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Wagging a finger at creationists

Published: 21 May 2016 (GMT+10)

Feedback archiveFeedback 2016

BigStockPhoto.com finger-wagging

This week’s feedback comes from W.L. in the U.S., who takes creationists and religious individuals to task on moral and intellectual grounds. He wrote:

I was talking about how slow the evolutionary process is compared to time scales that humans are used to dealing with on an open forum recently and you wouldn't believe the hateful replies I got from some creationists.

People should research and understand all the science behind evolution and the time scales involved BEFORE forming an opinion and not offer hear-say, conspiracy theories, sophistry and pseudo science as if they were real evidence.

Anyone can see from the evidence that evolution is a thoroughly proven fact. Nothing in human history has caused more pain and suffering and hampered human advancement more than religious zealots.

It is WRONG to put ANY book above reason, common sense, or carefully developed and proven scientific principles.

The Bible and the books of all the world's religions were not meant to be taken 100% literally. They are highly metaphorical. They’re message is simply to be tolerant, loving, empathetic and charitable.

CMI’s Keaton Halley replies:

Hi W.L.,

Please see my responses interspersed.

I was talking about how slow the evolutionary process is compared to time scales that humans are used to dealing with on an open forum recently and you wouldn't believe the hateful replies I got from some creationists.

Since we weren’t privy to the conversation, we have no way of knowing whether your assessment of the replies is accurate. Sadly, in our culture, the “hater” charge is often recklessly leveled against those who show the slightest firmness in their response, even if they do so in love, as the Bible defines that term (1 Corinthians 13:4–13). But, if these people were genuinely “hateful”, then they were acting inconsistently with the teachings of Jesus, who told us to love not just our neighbors, but even our enemies (Matt. 5:44).

However, for those who believe that human beings and their ideas about morality are simply the accidental byproducts of a blind evolutionary process, they are being inconsistent when they go on to condemn hate as objectively evil. See Can we be good without God?

People should research and understand all the science behind evolution and the time scales involved BEFORE forming an opinion and not offer hear-say, conspiracy theories, sophistry and pseudo science as if they were real evidence.

We certainly think people should have informed opinions and avoid bad arguments, though one need not become the world’s foremost expert before he is within his rational rights to reject evolution. But, using your own standard, how much do you understand both sides of the issue? Your e-mail doesn’t give us any indication that you are very familiar with our arguments. Our submission form asks you to search our website before submitting feedback, yet your main points have already been addressed on creation.com many times. We offer plenty of thoughtful reasons to reject evolution. Are you able to answer these? You could start with Time—no friend of evolution.

And we understand the evolutionary claims about timescales just fine. But we note that extra time doesn’t help evolution to occur if the alleged evolutionary mechanisms are going in the wrong direction for microbes-to-man transformations. Furthermore, there simply isn’t enough time, as we’ve shown.

Anyone can see from the evidence that evolution is a thoroughly proven fact.

Anyone can see this is an ipse dixit.

Nothing in human history has caused more pain and suffering and hampered human advancement more than religious zealots.

Another bald assertion. First of all, we are representatives of Christ, not all religions, so we should hardly be blamed for the suffering inflicted by certain Islamic zealots, for example. Nevertheless, only about 6–7% of all wars are estimated by scholars to have been based on religious conflict.1 Rather, the most carnage occurs when secular zealots who espouse evolution come to power—e.g., Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc. By number of deaths, the Church’s supposedly worst sins—Crusades, Salem witch trials, and the Inquisition—pale in comparison. See What about bad things done by the Church?

As for human advancement, we’ve pointed out how Christianity provided the seedbed for modern science and how it leads to human flourishing in general. Claims about the Church inhibiting scientific progress are often overstated, as in the case of Galileo.

It is WRONG to put ANY book above reason, common sense, or carefully developed and proven scientific principles.

Who’s advocating that? Not us. See Loving God with all your mind: logic and creation, Does the Bible trump all evidence? and Faith and Facts.

But if you think Darwinian evolution is based on “carefully developed and proven scientific principles,” then you would do well to investigate all the hidden assumptions and logical sleight of hand that evolutionary propaganda relies upon. Also, see ‘It’s not science.

The Bible and the books of all the world's religions were not meant to be taken 100% literally. They are highly metaphorical. They’re message is simply to be tolerant, loving, empathetic and charitable.

