Getting behind the evolution façade
While evolution is often just an excuse that atheists use to justify their unbelief, it’s important to deal with it in order to see what their real objections are
Published: 6 May 2014 (GMT+10)
First, let’s set the scene for what transpired to become a memorable event in many ways.
A church in a large Australian city contacted Creation Ministries International to request that one of their speakers (me, as it turned out) address a public outreach meeting they were planning to host. They decided that in order to better attract non-Christians it would be best to hold the event at a neutral venue, i.e. not a church building, so they booked an evening timeslot at an auditorium that one of the city’s universities makes available out-of-hours for community hire.
But when the church’s flyer advertising the meeting with the title ‘Evolution—busting the myth’ was posted on Facebook … well, that’s when the trouble started. The gist of the vociferous and often venomous online (and other) protests was that evolution should not be questioned, and creation must never be allowed to be proclaimed, on university campuses. Here’s a sample of the more reprintable ones (i.e. where the language was not so foul that we can’t repeat it):
- “This event is an affront to the University in which it is being held.”
- “The fact that [the university] is hosting this event honestly makes me embarrassed to have a degree from there.”
- “Easy way to prove evolution:
* Gas all the creationists in death camps
* Observe increase in intelligence”
So much for the idea that universities are about open exchange of ideas, exploring all views in a quest for truth. A ‘neutral’ venue? Apparently not!
When the university administrators got wind of the disquiet, they contacted the church’s pastor to ask that he withdraw the booking. The caller even said that the university would pay for an alternate venue off campus! And that they had already contacted a venue in a nearby suburb. When the pastor questioned the caller about why the university was trying to move the event, it then came out that the science faculty said it would not be in line with the university’s science emphasis. The pastor stood firm, rightly pointing out that the auditorium reservation had been confirmed, and paid for.
And so the meeting went ahead, as scheduled, on the university campus. Some of the more vociferous opponents indicated they would deliberately stay away. Others, however, indicated they would attend—and did so, much to the excited delight of the hosting church.
A cacophony of atheists
As people filed in to the auditorium and took their seats, Christian observers quietly pointed out to me those they believed to be atheists, or at any rate non-Christians. I noted firstly that there seemed to be a good ‘spread’ of them throughout the lecture theatre. (Later, in light of the cacophony of voices agitating during Q&A, I estimated that the ‘atheist’ contingent made up about one-third of the total attendance.) And secondly, I found it noteworthy and very pleasing that the Christians had even reported this to me, as it meant that they were eager to look out for the nonbelievers. Here in fact is what one early-arriving atheist posted to Facebook (via his hand-held phone/device) while waiting for proceedings to begin:
“Just got to the lecture hall and was already approached by a proselytising church member lol.”
Good on that church member!
Before inviting me to the lectern to present, first the pastor, and then another church representative, laid down ‘ground rules’ for the way the evening would be conducted. No interjections please, nor questions, during the speaker’s presentation—there would be plenty of opportunity for Q&A from the moment my formal presentation concluded.
When in the 1990s Mary Schweitzer discovered red blood cells in dinosaur bone she said she got ‘goose bumps’. “It was exactly like looking at a slice of modern bone. But of course, I couldn’t believe it … the bones, after all, are 65 million years old. How could blood cells survive that long?” The above photo dates from a later (2005) find by Schweitzer, strengthening the red blood cell identification.
However, it didn’t take long for certain of the atheists attending to show their disregard for the church’s request that the speaker be given the courtesy of addressing the gathering without interruptions. I had barely started to mention the red blood cells discovered in T. rex bone by evolutionist Dr Mary Schweitzer and her colleagues in the 1990s when the loud interjections commenced.
“She’s retracted that!”, exclaimed one man. When I replied with, “No, she hasn’t”, there was a chorus wail of protestations from several in the audience. “Yes, she has!”, they exclaimed, and were deaf to my “No, she hasn’t” rejoinders until finally the fracas subsided for long enough for me to present the many other soft-tissue-in-dino-bone evidences more recently reported by Dr Schweitzer herself, and others, in the two decades since. E.g. the blood vessels in 2005 and DNA in 2012. (For good measure I also used the opportunity to mention the non-Schweitzerian reporting of radiocarbon in dinosaur bones in 2013.) Thus confronted with these facts showing their claim was false, the protesters fell silent, and so with order restored I was able to continue.
But not for long. When I began to present how the changes observable in living things certainly reflect natural selection, adaptation and speciation but none of these represent evolution (in the sense of having been able to have turned microbes ultimately into man), there were more howls of protests from the atheists in the auditorium.
