes, professional evolution thrives but the old religion survives and thrives right along. The old religion Ruse speaks of seems to be the religious visions of past evolutionists and Ruse backs up my interpretation of his words by quoting Edward Wilson as saying we now have an "alternative mythology" to defeat traditional religions, one which sports a "narrative epic" with the evolution of the universe and life. From Ruse we learn Stephen Gould's language is hardly more restrained. Evolution, to Gould, "liberates the human spirit." We owe our existence to the lucky stars, Gould writes, because a cosmic catastrophe claimed the life of the dinosaurs. Ruse concludes this type of writing rivals the traditional Judeo-Christian teaching of mankind owing its existence to God and not random happenings. Of course Ruse doesn't conclude that evolution should not be taught in schools since many are making a religion out of it. He is willing to tolerate the religious aspect of evolution because he believes evolution is true.
A better way to speak of this debate is to say both creationist and evolutionist paradigms lend themselves to certain predictions and the debate is not between religion and science. Rather, the debate is between two explanations that find biased adherents to them who use science as their stepping stones toward the advancement of their beliefs. If our culture could embrace viewing the debate this way, we could remove many of the ad hominems and fear from the debate and perhaps come out the wiser.
We're Your Friend, Trust Us
One of the most trusted means of propaganda for evolutionists is to convince the public there is no contradiction between evolution and creation. God could have simply chosen evolution as his method of creating, much like a snowman-sculptor can choose a landslide for his method of creating snow sculptures if he knows the slide of snow will land in a precise way. In this way, God could have simply "got evolution started" and let it run because the processes that "ran" evolution were so designed as to ultimately bring about man. There are notable theistic evolutionists like Ian Barbour, Howard Van Till, and Kenneth Miller, and they all speak favorably of theistic beliefs.
If one were to believe the evolution of life was inevitable, then one ought to at least pay attention to Stephen Gould's claim that if you "wind back life's tape to the dawn of time and let it play again . . . you will never get humans a second time." (57) If Gould is true, then the theistic claim that evolution is God's method of creating is in doubt simply because the process is too random to achieve the desired result. If one were to imagine a snow sculptor trying to create sculptures by hurling snow down a mountain, and failing many times, one would fault him for not making a more direct effort. We'd accuse him of being sloppy. Much the same has been said of a theistic evolutionist's god. The theistic evolutionist's claim is not that God is sloppy like a snow sculptor but that God refined the evolutionary method, or the universe itself, so carefully so as to produce the desired effects (higher life forms and even man). If theistic evolutionists are correct, Gould is wrong; there is no other possible outcome to evolution. If Gould is right, theistic evolutionists are dead wrong. The problem here is not that there is a disagreement between Gould and theistic evolutionists but that when one believes theistic evolutionists, all too easily Gould's understanding of evolution can be substituted for the creationist one so as to negate any theistic beliefs. This can happen rather easily since there are many variations on the idea of evolution.
Phil Donahue has written of the "human animal" and tried to draw a link between mankind and animals while there is less linkage than evolutionists wish to admit. Donahue is saddened that many elementary and high school biology text books give only passing reference to Charles Darwin, something he believes is startling testimony of avoiding mankind's place in the "drama" of evolution. Alluding to evolution as a drama is a very unscientific way of writing, but it displays how Donahue sees evolution in the scheme he postulates. Donahue sees evolution running into trouble with religious folks and tells how Gould ran into the "full fury" of his opposition when he testified against teaching creationism in Arkansas. He approvingly cites Langdon Gilkey's rumination that there may be a conflict between evolution and fundamentalism, but most major denominations have given up on a literal reading of the Bible but not given up on the existence of God. Evolution does not deny God's existence, Donahue claims, although it may create problems for the timing of the events in Genesis.
