School assignments and creation account ‘contradictions’
Published: 2 July 2011 (GMT+10)
A studying student
This weekend’s feedback features two correspondents. The first is from Max C. of New Zealand asking for help with his school assignment, to which Adrian Bates replies. The second concerns the article by David Catchpoole about Cavemen in the Bible. Ken B. asks about contradictions in the order of creation in Genesis chapters 1 and 2, a question that has long been answered on the Creation.com site, and Lita Cosner replies.
Hi, my name is Max C., I am in Year 13 and I’m studying biology as one of my subjects at school this year. Firstly I would like to say a big thank you to you all at CMI. Your work is amazing and has kept me strong through various school arguments and debates to questioning my teachers about the theory of evolution. I have been addicted to your website, and have read almost every article from 2009 until now. I subscribe to the Creation magazine, love the photography and articles in every issue. So I would like to thank you for the service that you provide to the thousands of people, and I’m certain that there are many more out there like me who appreciate your work but don’t get a moment to thank you.
Secondly, and predominantly my main reason for contacting you, is that I have a big essay to write for one of my standards which is ‘research a contemporary biological issue’. Anyone who knows me would guess that I chose evolution vs. intelligent design. I am very excited to write about this and put all of my arguments onto paper, however I’m not too sure what would be appropriate to put in the essay. Also where to start.
I have an abundance of articles from CMI, but I need to shorten the amount of stuff that I put into the essay. It is an open limit word count; however I will have a maximum of 6 hours (spread over 6 class periods) to write it up. So I guess what I am asking is, would somebody please be able to suggest me some key points on intelligent design (we aren’t allowed to call it creationism) and point me in the right direction. This would get me off to a great start!
The other thing that I have to consider is that I need to write arguments for evolution and arguments for intelligent design, so it would be great if I could get some ‘evidence for evolution’ and write about this, then in the intelligent design section, say why this isn’t proof for evolution, and in fact is a testament of our designer etc.
Another concept I was considering arguing on, was “does the null hypothesis of evolution, prove intelligent design?” I was thinking about this today, and it would appear that yes. If we can prove that evolution (microbe to man) is completely and utterly wrong, then the only other apparent explanation for our existence would be the presence of an intelligent designer (and we all know, this is Jesus Christ). Just a thought.
Anyway thank you very much for your time, I constantly tell all of my friends, family, people looking for answers to go to creation.com as I know that all the articles and stories you write up are totally unbiased (to the best of your ability) and I trust that they will find the answers they need on your site.
Max C., New Zealand
Adrian Bates, CEO of CMI (NZ) replies.
Good to hear from you and thanks for the encouragement. You are right about having lots of material for your assignment if you choose as your topic ‘evolution vs intelligent design’. I guess with this subject there are two major areas: a) the biological issues and b) the more political and educational issues that the ID movement is also involved in.
I concentrate below on the biological areas. You will have to decide if you are going to cover both of these areas or one of them only. I note you are conversant with our website so I include just a few relevant links.
Initial discussion of your choice of subject, intended approach and goals for the paper
Show you understand the theory of evolution. Spell it out accurately—otherwise you will be accused of setting up a straw man just to shoot it down.
Then discuss the problems including:
- The problem of world view/bias (Scientists will always interpret the evidence to fit their world view)
- The huge problem of the origin of life (first replicating single cells Natural selection cannot explain the origin of life)
- Problem of lack of mutations discovered that add information (specifications for new features such as new cell types, etc.) to the genome (The evolution train’s a-comin’)
- Show that even beneficial mutations do not add the needed information
- Lack of transitional forms, fossil or living, between basic kinds of life (i.e. missing links)
- Other points
Show you understand the concept of biological design. Cover the history (e.g. Paley’s watch) as well as contemporary scene:
Design suggests a designer
Specified complexity (Darwins black box—mousetrap type problems)
Code (DNA) and information theory
Other areas will be found under our Q & A section, as for example, here: Intelligent Design: why the fuss, and what’s it about?
And here: Refuting Evolution: Chapter 9 (note the SETI example).
Concluding discussion of your findings
As you said yourself—the challenge is not to find data but to sort through to find the most relevant material, and use the right examples etc. This means that you need to invest a considerable amount of time at the initial planning stage of your assignment. (My details above are just some quick thoughts so I suggest you use them only as a rough guide.)
Ken B. writes:
In Genesis chapter one, man is created on the sixth day AFTER the plants! In this Genesis chapter two, man is created BEFORE plants. Are the writings screwed up?
Notice the bible is “apparently” contradicting itself here!
That’s a real interesting question and one we SHOULD ask!
If Man was completely formed at this point, then the writings are wrong. If however, the creation of man started before plants and ended on the sixth day (Maybe around about 200,000 years ago give or take science estimation errors), then I would think that these two agree with each other, and actually this timeframe allows for the “evolutionary” process, if that’s what God decided to use. Notice I don’t say this is what happened, only that there is nothing biblically against it happening this way!
Our problem as Christians is we become emphatic on things that divide us instead of focusing on loving others. I suggest that you cannot use science to prove or disprove the bible since it was never a scientific book and science was not written around the time Genesis was written. Genesis was also written in Chiasmus and you HAVE to take that into account to interpret what the author wanted us to know which is that God created Man and Women (together) in his image. This is the central lesson, not why or arguing with the facts that use the same principles used to date the very documents that give us Genesis! How about we focus on allowing others differences of opinions and not isolating non-Christians who would never buy the notions put out in this article? I have just had one young man come to Christ simply because I pointed this out to him. Arguing doesn’t teach people, love does it.
Lita Cosner replies.
One of the traps that people sometimes fall into when reading the Bible is that they think they are the first to discover some difficulty or alleged discrepancy. This would require that, over millennia, scholars and laypeople and scribes from two faiths, billions of people, all overlooked a contradiction between one chapter and the next, a contradiction which was waiting for the genius mind of the 21st century reader to uncover it. Happily, this is not the case, and there is a long and glorious history of showing how this particular “contradiction” is no contradiction at all.
You will notice that the type of plant that hadn’t grown yet is the plant “of the field”, that is, cultivated plants. There is a simple reason for this; man wasn’t around to cultivate anything! Other plants existed, of course.
Jesus Himself came to divide; I would say division based on truth is better than false unity in compromising error.
We agree that Genesis is not a scientific book. But it is a historical book, and it makes historical claims. One of the historical claims that it makes is that around 6,000 years ago, God created the universe in 6 ordinary-length days. This is opposed to the secular historical claim that the universe exploded into existence several billion years ago. Science can test some of the evidence which is interpreted one way or the other, but science is powerless to test the claims themselves.
You say that our claims only alienate non-believers. But eight years ago I was a non-believer who was converted, humanly speaking, in part because of CMI’s bold defense of God’s word. We have had others who have written in to tell us that God saved them in part through our ministry, and many more who have had their faith greatly strengthened. No doubt our message alienates some; Paul said that the Gospel is the scent of life to some and the stench of death to others (2 Corinthians 2:14–17); if we’re attracting everyone, we’re not defending the true Gospel.
Creation Ministries International
Is this Lita Cosner brillant or what? It takes someone with real insight to put something in simple terms that even I can understand.
A great, informative answer, Lita, combined with your own testimony. Thank you and God continue to bless and use you in upholding His authoritative Word!
In regards to Max C’s question on how to structure his essay I would also recommend including evolutionary objections to design arguments, ie co-option versus specified complexity, and why those objections fail, ie co-option is covered by Behe’s observations about indirect evolution, though not logically impossible such processes have not been observed etc.