Genesis gets people talking!—a fact to which street preacher Russell Wallace strongly attests: “I hear my brethren in the wider local church claim that the creation/evolution issue is not important or irrelevant, and ‘will scare people away from Christianity.’ The members of my preaching team and I say otherwise—as evidenced by our experience of witnessing to passers-by on Friday nights. Not only do passers-by pause to talk with us, but some will stay for quite some time, putting aside whatever other plans they had for the evening.” For more, see: Street preacher says creation ‘is the issue’—It’s time for the church to stop avoiding the questions people want answers to.
They challenged, for example, my statement that various evolutionary geneticists had themselves realized that such is the rate of generational accumulation of mutations (about 60–100 per person per generation), the human species should therefore have become extinct at least ten times over, presuming that we’ve been here for the 100,000 years mooted by the defenders of the evolutionary timeline. (Cf. the Bible’s 6,000-year timeline—there have only been about 200 generations since Adam, so although we’re going downhill fast (Romans 8:19–22), it’s understandable that we haven’t gone extinct; there simply hasn’t been enough time for that to happen.) “No secular geneticist has ever said such a thing!”, they protested.
In response I said that indeed evolutionary geneticists have, and that our publications had quoted them word-for-word, and carefully cited the source reference in each case. “Where?”, they challenged, holding up their hand-held internet-ready devices. I replied, “Look, I can’t remember off the top of my head, but I know you can find at least one in my article on creation.com, Time—no friend of evolution.” Within seconds, a young lady seated in the 2nd-to-front row very aggressively said, “Well I’ve found your article here, and there’s no reference here at all.” I said, “It surely is!” But she said, very self-righteously, “No, I’ve scrolled right down, there’s only ‘Related articles’ here, which are all only links to articles on your own website.”
I told her to scroll down further. She went quiet, having evidently found that the reference from which this Alexey Kondrashov attribution in the main text was sourced …
[E]volutionary geneticist Alexey Kondrashov asked, “Why aren’t we dead 100 times over?”
… was indeed listed in the References (#15):
Kondrashov, A., Contamination of the genome by very slightly deleterious mutations: why have we not died 100 times over? Journal of Theoretical Biology 175:583–594, 1995.
[This incident highlights the importance of our being careful to include in our layman articles for Creation magazine our source references from secular peer-reviewed scientific journals. When Christians are presenting evidence to non-believers, e.g. re soft tissue in dinosaur bones, but the non-Christian refuses to read creationist-authored articles, simply direct them to hunt up the original secular references listed at the foot of our articles for themselves. Thus they can see the evidence is genuine, and not something concocted by Christians.]
Although the young lady had been quietened on this matter, others had not, and the disorderly interjections prevented me from continuing with my presentation. I noticed later that one of the live posts to Facebook at about this time boasted, “We’re causing a ruckus”. Indeed they were, and I was not surprised given the Apostle Paul’s warning in Romans 1:18. (I.e. that people who say, “there is no God” (Psalm 14:1) are more interested in suppressing the truth, rather than debating it.)
Among the on-going clamour railing against ‘declining genes’ were voices directing my attention to a man in about the 5th row: “He’s a university geneticist, he ought to know.” Thus goaded, he spoke up boldly, saying that there was now a wealth of scientific literature against what I had presented. “Then where is it?,” I replied, “Surely someone by now would have eagerly used it to challenge us.”
The geneticist responded, “It’s there, it’s there—hundreds of examples …”
Dr John Sanford’s eye-opening book of the bad news about our declining genes ends with the good news that there’s a ‘lifeboat’:
“I believe the Author of Life has the power to defeat death and degeneration. … He gave us life in the first place, so He can give us new life today. … I humbly put before you this alternative paradigm for your consideration—Jesus is our one true hope.”—p. 159, Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome.
“Well then,” I said, “document them in writing and if we haven’t already answered in our literature or website the material you refer to, then we’ll happily publish your submission on our website. I’ll very much look forward to receiving it because … you would surely know of John Sanford, inventor of the gene gun?” (The geneticist nodded.) “We’ve got one of his books out on our resource tables here. Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome. I find it curious that Dr Sanford doesn’t seem to have heard of what you’re talking about.”
If I’m not mistaken, at the mention of John Sanford’s name, the geneticist’s facial expression became somewhat more circumspect. Perhaps someone else present noticed it too, because they loudly taunted: “Bet you he doesn’t send you anything!”
But I told the gathering, “No, let’s be fair to him, I’m willing to take this gentleman at his word. And for my part, you all have my word on this—a public promise made before everyone here as eyewitnesses tonight—on behalf of Creation Ministries International, I promise that we will publish this gentleman’s submission on our website, giving it full prominence on the front page as a daily feature article, if the objections he documents haven’t already been answered elsewhere on our website. Notice that exactly this process has contributed to the strength of our website: if someone writes in with a hitherto-unanswered challenge, we post it along with our response as one of our front-page articles—the archive now extends to over 7,000 articles. No wonder it’s become such a powerful resource accessed by people worldwide.”