The problem with Donahue's theistic evolution appears in his discussion of "knee-jerk" Darwinists who believe every feature of an animal's body must be a development in response to something in the environment. Why do mammals have four legs? Why do humans have chins? (58) Donahue, citing Gould, claims they may not have evolved because of the need to adapt to a changing environment, but just because there was some precursor structure that evolved into legs (like fins) or some other feature that became a chin. Donahue, if he was the consistent theistic evolutionist, I think, would say the chin and legs evolved as part of God's plan. Donahue can't, though, because that would introduce a radical intelligent creative agent to the system which he embraces which is wholly naturalistic.
Another way to appease the religious is to create a dichotomy between the religious and scientific community such as that claimed in the previously mentioned newspaper article I began my essay with: "Religion and science answer different questions about the world." To many theists, Christians included, this seems very reassuring, but one must consider the nature of what evolution (at least atheistic naturalistic evolution) is conceived to be. It is that which purports to explain away the need for any god who takes an active role in the development of life by positing a method or means by which life originates and develops into various forms. You can, as the article states, believe in god. This would, however, be the equivalent of believing in Santa Claus, or in any thing where the belief in such a thing remains unjustified by the existing evidence. If evolution is true, then no god created us as many religions claim. You can believe god did create, but you would be believing an equivalent of an unsubstantiated rumor. A theistic creationist religion answers the same questions as science does when it tackles the issue of ultimate origins. Where did we come from and what is our ultimate destiny?
Still another method of fooling the public is to "cozy" up to conservative morality by claiming a Darwinian basis to it. Several years ago, John McGinnis published an essay espousing just such a thing in National Review, a leading thinktank of conservatism. (59) There is little in this essay that can be learned through knowledge of evolution acting through natural selection. Most knowledge of mankind revealed by McGinnis can be known simply by appealing to mankind as a product of creation with limited capacity for change. Why is the family the best arrangement for humans to form? I would guess most conservative parents favor a heterogeneous parented family because they know man and woman have traits that work best when paired for the success of marriage since there is little variability in these traits. Why should our culture encourage owning property? Again, many conservatives will see owning property as a natural instinct, a part of our created humanity. They don't, however, believe the desire to own property evolved. Sure, marriage and property ownership provide for fitness, but that doesn't mean they developed as part of an evolutionary process.
Here, McGinnis shows his fallacious circular reasoning. He reasons that since evolution is about life acquiring what allows it to survive and reproduce, that any trait that favors survival must have been produced by evolution. A crude reading of the fossil record might suggest life is ready to evolve or change at random times for variable reasons. Hence, I would gather no predictive value from evolution and no social agenda to be advanced. Yet, McGinnis sees stability as a sign of evolutionary fitness while evolutionists normally see struggle as a means to achieve fitness. If natural selection favors stability, that stability is a sign of evolution. If natural selection favors struggle, that is also a sign of evolution. Everything favorable is part of evolution, to McGinnis, who has calming words to the religious who might feel threatened by evolution.
A variation of this concern is the idea that acceptance of Darwinian thinking will undermine religious belief, which is itself a bulwark of social stability. This also seems implausible. There is no logical incompatibility between belief in evolution and faith in God; the Catholic Church has long understood that crediting natural selection as the proximate cause of man does not threaten God's standing as his ultimate Creator. Moreover, given the universality of religion across all cultures, religious feeling almost certainly has natural roots in our emotional psyche and will not be dissolved by scientific discovery.
I believe the majority of Christians would find a contradiction between humans created by natural selection and humans created by the solitary act of God. I highly doubt the Church [large "C"] believes what McGinnis feels it believes and even if it does, the issue is not how many believe but what rationality there is with equating creation via natural selection with creation via an act of God. Here we see an example of evolutionists and humanists approvingly quoting the reaction of the Christian community when it agrees with them although they fail to consider its opinions regarding other issues.
