Creation 28(2):38–40, March 2006
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double-speak and propaganda
The term ‘double-speak’ is often used derisively of politicians, journalists and spokespersons for large corporations. People are guilty of double-speak if they use language that serves to distort or disguise the facts.
Two recent scientific reports contained statements that fit this definition, even though the writers probably had no ulterior motive (discussed below). At other times, certain evolutionists are guilty of intentionally using double-speak to subvert biblical truth and to bolster popular belief in the evolutionary worldview.
The first report relates to the discovery of a well-preserved ostracode crustacean1 in Hertfordshire, UK.2 The exceptional fossilization of soft parts of its anatomy—even enabling its sex to be determined—allowed the researchers to assign the creature to a family of living crustaceans.3
Despite its being extremely similar to its living relatives, the authors write: ‘Its morphological similarity to recent myodocopids … demonstrates evolutionary stasis within the group over 425 million years and echoes the low rates of change that are known in other crustaceans’ [emphasis added].4 By any definition, evolution involves change in form or function, but stasis means essentially no change. Therefore, ‘evolutionary stasis’ is, at best, totally meaningless.
The second example concerns the findings of an extensive study of four genes in 30 species of army ants, combined with data from fossils and ant morphology. The ant species’ anatomy and behaviour were so similar that the American researcher concluded that all army ants must have come from a single source.
Previously, scientists thought that the ants originated several times, and on different continents. Believing that the army ant ancestor lived around 100 million years ago, the author even included the term ‘evolutionary stasis’ in the title of his paper!5
But surely, all this shows is that army ants have always been army ants! Commenting on this research, one writer put it more blatantly still: ‘Such long-term evolutionary lack of change in this behaviour is rivalled only by a handful of species …’ [emphasis added].6
In both cases, the authors note the lack of evolution (change) between fossil and living forms over an alleged timespan of hundreds of millions of years, then blithely attribute this to evolution—an oxymoron7 if there ever was one!
A theory that supposedly explains even contradictory observations—in this case change and no change in fossils—in reality, explains nothing at all. This type of loose thinking has become commonplace among people who speculate about evolutionary origins.8
Scientists and laypeople alike are generally unaware of the way in which a person’s belief system colours his/her view of the world. This is why it is so important to emphasize having the “correct glasses” on when dealing with origins science.9 This is especially so where much of the new information that we learn comes to us from people and organizations that are biased against a biblical worldview.
In the previous examples, it is unlikely that the writers were consciously aware of any contradiction in their use of words and so were not seeking to deceive the reader—they were simply being consistent with their worldview.10
They would probably argue that the rate of change in the creatures concerned was so slow that it was imperceptible, but that there was constant interaction between the organisms and their environment.
Nevertheless, the evolutionary spin undoubtedly deceives many readers (albeit unintentionally) into thinking that stasis (no change) is evidence for evolution (change)!
Sometimes, such ‘fuzzy thinking’ is deliberately used to protect the evolutionary paradigm from closer scrutiny and it is then blatant propaganda. At the risk of sounding like a ‘conspiracy theorist’, I suggest that some people knowingly misuse their influence in education and the media to further their own humanistic ends.
It is here that evolutionary double-speakers really show their true colours! Christians who accept a historical Genesis are often only too familiar with the way that evolutionists use double-entendres (phrases with double meanings) and equivocation (the use of language, often deliberately, capable of alternative interpretation). They do this to foist a naturalistic worldview onto an unsuspecting and often uncritical public.11
The role of the media in aiding and abetting those with a humanistic agenda should not be underestimated. Indeed, in the context of evolutionary reportage, the masses are frequently misinformed under a guise of entertainment and truth-seeking. The reason for this is plainly to teach a different history of origins from the one that the Creator has given us in Genesis.
In fact, the well-known evolutionist Richard Lewontin, believing that the end justifies the means, once admitted, ‘Scientists, like others, sometimes tell deliberate lies, because they believe that small lies can serve big truths.’12 However, something is either true—that is to say, genuine, verified fact—or else it is false. So-called ‘degrees of truth’ simply don’t exist.
While sinful human beings might try to make truth relative (to avoid accountability to their Creator), the Bible testifies of itself that it is true in its entirety: ‘Your Word is true from the beginning …’ (Psalm 119:160).