For the rest of the evening, I heard nothing more from the mouth of the geneticist. [Nor, to date, has CMI to my knowledge yet received the promised written submission from him.] And sufficient quiet now settled on the rest of the assembly that I was able to proceed with presenting some of the remaining material in my presentation—not all, sadly, as too much time had been lost.
Ironically, in disrupting my address, the atheists had actually deprived themselves of a particular ‘pleasure’ they’d pre-prepared for themselves (as I discovered later). One of the attendees mentioned on Facebook that she had her “bingo cards and pens” ready. By ‘bingo’ she meant ‘creationist bingo’. I was told that this is where a group of atheists each brings a list of known favourite creationist teachings to a creation presentation, then carefully ticking off each item as soon as the presenter mentions it. As the final box is ticked, all the atheists are to shout ‘Bingo!’—a very effective disruption no doubt.
Anyway, closing my formal presentation, I then invited public questions/comments/challenges.
A very lively Q&A!
The first chapter of The Creation Answers Book addresses the fundamental question ‘Does God exist?’ The remaining chapters confront head-on the follow-up questions that atheists (and uncertain Christians) persistently raise. For myriad examples of its applicability see Answering Grandma Mildred. You can purchase the book via our online store.
As I expected, the questions initially were of a ‘technical’ nature, and coming from a classical skeptical perspective. That is, from the Christian-hostile (and wrong) presumption that the Bible can’t be true because scientific evidence shows it isn’t. The sorts of questions already answered by creation.com and our various other resources, e.g. The Creation Answers Book. In fact, I was surprised that the questions were so run-of-the-mill, given the clear desire of the atheists present to ‘score points against the creationist’. They were clearly both uninformed and ill-informed about even the basics in the creation/evolution ‘debate’. Indeed, when a young man in the very back row asked a question, I was able to use the opportunity to answer it with the aid of slides/photos which I’d already pre-prepared for my formal presentation, but which I’d had to bypass because of atheist interruptions. Apparently frustrated and surprised at their own inability to score points on facts, information and evidence, their pointscoring tactics shifted to attacking me (i.e. rather than the information I was presenting to them).
“You said you’d finished your presentation!”, a man in the very middle of the auditorium said, in an accusatory tone of voice.
“I did, and I have,” I replied, “don’t you remember I opened it up to questions?”
“But you’re presenting slides again,” he said.
“Yes, in answer to the question from the man in the back row,” I replied.
“But you haven’t answered his question!”, he accused.
“Oh, I’m sorry if that’s the case,” I said, then addressing the man in the back row, “Have I answered your question, sir?—I can’t remember exactly what it was.”
Now the young man in the back row began to nod (it seemed to me) and I think was about to say “Yes” or perhaps even “Yes, but …”—however, he never got the chance to speak. My accuser in the middle of the auditorium interrupted angrily: “No! You tell us the question!”
I replied, “I’m sorry, I can’t remember it. Sir, [I said again to the man in the back row] have I answered your question—can you remind us of what it was, please?” And again, my accuser occupying the central area interrupted, “No! You tell us the question!”
Bizarrely, this pattern repeated several times until the audience rapidly tired of it and voices shouted the man down, exhorting him to “Let it go! Leave it alone!”1
When things had quietened, I said to the general assembly, “Look. Did you come here tonight merely to ‘point-score’? If so, you’ll have no trouble finding a chink in my armour. You want to focus on my deficiencies? I’ve got plenty! And they’re getting worse—I’m “in decay” like the rest of creation—worryingly, of late I’ve started doing the old person’s trick of going into a room and forgetting why. (Just wait till you get to your 50s and experience it for yourself!) But how is it a productive use of your time to make an issue out of my short-term memory loss? Why not instead make productive use of tonight’s opportunity to suss out a view of origins that you’re not even being allowed to hear about, in your daily lives. After all, when do you ever hear of this material being presented at the university? I even know of instances where intended on-campus presentations of this material have been banned by university authorities!” [I had in mind a different campus-imposed ban on a seminar event in 2010,2 rather than the censorship attempt on tonight’s meeting.] “This to me is super-ironic given that we intend these presentations to be for your benefit. Do you think I like travelling thousands of kilometres to come and be the object of your derision and scorn? I would much rather be back at home with my wife! But I came here to do my bit to let you know that the Bible’s account of history is true, that it explains the mess we’re in, and that the ‘rescue package’ offered through Jesus is for real, and the only solution. That’s why I’m speaking to you tonight.”
“No!,” someone objected, “you’re doing this because you get paid to do it!”
“Sure I get paid,” I replied, “but I get paid less than if I’d stayed in my secular scientist job working for the government.”