Still another writer to embrace Darwinism and conservativism is Larry Arnhart who appeared in a mini-debate with William Dembski and Michael Behe in the pages of First Things. (60) Arnhart takes issue with Behe's arguments to design from irreducible complex biological systems, calling it an "argument from ignorance." Of Dembski, Arnhart writes that we have no experience with a divine creator and so cannot use any of Dembski's science to detect creation by any agent other than a human one. Arnhart's biggest claim, though, is that Darwinism supports conservatism by confirming our suspicions that humans really are social and moral animals. "Conservatives need Charles Darwin," he writes, as if to suggest Darwin gives conservatives an aura of respectability. Darwinism also refutes Marxism, Arnhart writes; we are not nearly as malleable as Marxism supposes. He also claims Darwinism is compatible with theistic faith, in these words:
Darwinism is no threat to such theistic faith. Darwinian science must ultimately appeal to the laws of nature as the final ground of explanation, but to ask why nature has the laws that it does is to move beyond nature to nature's God. Atheistic Darwinians like Richard Dawkins cannot deny the theistic faith in God as the First Cause without assuming a materialistic faith that goes beyond the evidence and logic of empirical science. Darwin himself openly confessed that questions about first causes - the origin of life itself or the origin of the universe as a whole - pointed to mysteries that might be forever beyond his science. Thus, Darwinism is compatible with belief in the biblical God.
Certainly Behe and Dembski write to give theistic beliefs an air of respectability because they honestly believe an act of God is detectable. Arnhart, contrary to Behe et. al., believes Behe and Dembski commit to arguments from incredulity. But isn't believing there is some "final cause" to the universe and Darwinian processes an act of arguing, or at least believing, out of incredulity as much as Behe and Dembski supposedly are doing? Using Arnhart's reasoning, we can believe God created the beginning's of the evolutionary process like we can believe there is an alien on a distant planet (call it "Alpha Centari") eating a peanut butter sandwich at this moment. Certainly science does nothing to disprove there is such an alien, but neither does science advance such a belief. We can't explore, scientifically, this alien any more than the beginning of the evolutionary process if it is inspired by God. This is faith without evidence and doubtless such a faith is incompatible with a belief that seeks evidence. If this is the sort of faith Arnhart has in mind, he should have been more specific, and doubtless many theists will not be impressed by it. In the end, this faith can simply be dismissed or eroded by future claims that science will also find answers to the final causes.
But We Do Know How To Ad Hominem
This is very odd reasoning and enforces a conclusion I've come to which I will detail later. One can always disarm one's intellectual opponent by pretending to be his friend so as to sneak destructive heresy in the back door. Or one can insult one's opponent while appearing to complement or uphold him, or one can exaggerate the nobility of a group of people by reducing the standing of its peers. The humanist method that parallels this is to smooth over disputes between the religious and science by equating partisan and adversarial religious ideas with a small group of radicals - usually "fundamentalists." This has the effect of saving the faith of the many but distorting the issues debated. Put into practice, this method appears in the words of Steve Allen, comedian and former writer of humanist works (now dead).
Just as it is absurd for the fundamentalists, who interpret the entire Bible literally, to deny the existence of evolution, given that the reality of that process is readily observable, it is equally erroneous to suggest that if evolution exists, the mere fact of its existence rules out the possibility that there is a God. In reality, there is no necessary connection or disconnection, between evolution and God. The majority of well-educated Christians and other religionists believe, in fact, that evolution has been God's practical method of creating and developing all aspects of nature that are alive, which is to say, plants and animals. It is apparently only fundamentalists who are confused about this. (61)
Now it appears more than just fundamentalists are confused about this. I also am confused about it. Allen is following a common theme among religious liberals - dumbing down the meaning of Christianity and Judeo-Christian creationism in order to advance his understanding of things. It may be true that most Christians find no contradiction between evolution and creationism, but so what? Certainly a study of Christian scholars won't bear this out and neither will a study of Christian parishioners, but even if it did it would prove no more than a poll showing a majority found no problem believing in a flat earth. What matters is whether evolution, as understood by naturalistic scientists, conflicts with creation. What is important here is that Allen maligns a segment of creationists under the auspices of smoothing the fine line between creation and evolution. Instead he creates a distorted caricature of the debate. I don't believe Allen has done enough research to adequately represent such a group as the "fundamentalists" he maligns. Allen doesn't even seem capable to address the problems with theistic evolution I've previously mentioned but instead is quite content to assume there are no problems between the two.