You probably don’t realize how patronizing this sounds. For one thing, it’s a straw man to accuse us of taking the Bible “100% literally.” We’ve long pointed out that we understand the Bible’s meaning by objective rules of interpretation, according to context, grammar, literary genre, etc. This means we can recognize metaphors and other literary devices when they occur. But because Genesis, broadly speaking, was written as historical narrative, that’s how it should be understood—not as a collection of myths that merely encourage good behavior. So it’s a false dilemma to suggest that the only options are the extremes of hyper-literalism vs. metaphors for peace and love.

It would be very convenient for those who want to get around the Bible’s teaching to relegate its message to the lowest common denominator of modernistic moralism, but that’s just intellectually dishonest. It’s the same mistake people make when they see Jesus as some kind of misunderstood hippie who preached nothing but “love one another” and “don’t judge”. That truncated concept of Jesus isn’t the one we find in Scripture—it’s a Jesus of their own making. But the Bible itself insists that we must be careful to believe the truth—the whole truth—about Jesus (Matthew 16:13–17; 2 Corinthians 11:4).

Also, we’ve shown that the Bible’s own authors understood it to be making historical claims that impinge on science. Peter said he was not following myths, but was an eyewitness to Jesus’ life and ministry (2 Peter 1:16), and Paul said that if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead then the Christian’s faith is in vain (1 Corinthians 15:14). So the intellectually honest thing to do is either to accept or reject the Bible’s historical claims, but not to say that it’s merely about love and tolerance. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, the Bible itself hasn’t left you that option.

I sincerely hope that gives you some food for thought.

Best wishes,

Keaton Halley

Related Articles

Further Reading

References and Notes

  1. Kunkle, B., Debunking the Religious Wars Myth, 8 March 2016, http://www.str.org/articles/debunking-the-religious-wars-myth#.Vw_ijJMrJTZ. Return to text

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Readers’ comments
Dan M., United States, 23 May 2016

To my mind, I can't remember a video or acritical where a evolutionist gave an accurate explanation of a creationist viewpoint and then proceed to refute that viewpoint in a sound scientific manor. It seems all evolutionists do is rant and tell creationists what they believe, (without research and understanding) and then try to tear them to pieces. This called a straw man argument. It is dishonest and usually done in a very rude, hateful manor! Just once I'd like to hear a evolutionist refute a, (well researched) creationist point of view in a sound minded, scientific manor. If I ever come across one, maybe then I will listen, (I have no time or tolerance for dishonesty or ranting).

As far as hateful response's are concerned. A wise man once told me, "just remember, when you point your finger at someone, the other three are pointing back at you". You'd better make sure your not doing the very thing your accusing others of doing!

The problem is that the creation/evolution debate it is a WAR and in war there is not much tolerance. We Christians must rise above that mind set in peace and understanding and then maybe we can reach the reasonable.

Phil K., United States, 22 May 2016

It's ironic that evolutionists claim to base their conclusions on reason and intellect, yet their response to creationists are filled with emotion. Name calling and silencing opposition are the acts of emotional people, not rational intellects.

gabriel S., South Africa, 22 May 2016

2Timothy 3:16-17 [AMP] "Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work."

The Christian's standard is the Word of God, Scripture, all of it. The ONLY comprehensive, non-contradictory, prophesy-filled, historically correct and miraculous 'Manual for Eternity' there is. Ignoring Christ is even worse than ignoring one of His natural laws like gravity!

Only the Holy Spirit can open the eyes, hearts and minds of W.L. and the millions like him/her:

1Timothy 2:1-5 [AMP] "FIRST OF all, then, I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men...For such [praying] is good and right, and [it is] pleasing and acceptable to God our Savior, Who wishes all men to be saved and [increasingly] to perceive and recognize and discern and know precisely and correctly the [divine] Truth."

Apart from everything else then, pray, pray, pray through Jesus Christ.

A. R., Netherlands, 21 May 2016

¨The Bible and the books of all the world's religions were not meant to be taken 100% literally. They are highly metaphorical. They’re message is simply to be tolerant, loving, empathetic and charitable."

meant by who? Does he believe that the writers did not believe what they wrote? Where they atheists maybe, that they did not mean it literally? whether this is true or not, it doesn't add any argument about his case. He says he does not believe in the bible, but for some reason he wants to believe in its original purpose and has to twist its purpose because of that. Why not just say that the original purpose was wrong too?

Also he seems to believe that all "holy" books teach tolerance, love, empathy. Did he read all those books? some of them call for the killing and torture of everyone that disagrees with you... and even from the Bible I do not get that as the general message of every single book.