I could have also pointed out that my wage to ‘proclaim creation’ is paid for by voluntary donations, in stark contrast to the teaching of evolution which is funded by compulsory state-collected taxation of everyone, whether they agree or not!
I continued, “So why do I do this for less pay? I put to you that I do it out of love—love for God, and love for my neighbour. Which of you, if you saw a blind man walking unknowingly towards a pit, would not shout out a warning? Well, that’s what I’m doing—I think you know what I’m talking about!”
A young man near the front put up his hand and, saying courteously that he would like to ask a “productive question”, proceeded to do so. It was standard Creation Answers Book fare. After I answered it, I added, “You know, all of your questions so far have really been the standard questions that many skeptics and uncertain Christians have raised before and which have long been answered in various creationist publications and on our website. These days anyone really with a mind to do so can easily seek out answers to these questions. Let me put this to you; if you really have a commitment to testing things scientifically, why not do this ‘scientific experiment’ in line with Jesus’ words: Go into your bedroom, shut the door, and try speaking to God. Seek Him out for yourselves—do the ‘experiment’. You don’t have to tell anyone else about it—just do it privately, and see what happens.”
Up to this point the serious questions had been of a technical nature, but we were about to witness a dramatic gear-shift from ‘head issues’ to matters-of-the-heart.
The mood changes
A young lady spoke up, “Well I’ve tried the praying ‘experiment’ you refer to—in my room, with the door shut. I used to be a Christian, but one day I wanted to kill myself, so I prayed to God that if He was real, please stop me from committing suicide. But He didn’t. So I set about to kill myself. However, my flatmate came home unexpectedly, and intervened to stop me. But where was God when I needed Him?!”
Immediately I replied, “How do you know it wasn’t God who arranged for your flatmate to return home at precisely the right moment?”
There was a spontaneous burst of applause from (I presume) the Christians in the assembly. But also something of a disturbance broke out between the lady who’d tried to kill herself and another lady about her own age in the row behind. I couldn’t discern what exactly was happening, but I could see (and hear!) that the would-be suicider was very angry in tone with who she was talking to.
One of the most-asked questions is why a loving God allows death and suffering—a question that even leading Christian apologists cannot satisfactorily answer, if they insist on holding to a billions-of-years age-of-the-universe. CMI is receiving much excited feedback about the impact on people’s hearts and minds of this recording of CMI’s Gary Bates delivering the Gospel message with a powerful, yet compassionate, approach, as he answers this key question.
Meanwhile other angry voices were directed at me, apparently rebuking me for my ‘heartlessness’ in giving such a ‘callous’ answer to the young lady. Trying to defuse the anger, I remember saying something along these lines: “I apologise if my bluntness has caused any offence. Of all the talents God has given me, I recognise that my strongest suit probably isn’t diplomacy. But there are many parts of the body—and Pastor Peter here, for one, I’m sure is just itching to provide gentle Christian counsel to anyone here who is hurting.” Pastor Peter (to my relief!) nodded in affirmation of this point. But a 20s-something male objector said, “No! You need professional psychologists in order to get proper counselling. I used to be a Christian, but the so-called counselling I got from the church was dreadful. But then I consulted professional psychologists—they were the only ones who could help.” Others raised their voices in support of his ‘testimony’, saying it matched their own. I said, “You want to trade testimonies, as evidence? Well, here’s mine for balance. As an atheist, suffering from depression [while a PhD student], I went to my university’s free counselling service staffed by professional psychologists. And while it felt nice while I unloaded my troubles to them, later on when I got home I realized that outside of work hours they didn’t really give two hoots about me, actually. As soon as they weren’t being paid to listen to my troubles, that was the end of their interest in my welfare. Contrast that with the genuine and on-going love and compassion shown to me by Christians later when I ‘joined’ the church—‘Love must be sincere’, the Bible says [Romans 12:9]—what a difference that made. And now I see why. Only those who’ve tapped into the Source of all Love have love to give out in spades.”
As I recall, it was at about this point that we closed the Q&A session and thus the formal part of the night’s proceedings—a full two hours after I’d taken up position at the lectern. But I made it clear to the assembly that I was still available for private questions/challenges. I must admit, however, that as Pastor Peter thanked everyone for their attendance and stepped away from the lectern, what happened next caught me completely by surprise.
‘The Body’ leaps to action
I expected to be assailed by atheists wanting to challenge me over various things I’d said (or not said). But to my astonishment, none did. Instead the moment that the pastor formally ended proceedings, the atheists were suddenly engaged in frenzied conversations with the Christians who’d eagerly gotten around them. (Having no doubt easily identified them during the presentation and Q&A).
By first addressing the ‘classic skeptic’ creation/evolution questions of an elderly German immigrant to Australia (see box at end of this article), the author exposed what was really a core objection in Werner’s heart: “In Germany, in the war, the Jews were slaughtered in the churches. That’s the love of Christians?” Aside from whether accusations of that ilk are accurate, it’s wise for Christians to always be ready to answer the question: What about bad things done by the church?
