Familiarity breeds … respect?
Although widely respected, the Grand Theory of Evolution is really quite preposterous.
I have sometimes summarized the grand (or general) theory of evolution (GTE) thus:
Nothing exploded and produced hydrogen—the ‘big bang’. Then hydrogen stars exploded causing hydrogen atoms to jam together to form the heavier elements. From these elements stars as we know them formed, and galaxies and walls of galaxies—the whole universe. And then, from a swirling disc of cosmic dust left over from some exploding stars, our Solar System formed, with the accreting matter in the centre finally achieving enough mass to ignite nuclear fusion—the Sun. And earth had formed, with the other planets, all with very different characteristics. Earth happened to be in the right place to be suitable for life. Initially a molten blob, it finally cooled down enough for water to form. In the water, complex organic chemicals made themselves and (contrary to everything we know about the chemistry of life) chanced to form the first living cell. And this first cell changed, over eons of time, by accidental changes, to produce every living thing on earth, including microbes, magnolias and microbiologists. And the human mind. It all happened by happenstance; no intelligence allowed!
A short summary of this fashionable ‘scientific’ belief system could be: “Hydrogen is a gas, which if left long enough, turns into people.” The non-rational produced the rational.
Presenting this overview has at times offended some people. Why? The big-picture summary exposes the GTE as being quite fanciful, incredible beyond the bounds of reason. The offended have come to believe this far-fetched story, possibly because they have heard it reinforced by so many authoritative sources, such as their school teachers, college/university professors and ‘experts’ on the Discovery channel or in National Geographic. They have based a God-less lifestyle on this and feel threatened when the foundation of their atheistic worldview is exposed as bogus.
Contemplating the GTE recently, I came to a fresh realization of just how ridiculous it is. Yes, I’m sorry, ridiculous. This grew out of a discussion I had with an atheist, whom I challenged about his logic-defying beliefs. We creationists can forget just how preposterous the GTE is. When you are dealing daily with the details, such as the latest super-trivial claim that some fish adapting to slightly colder water ‘proves evolution’ (p.11), you tend to lose sight of how fanciful the big claim is. I mean, how can nothing become everything (the Universe) with no cause whatsoever? This is the stuff of madness. The origin of life? Even the simplest microbe has stupendous integrated complexity far beyond human ability to invent. It just popped into existence by the blind forces of chemistry and physics? This is lunacy.
So why do intelligent people believe such impossible things?
Perhaps the continual focus on little bits of the story contributes to the wide acceptance of the grand evolutionary story; rarely does anyone step back and look at the BIG picture. Maybe some have never heard anything else. But more importantly, ‘everything made itself’ means that the Creator-God of the Bible can be pushed aside.
True believers in GTE get upset when we expose their worldview in such a strong way. As C.S. Lewis pointed out long ago, people love the myth. He counselled that we need to let them down gently,1 which accords with the Apostle Peter’s advice to give our reasons “with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
- Hardgrave, D., C.S. Lewis and the Great Myth: They love the Myth so take care how you expose it, creation.com/cs-lewis-and-the-great-myth, 1 January 2008. Return to text.
(Also available in Polish.)
Everyone would say that they want to know and follow the truth but the reality is that the human heart is not inclined to do so. When the truth does not line up with our desires, we tend to reject it, twist it or ignore it. Couple that with groupthink and billions of dollars of research and Creationism would have already been extinguished if it were not for truths of nature uttering forth day after day proclaiming the glory of it's Grand Engineer even in a fallen world. I thank God most of all that He does continue to strive with man.
Why do intelligent people believe such impossible things? I think a major factor is our society’s deep commitment to magic. As children we all hear of Santa Claus, Superman, Spiderman, etc, as well as the traditional stories like Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and so on. Much of our media is saturated with heroes whose lives show some kind of magical ability. Thus it is no problem to believe in intergalactic travel, time warps, E.T. and his ilk. We are conditioned to accept magic in much of what we see, hear, and read. It dulls our perception of what is ‘really real’ so that we can accept uncritically the most preposterous propositions like GTE.
Would that we could cut down on titillating our children with stories of magic and superheroes. I do not believe these things are harmless!
Dear Don, Thank you for such a knock down one pager! I agree with your final comments echoing C.S.Lewis that they love the myth and it has to be treated with respect as people will cling so desperately to that God-less, Creator-less position as it is their (raison d’etre) reason for living. It is their world and life view. The foundation of their atheistc thinking .
I realize that this article is in the creation magazine, which is ready primarily by people who are already creationists (myself included). I also realize that the strong language (lunacy, etc.) is used to make a point. But I fail to see how this article meets its own criteria of “letting them down gently.” I’m afraid that if a non-believer or theistic evolutionist read this article, they would not come away with the right impression of your good and effective ministry. Please strive to have more gentleness and respect, even when pointing out the lunacy of the grand theory of evolution.
Thinking about it, the GTE is the world’s greatest fairly tale. And truly, humans are wicked. How else can one justify this mad blind faith.
Few weeks before I read the GTE, I said to someone in a discussion the creation story of the big-bang. His reaction was that it was not evolution. In the context of the discussion he was referring to Darwinian evolution ie biological evolution. Darwinian evolution is only a part of the whole picture. Neither the GTE nor the Darwinian evolution provides evidence to molecules to man evolution.
The GTE is a creation story of atheism (intellectuals or free thinkers’) worldview.
Each worldview, be it Christianity, Hinduism … and atheism, has a creation story to explain how all the materials (creatures, earth, cosmos) we see around came into being.
Every worldview has axioms which are belief of that worldview.
In the debate between Christopher Hitchens (an intellectual) and Tony Blair (an unintellectual) on ‘Is religion a force for good?’, there was a question, toward the end of the debate, from the audience for both, asking for what was the compelling argument from the other side where Christopher was candid in his reply.
A good one pager. Hurting as it may sound but in this post-modern world isn’t it high time we call things what they truly are? So, only a lunatic would deny his Creator and is called a fool by that same Creator, who has every right to call things as He sees fit, so what is wrong with using the name given to those whose conduct is folly?