May 11, 2010

Smashing Darwin

This has to be one of the most bizarre mash-ups of 21st century Internet technology (YouTube) and 19th century metaphysics (Evolution vs. Creationism) I've ever seen (via Ben Smith):

I'm amazed that any political group can run an ad like this anywhere in today's presumably educated United States. I like to think of myself as a decent Christian if far from perfect one, and I'm offended by this PAC ad.

I've got a news flash for these folks: evolution may be just a theory, but it is a far more credible theory based upon all the known laws of physics (which I will remind every Christian, are also laws laid down by God as surely as he laid down the Ten Commandments), than the literalist argument of a creation story where the Earth was created in seven 24-hour days. I don't see how any rational person can look at the wonderful world the Lord has created for us, the layers upon layers of splendor and complexity and logic and beauty that should support belief in an all-powerful and benevolent God, and come away with the thought that all the science God created to explain this universe to us is superseded by a metaphor created to convey that most complex act of creation ever to barely literate iron age men.

Likewise, it is undisputed by an educated person that the Bible has been repeatedly edited, revised, and translated by all too human hands, and it is not the literal word of God as it was first revealed. If anyone cares to dispute this point, I'd ask them to please provide their Bible, written in first-century Aramaic, Greek, and Hebrew.

I'd also expect them to be able to explain why they are not using all of the Bible, and instead are using the abbreviated Douay-Rheims Bible favored by Catholics, or the even more abbreviated King James version popularized by Protestants.

But even more bizarre than a Republican PAC arguing that Bradley Byrne believes in science and reason is Byrne's argument that he does not.

As a Christian and as a public servant, I have never wavered in my belief that this world and everything in it is a masterpiece created by the hands of God. As a member of the Alabama Board of Education, the record clearly shows that I fought to ensure the teaching of creationism in our school textbooks. Those who attack me have distorted, twisted and misrepresented my comments and are spewing utter lies to the people of this state.

You're on your own, folks.

I'm leaving this one before someone starts burning heretics, which in Alabama, I presumably am.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 11, 2010 07:31 PM

this stuff always slays me. its simple minded and silly. I am a believer, I work on my relationship with the almighty and its a quiet and private thing I struggle with most days to make sense of my world and the crosses many bear in different forms including me.

what I dont get is the arguments ive had with other christians who have taken the position that you cannot be a christian if you dont beleive in the literal interpretation of the bible, that one allways makes me laugh.

it seems sometimes that beleiving in the literal interpretation of the bible is more inportant to some than the message from christ.

my other pet peave, extraneous to this argument is christians who's sole focus is allways and only on armeggedon and the apocalypse, also to the exclusion of christs message of how he wants us to live. I call them the one note nellies of christianity.

Posted by: rumcrook¾ at May 11, 2010 07:44 PM

Nice post. I agree. The religious right will ruin it for us all if they pitch for their religious ideas and not the secular ones that concern government.

It was the religious right that helped drive me to vote for democrats last time. (yes it was dumb but things were bad)
Of course I won't repeat that move but I sure don't want to vote for a creationist politician who wants to inflict my state with his ideas on religion. Here is Kansas we have had enough of that

Posted by: Kansas Scout at May 11, 2010 10:48 PM

The jist of the ad is the statement attributed to him regarding Biblical (in)errancy, to which the comment in support of evolution in education leads. Given the denominational/theological makeup of the majority of those living there, that's a major problem for a lot of folks in Alabama.

Concerning that news flash, evolution does not and can not explain the origin of the has nothing to do with the formation of celestial bodies or the biosphere in which we live. Evolution as the origin of life is impossible when one considers how mutation and variation are so very rarely beneficial and the mathematical odds of enough random upgrades happening in such an order on such a mass scale to produce the diversity of life we have and have had on this planet. And the assertion that the Author of the laws of physics is limited by them in His creative work is ludicrous in my eyes.

Your problem with it stems from a lack of confidence in the Bible as the inerrant Word of're welcome to your opinion, but which part do you throw out, and by what rationale? Would an all-powerful and benevolent God that you recognize leave you bereft of His plan for you? Would He not be capable of preserving His Word to you? Theoretically, theologically, and bibliologically speaking, certainly. Given the plethora of New Testament manuscripts and proven transmission of Old Testament texts in the past two thousand years in comparison to Dead Sea Scrolls, there is no reason to dismiss the Bible as corrupted, let alone hopelessly so. Which, coincidentally enough, is why deuterocanonicals can be pretty quickly deemed inadmissable.

Posted by: Shwiggie at May 11, 2010 11:46 PM

If we base Christian belief upon known science, then Christ did not rise and we have been wasting our money in the collection plate. Simply put, if you are a Christian, you have to believe that either we do not understand science (God's science, one might say, which would have to escape us) or that there is no God. So, I really do not mind this add at all. Add in the taxes and that's all I need to know about this particular politician.