I was amazed. I’d never seen anything like this. And with them all too busy to come and challenge me, I almost felt somewhat abandoned. (Of course, the thought also occurred to me that their ‘challenges’ during the public forum were exposed now as being just for show, for disruptive purposes only, given none was apparently wanting to take it up with me on a one-on-one basis.) However, the Christians were very excited. One came and reported to me: “You won’t believe it. A most amazing change has swept through the auditorium. It’s like a spirit of peace has descended on the gathering. Have a walk around and experience it for yourself.” So I did. Throughout the expansive foyer, I walked amongst the pairs, threes, fours and small groups of people who were deep in intense discussion. As I did so, nobody spoke with me, or apparently even saw me—they were simply too engrossed in their own conversations. I overheard various topics being discussed. Only a very few were on technical matters related to the creation/evolution controversy. Rather, I could hear that the dialogues were overwhelmingly about the Love of God, His mercies, compassion, the reality of sin, God’s forgiveness, salvation through Christ. While the evening had begun as ‘Evolution—busting the myth’, the core of the Gospel was now clearly front-and-centre. One group was working through how a loving God could ask Abraham to put his son on the altar.
The conclusion, to me, was obvious. As I’d witnessed in previous years (e.g. See Box: When Werner laid bare his heart), tonight was yet another example of how when the atheist’s ‘first defence’ is penetrated, i.e. the facade of evolution, one gets to see the real objections to God they have in their heart. First deal with the facade to their unbelief, then you get to deal with aspects lying behind it.
I left the venue about an hour after the end of the public Q&A, but there were many people still there, in earnest dialogue. Later, I heard that:
- Private conversations continued on the pavement outside the building long into the night (even into the ‘wee small hours’) after Security had locked everything up.
- Christians from other churches who attended tonight were powerfully impacted by what they’d seen. E.g., “I’d never heard that there were straightforward answers to these key questions!”, and “I never realized this was such a touchstone issue—I’ll be using it in my witnessing from now on.”
- Three pastors from other churches who attended that night were now considering organising events with an invited CMI speaker.
- The ‘daggers of hate’ from the eyes of the would-be suicider to the Christian lady her own age softened during their conversation afterwards—turned out she’d mis-heard what the Christian had actually said to her earlier. Dialogue revealed mutual interests—neurophysiology and linguistics. A burgeoning friendship? (A proffered gift of CMI’s Walking Through Shadows DVD was gratefully accepted, with a promise in return to view it.)
- Several (at least) of the atheists had accepted offers from various church people to visit them for further discussions over dinner.
- One of the atheists, a university researcher convinced that self-replicating molecules could create life without an intelligent designer, was apparently challenged to think further on the classic C.S. Lewis trilemma: was Jesus Lord, Liar or Lunatic?
The Walking Through Shadows DVD is a presentation by Dr Carl Wieland in which he details the events of a tragic road accident that almost claimed his life and subsequently required dozens of operations. Hear how a belief in the truth of a Genesis Creation provided the understanding and strength in making sense of why a God of love allows bad things to happen—even to Christians. His companion book, Beyond the Shadows: making sense of personal tragedy, describes (among other highlights) some of the factors at work in his conversion from atheism to Christianity.
Incidentally, there was one atheist who approached me personally afterwards, but it was not to challenge me. He said, “I’m an atheist, and after your presentation tonight, I’m still an atheist. But I want to tell you that I was very impressed with the dignified way in which tonight’s meeting was conducted. Bless you for that.”
Wow, a blessing from an atheist!!! I wonder how that works?
When Werner laid bare his heart
In the DVD Creation Evangelism: Sharing Your Faith, David Catchpoole describes his interactions with a colourful gentleman named Werner, the non-Christian husband of one of the parishioners at a church in Australia that hosted a series of CMI seminars in 2002. In this videoclip extract (duration: 7 minutes, 25 seconds), note that it’s only after many of Werner’s questions relating to the creation/evolution issue were dealt with that he revealed a key objection in his heart, harking back to his childhood under Hitler.3
The full DVD is Dr Catchpoole’s presentation at the Creation Supercamp held in Australia in January 2004. We have since received two further ‘post-scripts’ of news regarding Werner.
In 2006, one of his friends told us that Werner was still regularly attending church and Bible studies, “and still asking the hard questions”. But in 2008, Werner became seriously ill, and passed away some days later. However, the congregation were delighted to report to us that, on his deathbed, Werner very clearly said for all gathered around to hear, “Jesus is my friend.”
* * *
As Dr Jonathan Sarfati explains in his DVD presentation Evolution and the Holocaust, it was actually evolutionary ideas permeating Germany that paved the way for its descent into unspeakable brutality.