Dean R., Australia, 21 May 2016

God gave us the ability to reason & the Bible that we may truly know what is what. Even secular scientists reject the big bang & rightly reject it on the grounds of lack of real evidence. Which goes to show that science can be manipulated as a political/educational tool just as much as religion.

The bible speaks of tolerance but also discernment. Also of the need to speak up & challenge falsehood. Biblical creationists appreciate science, natural selection, a young earth & an eternal God.

I'm gald W.L. wrote in. Hopefully he/she will consider the challenging response. Evolution has become an almost worldwide religion of equivocation.

J. E., Norway, 21 May 2016

"It is WRONG to put ANY book above reason, common sense, or carefully developed and proven scientific principles."

I would assume that would include origin of species and every other book promoting evolution?

Phil W., United States, 21 May 2016

Thank you for this excellent article with your very useful replies to the false statements and accusations of the atheist evolutionist.

Dave G., United States, 21 May 2016

A concise and incisive response. Very effective to include hyper-linked text in the midst to point the recipient(s) to our CMI resources!

Joseph M., United Kingdom, 21 May 2016

Well evolution (i.e. microbes-to-man) by its very definition of mutations and natural selection over millions of years must have caused more pain and suffering than anyone could imagine (deformities, disease, extinctions, etc.). Much more than any religious philosophy. Furthermore, by evolution's definition its philosophy justifies and condones suffering and pain even if its followers inconsistently disagrees with suffering.

The problem is evolutionists want it both ways, i.e. an evolutionist would in the same breath make these two statements "Anyone can see from the evidence evolution is proven fact", and "the evolutionary process is so slow we cannot see it". Their reasoning breaks fundamental rules of logic, i.e. contradictions, which constantly puts evolution "above reason, common sense, or carefully developed and proven scientific principles."

I would encourage W.L. in the U.S. to properly research official creationists resources, the presuppositions science is built on and what the bible actually states.

Mark S., Canada, 21 May 2016

Well said. I'm glad that you wrote "You probably don’t realize how patronizing this sounds." In the Christian's attempt to love his neighbour and even his enemy, it is tempting to avoid blunt statements like this, but I think there is great value in trying to cause the letter writer to examine, not only his arguments, but also his own heart and attitude. All of his points have been addressed and refuted, yet it seems he believes he can enlighten a lost world. The opposite is true. Without believing God, he remains blind and in darkness. Jesus is the Light and the Healer whom he (and we) need in order to open our eyes and shine light on our paths.

Eileen T., United Kingdom, 21 May 2016

Excellent response. It seems to be a standard criticism of creationists that we haven't really understood what evolution is!

stuart R., Australia, 21 May 2016

Thanks this gives me some insight on how to create a logical and meaningful discussion. Rather than a heated debate.

Alan J., United Kingdom, 21 May 2016

A very well written response. Do these critics ever respond?

Keaton Halley responds

See my response to the last comment.

Patrick P., Australia, 21 May 2016

An excellent response to the comments of W.L. It would be beneficial to know if there ever is any other response from those who offer such shallow observations of the creation movement following such answers to their criticism. I wonder if such critics ever do any serious research into the answers given by your writers and if any further criticisms are given, though from my experience, I doubt it.

Keaton Halley responds

Thank you! Sometimes people respond and we often publish all of the correspondence at once. You can see examples in the feedback archive.

Phil M., Australia, 20 May 2016

WL says: “Anyone can see from the evidence that evolution is a thoroughly proven fact”. Does WL mean evolution is a thoroughly-proven historical fact? Because if so, he/she is thoroughly wrong. Historical fact is based on eyewitness testimony, either directly, or indirectly through historical records. How is WL’s belief in, for example, the spontaneous generation of the first biological cell a thoroughly-proven historical fact? Does WL mean evolution is a thoroughly-proven scientific fact? Again if so, he/she is thoroughly wrong. How is WL’s belief in the spontaneous generation of the first biological cell a thoroughly-proven scientific fact? Does WL mean evolution is a thoroughly-proven philosophical fact? The only way this can be so is if it can be proven God does not exist. And if it could be proven God does not exist, then logically, evolution does become a philosophically-proven or logically-proven fact. To all atheists, evolution is indeed a philosophically-proven fact. To them, because God does not exist and the biological cell does, it therefore had to have spontaneously generated. The non-existence of God is, and always has been, the atheist's primary evidence for evolution.

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