As far as God creating the earth and all on it in 7 days, I'll ask when I get there. It is as pertinent to my faith as evolution is to actual biology. Further, I believe more in creation than I do in evolution.

Posted by: Doom at May 12, 2010 02:09 AM

I remember hearing as a child that the catholic Pope said in the 1960s that evolutionism and creationism compliment each other and that the 'big bang' theory is not at odds with creationism. That was 50 years ago. Why are we still having this debate?

Posted by: Kevin at May 12, 2010 05:57 AM

Doom: well said. I love how some modern day Christians insist on defining God and His powers by limiting Him to our puny and mortal and relatively brief understanding of science and physics, as though God is somehow beholden to them. It's a laughable act of human vanity on our part. It's one thing to say that God made a rational world based on certain scientific and mathematical laws -- we can all agree on that; it's another thing entirely to say that God cannot ignore those rules anytime He pleases. What's harder to believe: that God could re-sculpt and recreate an entire world in seven days or that someone could rise from the dead after three days?

I'm not questioning your Christianity, CY, nor am I branding you a heretic. I'm just fascinated by the inherent contradictions of your own arguments here: a trap into which you rarely fall, but you are knee-deep into the muck this time 'round.

Posted by: AtticusNC at May 12, 2010 05:59 AM

It was stuff like this that made me evaluate my faith and eventually move to atheism. I applied all criticisms I had of new age/psychic stuff to my own beliefs and found them wanting. Its a shame really. I shattered my own belief in a benevolent God watching over me and traded it for true uncertainty.

Wish I could go back.

Posted by: Gren at May 12, 2010 07:19 AM

A little correction, evolution is not a theory. It was a theory when Darwin and others first proposed the concept. It subsequently has become fact as it evolved and more became known and man was able to reproduce evolutionary principles in the lab (like the corn you eat).

Does anyone know where the creation myth originated from? I suspect from Babylon as they had the exact myth 3500 years ago when the Jews were exiled to that country. The Jews then returned with this and other myths that they incorporated into their culture.

I was always taught in religious school (Methodist) that ones religion grew with him. It was fine as a child to believe in the mystic aspects of this world, but to have true religion, you had to grow and formulate your own set of beliefs and your own concept of a supreme being. The Biblical scholars that we had emphasized that there was nothing at all real about the Bible. If you study Biblical literature, you will see that it has been heavily edited and transformed by the early church to accomodate their needs. Much of the history is very loosely realated to fact. Still, smart people like my brother in law can not have a relationship with me as I believe that the earth is older than 8000 years. Strange that they can not develop.

Posted by: David at May 12, 2010 08:44 AM

I'd like to know who wrote Revelation, and how he managed to get there before there even existed.

Posted by: Tim at May 12, 2010 10:10 AM

"...but it is a far more credible theory based upon all the known laws of physics..."

We don't know all the laws of physics, which is why we do research, and physics alone cannot explain the 'information conundrum' inherent in the complexity of DNA. IE: information implies intelligence.

I've always maintained that it takes a lot of faith to be an atheist, but it takes even more to be an evolutionist - which appears to be more philosophical in foundation than scientific.

Evolution contradicts Gregor Mendel and all we've learned about genetics in order to embrace a purposeless, random process that is not observable on this planet today. It defies zoological common sense.

The only verifiable fact about the fossil record is that of extinction. Everything else, is simply conjecture, as it is incompatible with the scientific method.

In the natural world there are two kinds of animals: the living and the dead. You're either at the top of your survival game or you're tonight's dinner. Transitional species do not fit this paradyme.

Does that mean Creationism is true? Nope. That's a matter of Faith, as well, and doesn't fit the scientific method, either. But that "Cambrian explosion" sure fits this belief more so than Darwin's belief.

Besides, Creation and evolution are apples and oranges. Why? Creationism is a theory of origins, something evolution is not. Evolution by definition simply is a theory of change within that which already exists.

In short, I'll take God's word over man's feeble intellect, anyday.

Sorry for being so long winded.

Posted by: locomotivebreath1901 at May 12, 2010 10:53 AM

I have a Greek New Testament that I use to fact check the English Versions. Ancient Greek was a far more expressive language than any we have today. However, since the Book of Matthew was written in Aramaic and all copies of the original text were lost, all we have are copies into Greek that were written by the Ancient Fathers (people who either were disciples of Jesus' disciples or their disciples.

Posted by: TimothyJ at May 12, 2010 11:00 AM

I believe in God. There is no reason whatsoever for that to preclude my acceptance of the idea that He might choose a self-correcting plan (evolution) for the continuance of life on Earth.