He quotes leading evolutionists such as Richard Dawkins and thus exposes to the light what many atheists are unwilling to acknowledge (and some even outright deny): “As far as these evolutionists are concerned, if evolution is true, there is no basis for right and wrong!”
Nazis eagerly made use of the evolutionary concepts already entrenched in German academia. Noting that the subtitle of Darwin’s The Origin of Species by means of natural selection was The preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life, Dr Sarfati points out that evolutionary teachings were simply carried to their logical conclusion by the Nazis. They tried to exterminate the ‘inferior’ races like the Jews, Gypsies, and Slavs, as well as the ‘unfit’ (e.g. the handicapped). This is confirmed by the evolutionist Sir Arthur Keith, who wrote: “The German Führer, as I have consistently maintained, is an evolutionist; he has consciously sought to make the practice of Germany conform to the theory of evolution.”
References and notes
- One of the church’s elders subsequently emailed to the author the details of the ‘forgotten question’! Here is his account: “The actual question that was asked that you were challenged over not remembering was ‘What evidence would you accept that would convince you that Creationism is wrong or what is the strongest evidence against Creationism?’ (or something similar). You responded by saying that the most challenging issue for a Creationist is star light and the age of the universe. You then mentioned that however, when we look at the universe and our solar system we see other evidence that points to a young creation. That was when you pulled up slides on the rings of Saturn (and possibly some other points – that’s as much as I remember). That was when one person objected that you were starting your presentation again instead of answering questions.” Return to text.
- It was a widely advertised CMI seminar that had to be hurriedly rescheduled off-campus in the same locale. For a write-up of how protests from various skeptics succeeded in getting it banned by the university administrators, see: Jackmanson, D., University of Southern Queensland bans Young Earth Creationist seminar, 4ZZZFM News, 3 October 2010, 4zzznews.wordpress.com/2010/10/03/university-of-southern-queensland-bans-young-earth-creationist-seminar/. Return to text.
- Irrespective of whether Werner’s stated objection was more his perception rather than reality, objections of that ilk are addressed in many of our articles. E.g. Sarfati, J., What about bad things done by the church? Creation 36(1):16–19, 2014. Return to text.
Post-Script: Since this article was written but before it was published, we received an unsolicited letter from an elder of the church providing us with their feedback of the event. Interested readers can view the contents of the letter (minus identifying names/details of the church and university) here: Eyewitness feedback matches CMI’s report.
I find it interesting and quite misleading to characterize those in attendance at the presentation who disagreed with creationism as 'atheists'. The author continually refers to his detractors as such, when in fact there is no evidence presented to determine any religious beliefs of those members of the audience. This type of generalized mischaracterization is in my opinion simply an effort to further discredit those who themselves find no credibility to creationism without actually addressing their arguments. To discredit the person and therefore discredit his position is a classic argument ad hominem, and not a position of argumentative validity.
Astounding article! Very inspiring. Bless you for your commitment to proclaiming the Truth in Love!
I shared this article on facebook yesterday for my nephew, because of comments he has been making on facebook. He read the article and said it was interesting...but.
At least I was able to give him my reasons for what I believe. Thank you for your ministry, and God bless.
This is an outstanding article and the author is doing a real service. I notice this same dynamic in writing to a Facebook blogpage titled Evolution vs Creationism. It became clear to me that the atheists consider this "their" area and they repeatedly list "straw-man" objections to Creationism, claiming it is either ignorance or bad character that makes people maintain the creationist position. I politely pointed out that their blogspot claimed to be for a debate and they should welcome creationists' inputs so as to avoid being an "evolutionist echo-chamber." When i provide rebuttals from other atheist or agnostic scientists to their objections against creationism and intelligent design in the universe, they immediately "attack the messenger," and doubt the authenticity and orthodoxy of the self-proclaimed atheist objectors. I think it is necessary to stay in the debate, with respect, and this article by David Catchpoole is a great example to be followed. He not only is very well prepared; he has the true heart of a Christian to "take the heat" from listeners and still reach out to them. God bless you for your fine work.
This is the most powerful article I've read on creation apologetics. Please thank David Catchpoole for me and keep up the good work!
Thanks so much for this article. It was such an exciting read - it really had me hooked. Particularly interested in the information on genetic entropy. And of course the story-line of your exciting adventure at the university. Thanks again.
Wow! What an incredible report from the front lines. Thank you for this. I couldn't get to the end of it without experiencing 'tears of joy' at what you let our Creator and Savior do through you.
Don't worry about your bluntness towards the girl who had prayed for rescue from suicide. I probably would have been worse. I think after having heard her statement I would have asked, "So....did you end up dying?"....and run in the same direction you did in order to praise God for indeed saving her life.