Refreshingly, some writers are more direct and don't try to lull their intellectual opponents into a false sense of security. Humanist Chris Roth asks, "Why should anyone not equate creationism with flat Earth proponents, TV spots for psychics, and spoon-bending hucksters?" He goes on: "Flummery is flummery, and it isn't less so because it has a slick PR gloss. Superstition is superstition, and it isn't nonsense just because of polished ad campaigns and fancy religious costumes." (62) Michael Lind, commenting on one of Phillip Johnson's articles on evolution in First Things, suggests if the publisher endorses Johnson's "cranky views," from a "Flat Earther," legitimate conclusions may be drawn. Perhaps, in forthcoming issues, he says, First Things should focus on "fringe topics" as the wood in Noah's Ark and the Shroud of Turin. Finally he tells us he prefers his "lunatic fundamentalism" straight from Pat Robertson or Jimmy Swaggart. (63) These are interesting caricatures but either ad hominems or misleading comparisons and hence lacking intellectual content. Doubting evolution is not analogous to doubting a round earth since the shape of the earth is continually visible while a common ancestor is not. Johnson's complaints and worries certainly aren't illegitimate although to Lind they may be.
Lind's ruminations are barely worth rebuttal, but they do portray a common view of creationists that evolutionists have: the stubborn religious fanatic doubting "science." That's how Lind sees Johnson. A common criticism of Johnson is that he is not a scientist although he is well read. You don't have to be a scientist, necessarily, to read about or understand evolution or to comment on it and understand the implications of it. You must, of course, be well read.
Here too, appears a familiar contradiction in non-theist writings, and an intellectual danger. Johnson isn't worth heeding because he isn't a scientist, we are told, yet evolutionists, in their debates with creationists, expect to be able to convey to us the information we need to understand it and believe in it. Yet, much of the public they speak to won't ever be of the intellectual capacity they demand of Johnson. Yet, somehow, evolutionists assume the public they preach to is capable of understanding evolution despite the public's intellectual inadequacies. Even the non-scientist Steve Allen is supposedly capable of commenting on evolution and even knowing that creationism and evolution are reconcilable. There seems to be a curious picking and choosing of spokesmen for these issues so as to produce the proper commentary.
In the beginning of this essay, I asked whether evolutionists are fooling us. The conclusion at this point should be obvious: they are. This is not to imply there is any finely-tuned conspiracy among evolutionists - as if a large share of them gathered in a room to plot against us. Rather, actions like I've shown in this essay arise out of a shared mentality that perpetuates double-talk and exaggeration like I've witnessed. Evolutionists deeply want to be believed, want to be the guardians of the truth. They know that much of the public distrusts evolution, perhaps because of some religious inculcation but also perhaps out of wisdom that with whatever parcel of truth they can grasp, they judge it not to be true. And, undoubtedly, religion and religious counter-claims will not go away. Rather than fight a battle on the front lines, evolutionists have devised a clever battle to be fought with guerilla tactics which seem to be the best way to cope with a difficult situation of a public's overt skepticism.
We are told evolution is not debated in the scientific community - when the scientific community is appropriately kept free of dissenters. When those scientists and philosophers who do not believe in evolution are mentioned, their roll call is kept to a minimum as to give the impression only a rugged band of rebels object. The religious that do believe in evolution are credited with keen insight, yet the religious somehow don't know what they are talking about when they doubt evolution. They are only fundamentalists, or Biblical literalists, or don't know science and would only change their minds if properly educated. Perhaps it is theistic evolutionists who don't know evolution and that is why they somehow embrace creationism and evolution, but that is an idea not considered by evolutionists.
Different standards of science are used - one denying the usefulness and suitability of ruminating on divine creative events while evolutionists admit science makes use of testable models where testing of natural laws is impossible. For an added punch, natural selection is given intelligent traits that mirror language used to describe a divine creative event. Yet, we are told we can derive no scientific predictions from a divine creative event even though evolutionists rhapsodize over how the evidence doesn't fit what we would expect from an act of God.