Posted by: Tennessee Budd at May 12, 2010 11:18 AM

"credible theory"? Not really. Toss out the Christian view of creation & peruse the works of such noted philosopher/scientist & admitted "secular Jew," Dr. David Berlinski:


"At the conclusion of a long essay, it is customary to summarize what has been learned. In the present case, I suspect it would be more prudent to recall how much has been assumed:

First, that the pre-biotic atmosphere was chemically reductive; second, that nature found a way to synthesize cytosine; third, that nature also found a way to synthesize ribose; fourth, that nature found the means to assemble nucleotides into polynucleotides; fifth, that nature discovered a self-replicating molecule; and sixth, that having done all that, nature promoted a self-replicating molecule into a full system of coded chemistry."

Posted by: Shadraq at May 12, 2010 11:34 AM

When it comes to Christianity, there are a limited number of possible sources for discovering God's will. One can accept a church or supposed prophet as the source of it. One can accept personal revelation. One can accept his own think-sos. Or one can accept the Bible. That's about it as far as possibilities go.

Personally, I'd put the track record of the Bible up against any of the others as far as infallibility goes. I don't begrudge others their own judgment, though. However, I don't see why some can't extend the same courtesy and even feel threatened by those who come to different conclusions.

Posted by: Dr. Horrible at May 12, 2010 12:01 PM

Young-earth creationism isn't necessarily the de-facto stance of every Christ-follower on the planet. As a matter of fact, even the church fathers are divided on the topic of young-earth vs. old-earth translations of the "days" in Genesis. There's a ton of good stuff out there that explains the different "days" interpretations, which fall into two different camps: that the "days" are literal 24-hour periods (embraced mostly as a response to Darwin's publications) or that the "days" are indeterminate, but finite, periods of time. Some of those explanations have also been derided by some as heretical, which is unfortunate, because one of the things that Jesus said himself is that he wanted his followers to be "one".

Check out "A Matter of Days" by Hugh Ross. It's worth a read, if only for the perspective that this particular disagreement does nothing to help Jesus' cause, and it's also totally unnecessary.

I guess I'm with you, Bob, in the heretic camp.

Posted by: DrummingAncient at May 12, 2010 12:37 PM

First there was nothing
Then, the Heavens and Earth (Big bang, hydrogen everywhere coalescing denser and denser into matter)
Light - some condensed enough to form fusion/stars
Sky - gravity on some of the denser "earth" formed atmospheres or Sky
Land/Sea - Earth became dense enough to hold water and tectonic plates ensure land masses keep forming
life - first vegetation (first clorophyll filled cells) then seed plants, then trees (evolution has it in that order as well)
Light / Dark/ movement (seasons)
Seas filled with life (evolution says they filled first)
Animals - Life moved to land

To say it was done in a day could be a book keeping error man mand trying to interperet the word of God and not getting it quite right.

Posted by: Retired Navy at May 12, 2010 12:48 PM

Good attempt at indtoducing creationism dogma, but you are wrong. Go read a good scientific text. Evolution is not, repeat not a theory.

Posted by: David at May 12, 2010 02:35 PM

I seldom encounter a creationist/ID person, but when I have I ask why they insist that G@d is too stupid to come up with the idea of evolution: leaves them spluttering.

Posted by: John A at May 12, 2010 03:41 PM

As a tree-hugging lib myself, you'd be surprised to learn I believe in Intelligent Design - Here's a link to a video that helps make the case my ideas have evolved into...

It's more of a ‘combo fajita’ type of an arrangement, not just chicken, not just shrimp—but both. KnowhutImean?

I also urge you to explore some of the alternative videos you will see there, stuff you would never find on the spoon-fed media we are subjected to here in the United States (NOT the ‘homeland’)

On the political front on my latest post I'm trying to articulate is how we are evolving into a more segmented, ‘strange bedfellows’ political spectrum - I'd appreciate you and your blog followers’ feedback - here's the direct link here:

Thanks much!

‘I may disagree with every thing you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’

- Voltaire

Posted by: blakeart at May 13, 2010 10:37 AM

I viewed as much of your video as I could take. It is clearly religious propaganda. For one thing, note the quality of the video. Who paid for it? Then, note that the people argue about the statements of Darwin. All agree that Darwin did not have all the material to make a complete argument. That is why it was originally called a theory. Now using the conclusions of the people. Look at it from a political aspect, you might understand this. For the most part, liberal are under-productive and take more from society than they give. Yet for some strange reason, they are tolerated. Some, eventually grow up to be conservatives. Conservatives are productive and the basic building blocks of our society. If we follow what they are saying, then liberals should be extinct, but by the grace of God they prevail. But we know that is not so as most conservative now days wish all liberals were dead. We can't achieve that so we must adapt until they grow up.

Posted by: David at May 13, 2010 12:02 PM