Keep up the great work! You truly are inspiring the rest of us to press on to the final reward.
I am deeply moved by the response of both the Christians attending your presentation and the story about Werner. Thank you that you were able to present the Truth and that the fellow disciples there were prepared and ready to meet with those who opposed your presentation. It is something that I would hope to be able to replicate in my own life, either the sharing of the Truth (which as we know is firstly Jesus, but does include the written Word from Genesis to Revelation) or to be able to prayerfully answer questions and hurts of the "not-yet believer." May the Lord continue to open doors for CMI and all who love Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
When a commercial arrangement is denied to a church organisation, check if the state anti-discrimination law makes such behaviour illegal. It does in Victoria, and may do so in other states. If so, point it out to the organisation that is denying you service, and follow with court action.
What a fascinating article as always. It would have been amazing to see God working through His Body with the Christians getting amongst the atheists and witnessing; the follow up by Steve R from that church was also a fascinating insight. God's truth never comes back empty, once their defences were breached we'll only find out in eternity how many of those atheists accepted Jesus. As this shows we are indeed in a spiritual battle and this was front line action. Praise God!
Scripture tells us, even after the unbelievers are resurrected and they have all the proof that they need; that God exists; He did create in 6 days and their former sins come in remembrance in their resurrected bodies, what do they do? They will still argue and fight against God.
Revelation 20:9 (ESV) “And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them”
But until the coming of the Lord we do the Will of God by spreading the gospel depending on our talents.
Great article as always. I appreciate the way you handled the whole thing; I can only imagine what would happen in a pro-evolution lecture if one third of the audience were creationists and they behaved as poorly as your atheists did!
Also, I agree with your assessment of counseling. My wife and I recently counseled (using Nouthetic counseling) a couple who were considering divorce and, at one point near the end of our total time with them as their counselors, I asked them to complete a short quiz for us. I asked them where their relationship was when they first came vs. what it was "now" on a scale of 1-10. They both chose three in the beginning and 7 and 8 at the end. How many secular psychiatric clients would have that much improvement in a matter of a few months of bi-weekly visits, I wonder? I trust our couple is still together and still improving; God did work in their lives, obviously!
For the benefit of readers who haven't previously encountered the term 'Nouthetic counseling' (as I hadn't), here's a brief summary/definition I found:
Nouthetic counseling (Greek: noutheteo, to admonish) is a form of pastoral counseling that holds that counselling should be based solely upon the Bible and focused upon Christ.
When I was an undergrad, I attended a couple of lectures by a couple from Answers in Genesis. I remember too that the atheists' questions were about how the animals could fit on the ark (which was a different subject from the presentation) and in the second lecture (by the same people a year later) about how God could "send" people to hell. Interesting that their defense of evolution seems again to hide something deeper, although sometimes they do respond by the blanket "that's been refuted a dozen times" response.
Your article was extremely inspiring, and I know it is impacting others in the same way (judging from the comments that you've published so far). I'm sure that all the staff and scientists associated with CMI have likewise been blessed by this event, and others like it.
It has to be a terrible struggle to endure the constant ridicule and emotional harassment of the atheistic community at large. But how satisfying and fulfilling it must also be to see their "intellectual" defense stripped away, so they are ultimately forced to confront the truth of the God of the Bible, and decide what they are going to do with that information.
Be careful who you cite- Dr. Mary Higby Schweitzer DID NOT use her claim to finding soft tissue in a T-Rex to conclude that theT-REX COULD NOT be millions of years old. Dr. Schweitzer also published articles that support fossil ages of "hundreds of thousands of years" and her work has advanced a claim that dinosours evolved into today's birds.
Have we anywhere (whether in this article above or in any of the many articles on creation.com where we cite Dr Schweitzer) said that Mary Schweitzer has concluded that dinosaurs cannot be millions of years old?
I suspect that if she were to make such a conclusion in any of her papers then they would never be accepted for publication by any of the secular journals! For our part, however, we are very grateful that her discoveries (i.e. the evidence she observed, as apart from her conclusions) have indeed been published, as this permits the world at large to see the evidence for themselves, and to personally assess if Dr Schweitzer's millions-of-years timeline stands up to scrutiny. (It doesn't.)
What a brilliant article, life saving article.
From my experiences and observations in apologetics and especially in creation science, I fully believe that many of these atheists do not want answers, they want to express their hatred of God and his people. It is not about "reason" (and ironically those in your audience as well as what I receive are guilty of numerous logical fallacies), it is a spiritual matter as you well know.
They want us silenced. Since they cannot refute the evidence presented, they try to negate the person.
One way is to simply attack the person by calling him or her a "liar for Jesus", "deluded", "science denier", "religious ideologue" and so on. I get personal attacks and, being a decaying man in his fifties, I admit that I have flaws. Surprise, we're human too!