Christians who are tempted to compromise God’s perfect Scriptures with the ‘little lies’ of human wisdom should beware!
Lewontin’s admission explains why many of today’s evolutionary science-popularizers tolerate ‘evidence’ that is out-dated, incorrect or even downright fraudulent. In spite of the fact that many of the evolutionists’ most popular examples have been thoroughly debunked13 (often by fellow evolutionists), some seem unwilling to let them go!
For instance, the famous evolutionist Simon Conway Morris14 recently wrote the following, a full six years after the full extent of Haeckel’s fraudulent embryo pictures was exposed:15 ‘… our own fishy ancestry is clearly imprinted on our bodies. Not only do we have a backbone made of vertebrae, we also have the makings of gills that appear early in our embryology as shallow depressions in the neck …’ [emphasis added].16
This kind of blatant falsehood is inexcusable, but sadly many unwitting people take such statements as scientific truth.
As long as evolution remains the reigning paradigm of Earth history, we must bear in mind that teaching about origins will involve propaganda. One educator recently confessed: ‘And I use that trust to effectively brainwash them … our teaching methods are primarily those of propaganda. We appeal—without demonstration—to evidence that supports our position. We only introduce arguments and evidence that supports the currently accepted theories and omit or gloss over any evidence to the contrary.’17
Christians need always to place the pronouncements of mere human beings under the spotlight of God’s infallible, perfect Word. Jews at Berea were commended for their fair-minded approach to the teaching of Paul and Silas in that they ‘searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so’ (Acts 17:11). Likewise, Christians are reminded to ‘Test all things; hold fast what is good’ (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
Since this applies to the preaching of the Word of God, how much more careful should we be to sift the words and teachings of mere human beings, who are ultimately fallible and sinful at heart?
References and notes
- Crustaceans include crabs, lobsters and barnacles. See Weston, P., Creation’s crustaceans, Creation 23(3):10–15, 2001. The ostracodes have a hinged pair of shells and are very common. Return to text.
- Siveter, D.J. et al., An Ostracode crustacean with soft parts from the Lower Silurian, Science 302:1749–1751, 5 December 2003. Return to text.
- Ref. 2. The creature has been named Colymbosathon ecplecticos and has been placed within the extant myodocopid family, Cylindroleberididae. Return to text.
- Ref. 2, p. 1751. The paper states: ‘the only notable soft part difference from living cylindroleberidids is its apparent lack of a setose comb on the fifth appendage.’ Return to text.
- Brady, S.G., Evolution of the army ant syndrome: The origin and long-term evolutionary stasis of a complex of behavioral and reproductive adaptations, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100(11):6575–6579, 2003. Return to text.
- O’Grady, M., Ancient ant, BBC Wildlife 21(10):25, 2003. Return to text.
- An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines two mutually contradictory terms; e.g. ‘cruel kindness’; ‘deafening silence’. Return to text.
- Such a person may be termed a ‘double-thinker’; i.e. someone who can hold contradictory ideas in the mind without perceiving that they don’t harmonize. Return to text.
- In matters of origins (either creation or evolution), the factual data in our present world must be interpreted within a framework of belief about history. Conversely, operational science involves testing an hypothesis by experiment and making observations in the present. Return to text.
- Which is of course itself the result of culpable self-deception—see Romans 1:18–32, Psalm 14:1. Return to text.
- Bell, P.B., The portrayal of creationists by their evolutionist detractors, Journal of Creation 16(2):46–53, 2002. Return to text.
- Lewontin, R., The Inferiority Complex, New York Review of Books, p. 13, 22 October 1981. Return to text.
- Sarfati, J., Appendix 1: Common arguments for evolution which have been refuted, in Refuting Evolution 2, Master Books, Arkansas, USA, pp. 199–209, 2002. Return to text.
- Professor, Department of Earth Science, University of Cambridge, UK. Return to text.
- Grigg, R., Fraud rediscovered, Creation 20(2):49–51, 1998. Humans do not possess gill slits at any stage during embryological development. Return to text.
- Conway Morris, S., Once we were worms, New Scientist 179(2406):34–37, 2 August 2003. Return to text.
- Singham, M., Teaching and Propaganda, Physics Today 53:54, June, 2000. Return to text.
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