Ridicule: the lowest form of evolution
When I first read Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, I remember thinking, ‘Evolution doesn’t come out well in this book.’ The lavish sprinklings of hesitant words like ‘perhaps’, ‘it is probable’, ‘could be’, ‘might have been’, and so on, left me wondering whether Darwin really believed he had a solid case for the naturalistic emergence of species. I thought that his chapters listing difficulties of, and objections to, his theory sufficiently demolished his case.
But I must give Darwin credit for one thing: he did present his notion calmly. Those with whom he disagreed were generally treated politely. Not from him would you receive caustic labels like ‘fraud’, ‘liar’, ‘anti-scientist’, and ‘cultist’.
Things have changed. In the 135 years since Darwin’s book was published, ridicule has become the stock response from many skeptics to those who question evolution. The plan seems to be, ‘If you can’t present a convincing scientific case for evolution, then ridicule your opponent.’
Not that ridicule is more effective than Darwin’s civility. Polls in recent years have consistently shown that large numbers of people are not persuaded by evolutionists at all.
One amazing case occurred at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, where a professor was shocked to discover that 27 per cent of his students didn’t believe they had evolved from ape-like ancestors. He indoctrinated the class with evolutionary textbooks and films, took them touring Melbourne zoo to study their ‘ancestry’ among the monkeys and apes, and promoted evolution with casts of human and ape skulls. He polled his class again. He was astonished to find the number of non-accepters was the same. No one had been persuaded by the extra drenching in evolution.
And then there was the survey at Central Michigan University in the United States which found that belief in evolution among genetics students actually fell—from 81 per cent to 62 per cent—during their course.
No one likes to be ridiculed, the thinking goes, so ridicule may sway some to think that the ridiculer has evidence without having to present it.
This tactic has been adopted more and more by evolutionists in creation/evolution debates. Rather than risk losing more of these debates on scientific grounds, evolutionists have increasingly resorted to rattling off a stream of derisive comments against creationists, trusting there won’t be time in the debate for the creationist to show that the criticisms are invalid and still have time to detail the many flaws in the theory of evolution.
At least one skeptic in the United States, Jim Lippard, has condemned such low-grade practices. Unfortunately, when Lippard pointed out to his colleagues that ridicule and misrepresentation from skeptics undermined their credibility and was probably counterproductive, he suddenly became the object of ridicule himself. One skeptic, using a common ploy of vocal lobby groups, dismissed Lippard as ‘young and naive’. (Had Lippard been older, no doubt he would have been said to be ‘out of touch with current opinion’.)
In a new book, an Australian skeptic, who has been soundly berated by Lippard for underhanded tactics against creationists, now tries to make out that Christian ministries like Creation Science Foundation (publishers of Creation magazine) are ‘cults’. The fact that cults need members to operate (CSF does not have a membership), that we are not a religious denomination, and that no one on our mailing list is forced to accept the information we provide (even skeptics subscribe to Creation magazine), seems to have escaped the notice of sections of the media and liberal clergy.
One newspaper unquestioningly adopted this skeptic’s claim that creationists were ‘cultists’. It ran an article with a picture of cult leader David Koresh, and of bodies being carried away after another cult massacre, as though these could have been linked to non-denominational creationist ministries like CSF (of course they weren’t). Ironically, the massacre picture involved a cult based on evolutionary ideas, which the Brisbane-based Cult Awareness and Information Centre lists as a common cult hallmark.
The major creationist ministries are simply following the teachings of the Creator, Jesus Christ, who Himself taught the historicity of Genesis, the Flood, and other biblical events which skeptics and liberals ridicule as myth. The Bible warns us that such scoffers will arise (2 Peter 3:3–6). It is astounding that skeptics and those who seem to have no relationship with God offer themselves as experts on religious matters.
After reading this new book by the ridiculing skeptic, I was struck by how much the tactics of evolutionists have deteriorated since Darwin’s book. But I did notice that one thing has deteriorated since Darwin’s book. But I did notice that one thing has not changed: evolution doesn’t come out well in this book either.