Certainly the religious have objected to evolution because of its effects on morality. Here, too, the evolutionist appropriates morality for his cause. We are told evolution explains morality, is conservative in focus and scope so that the religious need not fear. Then, when our guards are down, evolutionists will tell us our moral feelings are only visceral, (64) as Michael Tooley suggests. or we are naturally good and so should follow our "gut." Conservatives will tend to feel morality should be an inspiration from God, to some extent, although atheistic evolutionists will deny God any part of it. To atheists, desires to "sin" (as Christians call it) are mere predispositions toward a certain act - like a predisposition to eat chocolate - that have been inherited from prior evolutionary ancestors. After enough readers are convinced of the commonalities between evolution and conservative morality, the emphasis on conservative ideas in evolution will disappear like vapor and we will be told evolution justifies, or at least explains, everything from adultery to infanticide to homosexuality. What behavior would be considered sinful would be redefined as natural tendencies which may be disadvantageous but not absolutely wrong to do - like a sin. Then only those acts that are harmful to the individual will be considered wrong to do, as current humanists seem to believe. That qualification, too, can disappear at the wave of a hand.
Evolution is that great all-encompassing paradigm that explains everything, yet lacks much explanatory power. Sure, it has some scientific appeal and is worth discussing within certain scientific confines. Yet, when enlarged it covers so much territory that it loses cohesion. Evolution, as Cornelius Hunter has said, is finally about God. As such, evolutionists can dare lose sight of it and their desire to make it appealing to the public. Admit some kind of intelligent insight is responsible for the universe and nature and the whole naturalistic plan is ruined. Admit only nature as possible cause and anything is explainable and comforting.
1. George Orwell, 1984, 1949, Harcourt, Brace and Company, (A Signet Classic republished by New American Library of World Literature)
2. Watertown Daily Times (April 9, 1998)
3. Ralph Seelke, "After Darwin's Black Box: Where Does a Laboratory Scientist Go to Contribute," www.leaderu.com/aip/docs/seelke.html
4. Ray Bohlin, "The Five Crises in Evolutionary Theory," www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/5crises/html
5. Jonathan Wells, Icons of Evolution, (Washington D.C., Regnery, 2000)
6. Letters to the editor, Commentary, (September 1996)
7. Kenneth Miller, Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search For Common Ground Between God and Evolution, ( New York, HarperCollins, 1999)
8. Lee Spetner, Not By Chance: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution, (New York, Judaica Press, 1998)
9 The entire quote is as follows: There have been a few very feeble attempts at my offer. One person told me he had proof of evolution because he had been able to take soybean plants in the laboratory to make these plants resistant to frost. Apparently he had not read my offer because that certainly would not be an example of proof of evolution. Most of the people who look at my offer will quickly admit there is no scientific evidence for evolution and then they'll come back and say, "Can you prove creation?" which is exactly what I hoped they would say. And I'll say "Of course I can't prove creation." Then they say, "What's the big deal?" And I say, "Well, if I can't prove my theory and you can't prove your theory, then why do I have to pay for your's to be taught in public schools." That usually shuts them up, very well. [from an interview I did with him for my now defunct newsletter The Conservative Intellectual Militia Info-Quest Newsletter]
10 U.S. News and World Report, (Nov. 5, 1990)
11. One does not have to go far for theistic critics of evolution. But the list of non-religious critics (or, at least, critics whose religion is unknown) is growing. For instance, Jeremy Rifkin, I. L. Cohen, Michael Denton, Francis Hitching, Brian Leith, Norman Macbeth, Mark Ludwig, Richard Milton, and David Stove have criticized either evolution or natural selection or both.