They will also attack creation science itself by saying things like, "Young Earth creationism is not scientific. Evolution is", which shows not only a faulty understanding of the nature of science, but the fallacy of equivocating "evolution" with "science".
You did what you could, and God was there as you saw. We often do not see the impact that we have. Sometimes the loudest critics are hearing, and will think about what has been said and written later on. How many people convert to biblical creation in an instant? Also, there are people who are quietly listening and pondering.
I pray that Christians will learn about the authority of Scripture and the importance of Genesis and creation science so they are equipped to stand for the faith against irrational, emotional attacks.
I am with you all the way on this one in regards to the counseling topic. I am not going to go into detail here, but I have years of experience with mental health workers of all kinds including psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and nurses. I have come to conclude that very few of them are driven solely by humanitarian motivations. Some even have very low views of their patients/clients.
Perhaps you should have reminded your crowd that psychiatrists were some of the main supporters of eugenics/euthanasia?
Very inspiring and instructive article. Reminds me of the apostles Barnabas and Paul in Acts with some of their missions. Paul was stoned to death or so his attackers thought (Acts 14) but after they dragged him out of the city and left for dead, he got up as they surrounded him and walked back into the city. Looks like your presentation may have had the same effect.
I guess the life lesson here is to follow the truth and keep planting seeds. Ultimately, truth will triumph.
However, there's a rather HUGE difference between my account above and the Acts 14 experience of the Apostle Paul. My 'attackers' at most hurled only abuse, not stones!
Walking into a room and forgetting why is exclusively for old people? As of writing, I'm 21 and this happens to me all the time!
Thank you, thank you , thank you
Your graciousness in dealing with the hostility including freely admitting your own limitations reveals that your security rests not in yourself rather in the AllMighty One
thus testifying to the truth (honesty/humility) coupled with your unwavering stand on God's word (firm/boldness) is such a great example of before honour comes humility
And through this the spirit worked to reveal to supressors that God is not on trial - It is in fact themselves that are.
Thank you again
A very inspiring article, God Bless you David for having such strength and grace as well as speaking the truth. But how sad that society has degenerated to the point where any Christian view meets with such intolerance.
Hi David - Thank you very much for sharing this experience and be encouraged your efforts are not in vain. Blessings in Christ
Thank you very much for this wonderful testimony. It is extremely moving and encouraging to see how you were moved by the Holy Spirit to put yourself in such a position, and the way God has used it for His glory. I hope that this episode has also been an encouragement to you to know that God will speak to the people on your behalf.
This testimony stands as important evidence of the 'lack of objectiveness' that even universities have for the creation/evolution debate. I hope that this will encourage others to think critically about their worldview in light of this account.
I am so happy that the Bible and scientific facts have suitable answers to the questions that unbelievers and evolutionists asked. A good evolutionist requires as much faith as a Christian, for he has to believe that life came from Non-living, which is a contradiction of Biological laws.
"As much faith", or more? Here's what genetic engineering researcher Dr Dudley Eirich told Creation magazine:
"Once you understand evolution, it takes more faith [in the colloquial sense of blind credulity] to believe it than to believe in creation. And there really is a lot of faith involved; they don’t have many answers to the big questions—e.g. the origin of life."
Absolutely wonderful article. But I was wondering: What exactly is Alexey Kondrashov's own answer to the question: "Why haven't we died a hundred times over?" God bless your ministry and wonderful work.
It's hard to give a short answer here, because Dr Kondrashov goes to great lengths in his Discussion section in that paper to try to explain the 'paradox' away. (His language is highly complex and replete with genetics jargon but his use of words like 'if' and 'perhaps' and 'may' are revealing!) Here's how his summary describes his attempt at resolving the "too high a mutation load" problem:
"This paradox cannot be resolved by invoking beneficial mutations or environmental fluctuations. Several possible resolutions are considered, including soft selection and synergistic epistasis among very slightly deleterious mutations."
Note that Dr John Sanford has addressed the attempted 'synergistic epistasis' dodge in this article:
Incidentally, Dr Kondrashov is himself very much aware of the core challenge to evolutionary theory: the origin of new information. In a 1999 paper entitled 'Comparative genomics and evolutionary biology' in the journal Current Opinion in Genetics & Development 9:624–629, under the subheading 'Origin of novelties', he wrote:
"Darwin (Chapter 6 of Origin of Species) considered gradual origin of novel, complex adaptations (e.g. that of mammalian and cephalopod eyes) to be the most serious challenge for evolution by natural selection. This belief is still valid."
And in the same paper under 'Conclusions' he wrote:
"How often do new genes appear from scratch? Striking conservatism of many genes across all life suggest that this now happens very rarely. If so, the de novo origin of genes coding for the first proteins becomes particularly intriguing."