Creationists attacked in Ireland!
Published: 8 December 2000 (GMT+10)
Creationists are under attack again, this time in the Emerald Isle by the science correspondent for the Irish Times, Dr William Reville. A lecturer in biochemistry at the University College Cork, he published a two-part offensive on 9 November 2000 in the ‘Science Today’ section of the paper. The creation movement is obviously touching a tender nerve, judging by the increasing frequency (and shrillness) of such verbal assaults.
Reville started by outlining some of the main ‘evidence’, as if the evidence somehow belongs to evolutionists. Creationists are not afraid of evidence. We agree with everything (absolutely everything) that is actually observed. What evolutionists cannot understand is that we both interpret the evidence differently, because we have different starting assumptions (axioms or presuppositions)—see Faith and facts. The creationists’ axiom is that the Bible is the written word of God, so is accurate in all it teaches (for some good supporting evidence, see Q&A: Bible). However, the evolutionists’ axiom is materialism—they reject God a priori as an explanation for the design in living things, as Lewontin admitted, even if some believe in a sort of ‘god’—see The Rules of the Game.
The overwhelming evidence for evolution, according to Reville, is the fossil record, comparative anatomy, and molecular biology. Although he uses phrases like, ‘science proposes’, ‘evolution interprets’, ‘evolution proposes’, and ‘evolutionists believe’, he does not seem to appreciate that evolution is not fact, but interpretation.
Even Darwin did not consider the fossil record to be evidence for evolution. He said that the record ‘perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory’. And the problem did not go away after Darwin, contrary to what Reville says. Instead of the countless number of true transitional fossils between different kinds, evolutionists today bring up the same handful of debatable ones. Reville’s ‘well-known example of an intermediate form’, Archaeopteryx, is long out-of-date. It has been regarded as fully bird for many years—see Bird Evolution flies out the window: An anatomist talks about Archaeopteryx and other articles in Q&A: Dinosaurs under ‘Did birds really evolve from dinosaurs?’. The missing links are still missing. Creatures appear suddenly with no clue of their ancestry, and look the same for all those alleged ‘millions of years’—‘Living fossils’ (see Q&A — Fossils: Do fossilized plants and animals really look all that different from animals we see today?). Rather than evidence of evolution, most of the fossil record is better explained as progressive burial of the pre-Flood world by globe-destroying cataclysm—Noah’s Flood.
Reville points to homologies (similarities) in the structures and molecules of living things. However, this ignores the many oddities that don’t fit the evolutionary story—see The horse shows that similarities are due to creation! Rather, the similarities show a single designer rather than many (cf. Romans 1:20), while the oddities confute all attempts at rational naturalistic explanations. See review of The Biotic Message, and Human/chimp DNA similarity: Evidence for evolutionary relationship?
Reville caricatures creationists as believing that God created all living species separately. Evidently Reville has never bothered to read what creationists actually say before he pontificated about their beliefs. The Bible does not speak of ‘species’ but of ‘kinds’, created with the ability to reproduce and adapt to environmental change. Genetic variation and natural selection, and even speciation are part of this process. Since the Fall (Genesis 3), mutations have been significant too. Contrary to what Reville says, these processes do not turn bacteria into people. The processes go the wrong way—molecules-to-man evolution requires changes that increase genetic information; all we see is sorting and loss of already-existing information. The Biblical worldview can explain the huge biological diversity on Earth, whereas evolution cannot—see the Q&A sections on Mutations, Natural Selection and Speciation.
Reville is wrong when he says evolution is accepted as fact in all open-minded circles (unless ‘open-minded’ is circularly defined as all who agree with Reville). He would be better informed if he had read a book like In Six Days: Why 50 [PhD] scientists choose to believe in Creation by Dr John Ashton.
He is wrong when he says that evolutionists will abandon evolution if a fossil is found in the ‘wrong place’. Experience shows that they simply change their story—see Slow fish in China and Fossil flip-flop. Evolution is really a faith that cannot be falsified scientifically in the minds of its proponents; rather, they find another way to re-interpret the evidence consistent with their all-important axiom of materialism.
He is wrong about evolutionary hangovers—the so-called vestigial organs. In ignorance, evolutionists once paraded a multitude of these, but one-by-one they disappeared when functions were discovered for these organs. So, it is wrong (and dangerous) for Reville to claim that the coccyx is a ‘rudimentary vestige of a tail, indicating we are descended from a tailed form’. The coccyx is a vital anchor for certain muscles needed for our upright posture—an excellent design feature. For more information, see Q&A: Vestigial organs.
Reville is wrong, too, when he claims that it is perfectly feasible to be a Christian and also believe in evolution. However, this is another straw man—we never claim that no evolutionist is a Christian. Rather, we point out that it is not logical or consistent for a Christian to disbelieve Genesis, and to believe in evolution and the millions of years. This is amply explained in Q&A: Compromise: Theistic Evolution. This of course is what Christ said, ‘If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?’ (John 5:46–47, cf. Luke 16:31).
Reville asserts, ‘The most important part of the Bible for Christians is the New Testament which asks us to love our neighbour’. Actually, Jesus, who might have a claim as a greater authority than Reville, said that the ‘first and greatest is ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (Matthew 22:36–38). How can one claim to be obeying this if one disbelieves God’s Word in Genesis? And the New Testament makes no sense with evolution. What is the basis for loving our neighbour when evolution says the goal is ‘survival of the fittest’? commandment’
I wonder if Reville attended the big Creation meeting that Ken Ham and Buddy Davis held in Cork in 1999? Perhaps some of his students have been telling him about the message. Either way, the creation explanation is getting out, and challenging evolutionists in Cork in Ireland.