12. Debate between Shandon Guthrie and Ed Brayton, http://sguthrie.net/brayton_guthrie.htm
13. Patrick Glynn, God: The Evidence: The Reconciliation of Faith and Reason in a Postsecular World, (California, Prima Publishing, 1997)
14. Hank Hanegraaff, "Testimony of a Former Skeptic," Impact no. 202
15. Duane Gish and Donald Rohrer ed., Up With Creation!, (California, Creation-Life Publishers, 1978)
16. from the videotape The Evolution Conspiracy from Jeremiah Films. Oiler: I suddenly realize there was little evidence for evolution. I had just accepted it from a young age.
17. Hansen: "Remember, until I was 45 years of age with a Post Masters Degree I was a very, very hard core evolutionist. I did not really know of any scientific evidence opposing evolution. I just happened to read a book written by a scientist spelling out the "legitimate scientific" evidence opposing evolution and it forced me to make a 180 degree turn in my thinking regarding this theory. This sudden 180 degree turn will happen to our public school children and eventually the population when all the scientific evidence regarding evolution is presented to them in a fair and uncensored manner. This is why the evolutionist establishment does not want you or your children to know the truth. They have been very clever and careful not to let this scientific evidence be taught to our children. They know full well if the scientific truth is ever told about evolution they will lose their power base and eventually the control they now have over our schools." (from a 1995 T.E.A.C.H. - Teach Evolution Accurately Comprehensively Honestly - report)
18. Michael Ruse in Robert Fogelin, Understanding Arguments: An Introduction to Informal Logic, 3rd ed., (New York, Harcourt Bruce Jovanovich, 1987)
19. from the booklet Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science, specific site is www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/evolution98/evol6-a.htm
20. Peter Angeles, Philosophy, 2nd ed., (New York, HarperPerrenial, 1992)
21. Ronald Pine, Science and the Human Prospect, (California, Wadsworth, 1989), p. 42
22. Walter Lyons, The Handy Weather Answer Book, (New York, Accord Publishing, 1997), p. 172; Lyons asks what some possible scientific explanations for UFOs might be and offers some possible answers: stars, planets, or landing lights of distance aircraft. To him, scientific explanations are akin to explanations positing human or natural causes. Given this reasoning, we could never engage in a scientific search for evidence that might lead us to believe there is alien intelligence because, to him, the only "scientific" explanations espouse human or natural causes. To engage in the truth behind ufos, we must engage science as our ally, yet by his definition of science, ufo aliens are ruled out as causes.
23. Washington Times, (January 4, 1998), p. 23; Marty, quoted in a blurb from the Washington Times, speaks of a poll that found that 71 percent have confidence on God. Mr. Marty said that science and ideology are not seen as omnipotent as they were a decade or two ago. "We are in a time with a rather simple faith, and rather simple reason, a time when science is in question," he said. Certainly the empiricism that marks scientific wonder and testing will never fade away and I suspect Marty has in mind a science that embraces only natural causes for everything, with religious explanations forever excluded.
24. Norman Geisler and Kerby Anderson, Origin Science: A Proposal for the Creation-Evolution Controversy, (Grand Rapids, Baker Books)
