Double standards in the creation/evolution debate
‘God of the gaps’, or evolutionary storytelling?
If you’ve ever discussed creation with an even moderately scientifically literate skeptic, there’s a good chance you’ve been confronted by ‘knock-down’, ‘irrefutable’ scientific evidence that, we are told, can only be explained within a long-age, evolutionary framework. Just occasionally, this might be a discovery that is new to science. If so, it will probably have been given an evolutionary spin by the researchers (as is the case for many of these discoveries, even if only in passing) and reported as such in glowing terms by the scientific media.
The implication of these challenges is clear; biblical creationist interpretations of the Bible have been, and are continually being, proven wrong by science. We creationists are expected to acknowledge this fact and beat a hasty retreat, with our (vestigial) tail between our legs.
A list of examples of science used in this way in the past might include such topics as:
- gill slits in human embryos;
- ‘poor design’ of the human eye;
- junk DNA;
- ‘98%’ human-chimp DNA similarity;
- endogenous retroviruses;
- nylon-eating bacteria;
- vestigial whale legs;
- distant starlight, etc., etc.
Readers familiar with CMI material will realize that, in all of these examples, the antibiblical interpretation has been addressed and soundly refuted by creation scientists. If anything, all are shown to be better explained (or at least as well explained) within the biblical creation framework.
But that wasn’t always the case. When first introduced, all these examples were trumpeted by the secular world—and by many compromising Christians—as legitimate reasons to reject a plain reading of the biblical account. It took time and effort by organizations like CMI to examine the evidence (and any new evidence as it came to hand), develop alternative interpretations that were both scientifically and biblically sound, and then get this information out to our supporters and to the world.
Unfortunately, this process hasn’t always happened quickly enough for some people. There are a number of stories of high-profile Christians who have abandoned biblical creation (e.g. Luke Barnes), some even walking away from their Christian faith completely (e.g. Charles Templeton), because they couldn’t obtain answers to scientific challenges that have subsequently been resolved (or already had been resolved!). And once they’re gone, it’s almost always much harder to bring them back.
Held to a different standard
Why is it that so many of us are sometimes tempted to question our faith over relatively trivial matters when there is such a wealth of scientific evidence in support of the biblical account? We need to be aware that there is often a not-so-subtle double standard in operation.
When challenged to explain major problems with the evolutionary narrative, such as the origin of life, the incredible complexity of even the simplest cell, or the reality of genetic entropy, etc., evolutionists will often revert to the standard response of; “scientists will eventually work it out”. Apparently, given enough time (millions of years? ), all scientific challenges to the secular worldview will be answered.
However, if we creationists were to use the same argument when confronted with what are, by comparison, relatively minor challenges to our worldview, we would be (and are) accused of denying science and/or invoking the ‘God of the gaps’ (the accusation that ‘God’ is used to plug up gaps in scientific knowledge that are then later filled by scientific discovery)!
Sadly, too many Christians have failed to recognize this double standard and have been intimidated into abandoning sound biblical exegesis before all the evidence is in.
The facts tell a different story
In reality, the weight of history is firmly on our side. Far from denying the scientific evidence in these situations, creationists have unflinchingly faced it head-on. And, as demonstrated by the list at the start of this article (and there are many, many more examples), the creationist ‘batting average’ in refuting supposed scientific challenges to biblical creation is remarkably good.
On the opposing side? Not so much. Almost on a daily basis new scientific discoveries are reported that widen the gap between reality and the long-age, evolutionary interpretation of that reality, often unintentionally supporting the creationist position in the process (although rarely if ever reported as such). It is the evolutionists who can be said to deny science by clinging to the belief that scientists will eventually bridge this ever-growing chasm. Evolution-of-the-gaps, perhaps?
Given the huge imbalance in available resources, both financial and in terms of personnel, this should be a huge embarrassment to the evolutionary scientific establishment—were it ever to be acknowledged.
As Bible-believing Christians, we stand on the rock-solid foundation of the Word of God, with eyewitness testimony of what He did at the creation of the universe recorded in the opening chapters of Genesis. And affirmed as history by the Apostle Paul, and the Lord Jesus Himself.
It follows, therefore, that any scientific evidence that seems to suggest the biblical account is wrong must either be a misunderstanding of the observations, an error of interpretation, or relevant data has either been omitted (intentionally or otherwise) or is not yet available. And as time has shown, this confident stance has, over and over, turned out to conform to scientific facts and evidence.
Don’t get caught off guard
New scientific discoveries are a fact—and one of the joys—of life. Given the stranglehold that the long-age, evolutionary worldview has on science, we should not be surprised that these discoveries are held up as proof that the Bible is wrong. Rather, we should expect it, and should prepare for it.
What can you do?
- Arm yourself with answers to the most common challenges to biblical creation. A good place to start is The Creation Answers Book, which has easy-to-understand answers to over 60 of the most-asked questions on creation, evolution and the Bible.
- Keep up to date with breaking news in the creation/evolution debate—consider subscribing to our free email newsletter, Creation Infobytes.
- If confronted by a challenge that is new to you, use the search function on creation.com. If you still can’t find the answer you’re looking for, submit a query through our web site. If it’s a new scientific discovery relevant to this topic, rest assured that our scientists are likely already on the case.
Have all challenges to biblical creationist interpretations of science been refuted? No. Will there be new challenges in the future that might require significant time and effort to unravel? Absolutely. But if the past is any guide, most of these will give way to diligent analysis and understanding. Are there some challenges that might never be completely resolved in our lifetimes? Quite likely, yes.
We need to acknowledge all this and stand our ground. We can be confident that while models may come and go, the Bible’s big picture (a good world, ruined by sin, to be restored through what Jesus has done) is secure. There are massive amounts of evidence in support of this, and opposing the alternative (that death, suffering and bloodshed have been around for millions of years). Holding fast to the Bible as our source of Truth makes good sense. It has been verified by the ultimate seal of authenticity—Jesus Christ rising from the dead, our guarantee of eternal life.
If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:31–32).
Yet another double standard
When a scientific position previously held by creationists is shown to be unsupported (or poorly supported) by subsequent research, CMI will acknowledge the fact and advise against using this science in discussions with skeptics. (See Arguments we think creationists should NOT use)
Secularists are often quick to call out anyone using such arguments in support of biblical creation, and rightly so, but when the boot is on the other foot, they are rarely quite so vocal. If a scientific challenge to biblical creation is eventually shown to be no such thing, it will, more often than not, be quietly (reluctantly even?) dropped from the anticreationist’s arsenal without them ever admitting they were wrong. For instance, you would be hard pressed to find an admission from Richard Dawkins that the discovery of Muller glial cells, among other facts, has rendered his ‘backwardly wired retina’ argument moot. Or the fact that 93% (possibly more) of the human genome is transcribed completely demolishes his assertion that ‘junk DNA’ is iron-clad evidence for evolution.
On the contrary, it seems some evolutionists are more than happy for discredited scientific ideas to be believed by the general public, and even taught in schools, as long as it has the desired effect of convincing people that evolution is true.