25. Ruse in Fogelin ed., op. cit.
26. Stephen Gould, Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes, (New York,Norton, 1983)
27. Stephen Gould, The Panda's Thumb, (New York, Norton, 1980)
28. Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, (New York, Norton, 1987)
29. Cornelius Hunter, Darwin's God, (Grand Rapids, Brazos Press, 2001)
30. Charles Darwin, The Origin of the Species, 1958, Mentor Edition, (New York, New American Library, 1958) p. 442
31. Gould, Hen's Teeth, p. 254
32. Ibid, p. 261
33. Huxley says Darwin "rendered evolution inescapable as a fact, comprehensible as a process, all-embracing as a concept." [Julian Huxley, Evolutionary Humanism, (New York, Prometheus, 1992)
34. Gould, p. 262
35. Don Feder, A Jewish Conservative Looks at Pagan America, (Lafayette, Huntington House, 1993), p. 44
36. Time, (Aug. 13, 2001)
37. David Martin, for instance, takes this approach: "We humans are participating in the process of evolution per se. By that I mean that our ability, acquired through evolution, to manipulate genomes by selective breeding and more recently by recombinant DNA technology is an integral component of evolution itself and is not, as has been claimed in the past, `tinkering with evolution.' Instead, it is evolution." [emphasis in original] Quoted in Michael Fox, Beyond Evolution: The Genetically Altered Future of Plants, Animals, the Earth - and Humans, (New York, Lyons Press, 1999), p. 25-26
38. Langdon Gilkey, Creationism on Trial: Evolution and God at Little Rock, (Minneapolis, Winston Press, 1985), p. 131
39. Ibid, p. 131-132
40. I don't know fully if Ayala is an atheist. I found in Gilkey's work that Ayala has had theological and philosophical training. So, he might indeed be Christian, agnostic, or atheist. Or perhaps he is a theistic evolutionist, those whose logic is suspect due to their attempts at reconciling the Bible with evolution. However, whatever profession he is, he uses the an argument which has much in common with other evolutionists' arguments.
41. Gilkey, p. 139
42. Ibid, p. 139-140
43. Brian Leith, The Descent of Darwin, (London, William Collins Sons & Ltd., 1982)
44. Henry Morris, Scientific Creationism, 2nd ed, (El Cajon, Master Books, 1985), p. 9
45. Norman Macbeth, Darwin Retried, (Boston, Gambit Inc., 1971), p. 46
46. Darwin, p. 435-436
47. Gould, Panda's Thumb, p. 26
48. Ibid, p. 190
49 Time (Jan. 11, 1999)
50 from the video Cracking the Code of Life, NOVA, 2001
51 James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras, "A Theory of Evolution," Audacity, (Winter 1996), p. 5-6
52. Discover (June 1998)
53 Marvin Lubenow, Bones of Contention: A Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils, (Grand Rapids, Baker, 1992), p. 21-23
54 Leith has other illogic nearby, especially evident when he quotes creationist Henry Morris who says that it is time for Christians to reject the geologic ages because they are synonymous with evolutionary theory - that which has its root in the anti-God conspiracy of Satan. Leith's just doesn't understand creationist reasoning on this issue, something that makes me think he really hasn't properly researched creationist arguments. Leith's take on this is that Morris "means that fossils were planted by Satan to confuse us." This is not what Morris means, assuming I am properly understanding Morris from this brief excerpt in Leith's work. (Believe me, I am at a privileged position to understand Morris!) He means that in the age-old rebellion of Satan and his dominion, the evolutionary tree is part of the philosophy used in the rebellion. Morris is not saying that the fossils were planted by the Devil.
55 Dawkins, p. 6
56 Michael Ruse, "How Evolution Became a Religion," National Post, (May 13, 2000); searchable at www.nationalpost.com
57 From a two-paragraph quote of Gould's The Meaning of Life in David Bender ed., Constructing a Life Philosophy: Opposing Viewpoints, sixth ed., (San Diego, Greenhaven Press, 1993)
58 Phil Donahue, The Human Animal, (New York, Simon and Schuster, 1985)
59 John McGinnis, "The Origin of Conservatism," National Review, (December 22, 1997)
60 First Things, November 2000
61 Steve Allen, Steven Allen on the Bible, Religion, and Morality, (New York, Prometheus Books, 1990)
62 Chris Roth, First-Amendment Teach In #36, 1996
63 First Things, (April 1993)
64 Tooley actually doesn't say this, but in his arguments for the permissibility of abortion and infanticide, he suggests the typical objection to infanticide is like the objection to masturbation or oral sex, for instance. Rather than appealing to moral principles, we appeal to our visceral feelings. Tooley thinks little of theism and has debated William Lane Craig against the possibility of God's existence and obviously thinks little of commonly accepted moral absolutes. The implication here is that if the objection to infanticide is only visceral, most others are as well. (From an essay in Philosophy and Public Affairs, published in Vincent Barry ed., Applying Ethics, (California, Wadsworth, 1982)